by Tanya Hopper
TAMPA, Fla. - The Florida State Fairgrounds was the setting for the Florida State Championship Horse Show, Oct. 13-14. The show proceeds benefit The Hillsborough Rough Riders Handicapped Riding Program.

Gary Hollin made the trip from Athens, Ga., to judge the two-day, 76-class event, which included walking and racking entries.

Rae Martin and Ultimate Warrior made two outstanding exhibition performances to claim the Open Walking title as well as the Open Walking Grand Championship.

In addition to the stake and the open walking title, Martin claimed five other wins. Larry Brown directed Pushover’s Merry Gal to the Two-Year-Old Open title in an impressive exhibition performance. Harry Back claimed three under the Martin banner. Back made two victory passes aboard Oh What About It claiming the Show Pleasure Specialty and the Show Pleasure Championship titles. Back also directed Heart Failure to the Walking Four and Under Specialty title. Larry Sharpe also claimed two titles. He rode Dynamic Legend to the Amateur Specialty and the Walking Specialty Championship titles, rounding out the Martin wins.

Sheryl Skala-Carl’s Hard Rock Farm boasted the most wins with 16 blues to its credit. Charles and Kathleen Nitabach-owned entries accounted for seven of those wins. Genius Fashion Show claimed four of those blues with Kathleen Nitabach in the irons on every occasion. This team’s wins included the Western Plantation Pleasure Amateur Specialty, Western Plantation To Canter, Western Plantation Pleasure Specialty Championship, and the Western Plantation Pleasure Championship titles. Charles Nitabach also made a victory pass aboard Golden Merger in the Lite-Shod Four and Under Specialty division.

Skala-Carl and Gen’s Playboy added two blues under the Hard Rock banner--the Plantation Pleasure Open To Canter and the Plantation Pleasure Grand Championship--to complete the Nitabach wins.

John and Kathy Anderson’s stock fared well, also under the direction of Hard Rock, accounting for six of the 16 wins. Courageous was a four-time winner, claiming the Lite-Shod Amateur Specialty and Lite-Shod Specialty Championship titles with Kathy, and the Lite-Shod Walking Open and the Lite-Shod Walking Championship with Sheryl.

Anderson’s Coin’s Pushin’ For Gold, affectionately known as Goldie, claimed two wins, the Western Lite-Shod Amateur Specialty and Western Lite-Shod Specialty Championship with a thrilled Kathy Anderson directing both times. This was Goldie’s first venture into the Western division and the transition couldn’t have gone smoother.

The remaining Hard Rock winners were Bonnie Canter and Beam’s Last Embrace, who claimed the Plantation Pleasure Four and Under Amateur Specialty title; Spotted Lite-Shod Specialty Champions, Larry Welter and Walking After Midnight; E-Z Rider Champions Doc’s Little Magic and Victoria McLaughlin; and Youth Plantation Pleasure Specialty Champions Gen’s Wild Thing and Virginia Johnson.

Burl Dale made five victory passes, two aboard Generator’s Captain, who was the Plantation Amateur, 50 and Over, Specialty and Two- and Three-Year-Old Plantation Specialty champion. Generator’s Captain is out of Dale’s former show mare, Captain’s Miss Lucy.

Dale directed the multi-titled Mae West to two victories: the Spotted Open To Canter and the Spotted Horse To Canter Championship. Dale also claimed the Western Lite-Shod Championship aboard Double Dare Ya.

The show concluded Saturday evening with an exhibitors’ party on the grounds hosted by the Florida Walking and Racking Horse Association to show their appreciation to all the owners, trainers and exhibitors who participated. The event boasted great food and great rock and roll oldies music and was enjoyed by all who attended.