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They're Back...The Black Night Shade and Jimmy McConnell Swept the International Grand Championships



by K.C. Hensley

MURFREESBORO,Tenn. - At the prestigious International Grand Championships held at the newly established Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tenn., The Black Night Shade and Jimmy McConnell returned to claim their crown. The International was the host to 40 classes. The judges for the three-day event were Sonny Holt, Leigh Bennett and Joe Fleming. Some of the very best the industry has to offer were presented in the show ring this past weekend.

Every evening the events began at 7:00 p.m. On Thursday night the first class to enter the ring was the MASCUP Two-Year-Old Mares or Geldings class. Emerging from the line up to take the first prize was Absolutely Flawless and John Allan Callaway for C & C Stables of Lawrenceville, Ga. Reserve in this impressive class of youngsters was Dangerous Command and Jimmy McConnell for Grider & McConnell of Columbia, Ky., and Union City, Tenn.

Hello Generator and Little Haley Puckett gave an exhibition in the Youth Equitation Riders 11 Years & Under class that was deserving of a blue for the Ralph Farrer family of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

A popular up and coming class seen more and more on class sheets today is the Adult Walking Pony class. Walking away with blue ribbon honors in this class at the International was none other than Master’s Gunsmoke and Taylor Broderick for the Broderick family. This duo dominated several Youth Walking Pony classes as juveniles. Reserve in the class was Choice Of Silver and Thad Way. Choice Of Silver was sired by Way’s current world grand champion Silver Design and is owned by Mark West of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The next class of the evening was the Amateur Ladies Show Pleasure, no canter, class. This class is one of the most competitive classes no matter where the location of the show. The winner who walked away with the International blue was the well-known team of I’m Armed And Lethal and Lee Wall for Dr. and Mrs. Rosser Wall of Raymond, Miss. Reserve in the class was Rebel’s Glitter Of Gold and owner/rider Mandy Dawn of Nashville, Tenn.

Owner/exhibitor Alice Klein of Lewisburg, Tenn., with her mount Discover Gold gave a stellar performance in the Adult Equitation class. Reserve in the class went to Lani Dennis and Fashion’s Wildcat. Nicole Carswell of Morehead, Ky., is the owner.

In the Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings class, Backfield In Motion and Caresse Mills were crowned the champions. Backfield In Motion is owned by the Hy Steppin’ Farm of Germantown, Tenn. Reserve in the class were Lock & Load and Stacey Blackburn. The entry is owned by Longview Farms of Union City, Tenn.

In the exciting MASCUP Junior Walking Mares or Geldings class, the Callaway family emerged with another blue. This time it was with Pusher’s Last Citation and John Allan Callaway for Billy Young of Boaz, Ala. Reserve in the class went to They Call Me Sir and Jimmy McConnell for Windsong Farm of Collierville, Tenn.

In the Novice Amateur Riders on Walking Horses class a familiar horse emerged from the line up to claim victory. It was none other than newly acquired Major League and Carolyn Rutner of Northport, Ala. Red Danger and Bart Gilmer were reserve in the class. The entry is owned by Hayburt & Gilmer of Middleton and Toone, Tenn.

Probably the crowd’s favorite class next to the stake was the MASCUP Two-Year-Old Stallions or Geldings class. For the third time in one night the Callaway team emerged victorious again. This time Without Question and Allan Callaway were the winners for Ron and Carolyn Lawrence of Lenoir City, Tenn. This win made Callaway Stables three for three in the MASCUP classes. Reserve in the class was Dollar’s Direct Deposit with Joe Cotten in the irons for the Harold Daniels family of Lewisburg, Tenn.

A talented group of horses thrilled the audience in the 15.2 & Under Mares, Stallions or Geldings class. Johnny Walker Red and Sammy Day, well-known horse and rider team, emerged from the line up to accept the award for the John Legate family. Reserve in the class was Pushover’s Infinite with Jimmy McConnell up for Bob and Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J.

In the Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings class the newly crowned world champion Pusher’s Black Jewel and Carolyn Joseph were victorious! The entry is owned by Joseph and Shoemaker. Reserve in the class was awarded to Pushin’ That Jazz and owner/exhibitor Sarah Dunn of Nashville, Tenn.

Taking the next MASCUP class in the junior stallions and geldings division by storm were The Outlaw Josie Wales and Billy Gray. Gray recently garnered a prestigious win at the Kentucky Celebration with this well-known entry. The Outlaw Josie Wales is owned by Larry and Carol McLaughlin of Florence, S.C. Coming in a strong reserve was Gold Picture with Bill Bobo aboard for Drs. Cliff and Linda Garrard of Humboldt, Tenn.

The next class, Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions and Geldings, was nothing short of thrilling. The world champion team of Dang My Time and K.C. Hensley were crowned champions in this class for Adam and K.C. Hensley of Shelbyville, Tenn. Also giving a stellar performance, Alexandre Dumas and Dr. Ralph Simonton, III of Portland, Tenn., finished in reserve.

In the fifth MASCUP class of the evening, the three-year-old walking stallions and geldings class, a crowd favorite stepped out of the line up to the cheers of the crowd as he accepted his awards. The duo of Ritz’s Diamond Joe and Jamie Bradshaw rode for the blue for Ferguson Farms of Union Grove, Ala. Graciously taking reserve were A Real Bad Score and Knox Blackburn for David and Erin Graf of South Portsmouth, Ky.

Making her exhibition in the youth equitation class for riders 17 years and under was the lovely Rachel Jernigan and Reggie owner and rider of Crossville, Tenn.

The competition was high in the Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Mares or Geldings class. Taking on the challenge of being champions were Ms. Della Street and Stacey Blackburn for Gail McConnell of Union City, Tenn. Reserve in the class was given to Olympic’s Lucky Charm and owner/rider Kathy Graves of Moss, Tenn.

In the Open Fine Harness class two elegant entries entered the ring. Adding another blue to his long list of wins was Genius Gold Spirit with Ramsey Bullington. The entry is owned by Robert Keenan of Franklin, Tenn. Reserve in the class were Surgeon General and Ronnie Spears.

In the Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallions or Geldings class another Callaway champion came into the winner’s circle. This time it was Skyjam and owner/exhibitor Brenda Bramlett of Shelbyville, Tenn. Reserve in the class was Armed And Proud with Debbie Eichler up for Rising Star Ranch of Shelbyville, Tenn.

In the Amateur Gentleman Riders on Show Pleasure Horses class Mr. James Vernon and Gen’s Super Stroke happily accepted the blue ribbon honors. Reserve in the class were My Major Cash and owner/rider Ray Fincher of Pell City, Ala.

A familiar face in the winner’s circle appeared in the Walking Stallions, Mares or Geldings class. Freedom Fighter and Charlie Green took the blue home for Rusti and Dennis Shoffner of Russianville, Ind. Reserve in the class went to Skywatch’s Motown Magic and Kurt Kovalick for the Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif., and Shelbyville, Tenn.

Stepping way down into the competitive core of showing horses, the Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Stallions or Geldings class brought a group of talented entries to the ring. The reserve world champion Willie Mays claimed the International blue with Caresse Mills riding for the Hy Steppin’ Farm of Germantown, Tenn. Reserve in the class were Jose’s Rojo and Nathan Clark for Clark Farms of Arab, Ala.

Another world champion claimed a title in the Aged Walking Mares or Geldings class. Sunrise Que Sera Sera and Jimmy McConnell rose to the occasion. The entry is owned by Glen and Virgie Crutchfield of Memphis, Tenn. Reserve in the class were Tennessee Gen and John Allan Callaway for Bud Moore and Suzanne Littell of Catherine, Ala.

A former world grand champion and current world champion, Pride’s Sundance Star and Kay Green took on the challenge of the Amateur Riders 50 Years and Over class to become International winners. Reserve in the class also went to a world champion. Pushover And Lookout and Lucky Collins rode out with the red streamer.

In the Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Mares or Geldings class a happy Callie Stuckey accepted the blue ribbon honors. Reserve in the class was Driving Miss Dumas and Caresse Mills.

The world champion Gen’s Color Me In and Kim Trumble took the competition over in the Amateur Riders 15.2 and Under class. Reserve was Silver Dollar Make Me Hollar with Kathy Graves in the irons.

The big and beautiful J.F.K. Again and Jeanine Gullett made their presence known in the Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings class and rode out with the blue. Reserve in the class went to Warning I’m Armed and Debbie Lassiter.

One of the favorite classes at any horse show is the Pro/Am class. And at the International this class lived up to that reputation. The trio most deserving of the championship honors was Silverado Spirit with Knox Blackburn and Erin Graf. Reserve in the class was Citations Legend with the husband and wife team of Kurt and Samantha Kovalick.

The Amateur Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class was filled with world champions! Staying true to their world championship status were Texas Salsa and Nancy Groover. This team is undefeated in competition in 2002 and 2003! Reserve in this class was awarded to Skywatch’s Dark and Stormy with Tricia Timmons up.

Returning to the winner’s circle this time in open competition were Genius Gold Spirit and Ramsey Bullington. Reserve in the class was Brother Splash and Nancy Groover.

The first grand championship class of the show was the MASCUP Two-Year-Old International Grand Championship. Claiming top honors in the class were Jose’s Intimidator and Jamie Bradshaw for Ferguson Farms of Union Grove, Ala. Reserve in the class were Without Question and Allan Callaway for Ron and Carolyn Lawrence of Lenoir City, Tenn.

Making their victory pass in world grand championship style worthy of an International 11 & under title was Flashy Cash and Rachel Hyneman of Hy Steppin’ Farm of Germantown, Tenn. Coming in a strong reserve was the team of Gen’s Burning Rage and dainty little Masie McSwain for the Dan McSwain family of Atlanta, Ga.

In the ladies auxiliary class Stacey Blackburn returned to the winner’s circle, but this time it was on Pushover’s Infinite for Bob and Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J. Reserve in the class were A Secret Agent and Karen Callaway for Don Gandy of Ft. Worth, Texas.

In the MASCUP Three-Year-Old Grand Championship Push Too’s Cowboy and Knox Blackburn graciously accepted the floral horseshoe and all its glory. The entry is owned by Gene Ramsey of New Madrid, Mo. Reserve in the class was the team of The Texas Lotto and John Allan Callaway. The entry is owned by Don Pratt of Kansas City, Mo.

In the Grand Championship Equitation class the lovely Rachel Jernigan returned to the winner’s circle once again. Reserve in the class was Lani Dennis.

Another class sure to please is the Youth Rider 17 Year & Under on Mares or Geldings class. The prestige of being crowned champion was placed upon Choice Of Silver and Thad Way for Choice Partnership of Ooltewah and Murfreesboro, Tenn. Reserve in the class was I’m Bond, James Bond with Erika Mann up for Mann Chrysler, Dodge-Jeep of Mt. Sterling, Ky.

In the Amateur Owned and Trained class Beam’s Black Hawk and Tex Dillingham rose to the occasion and were crowned the champions. Pusher’s Habit Forming and Buddy Glasscock claimed the reserve honors.

When the winner’s circle called another grand champion, Slick Willie and Bradley East answered the call taking the blue in the Youth Championship for Riders 17 Years and Under. The entry is owned by the Bobby East family of Germantown, Tenn. Reserve in the class was the team of An American Outlaw and Maria Derickson. The entry is owned by Maxwell and Derickson of Longview, Texas, and Shelbyville, Tenn.

No strangers to blue ribbon honors is the team of I’m Armed And Lethal and Lee Wall. The pair made their presence known in the Show Pleasure Grand Championship. Reserve in the class went to USA and Kaitlin Fields Byrom.

Earning the roses in the Amateur Specialty Grand Championship under the Charlie Green Stables banner were Freedom Fighter and Sonny Shoffner. Reserve in the class went to New York, New York and Terry Mann.

In the MASCUP Four-Year-old Grand Championship, Southern Comfort Stables earned their second set of roses with Outlaw Josie Wales and Billy Gray. The entry is owned by Larry and Carol McLaughlin of Florence, S.C. Reserve in the class were Gold Picture and Bill Bobo.

Claiming his crown in the Amateur Riders Grand Championship Canter class was Jazz King with Ed Breedlove in the irons. This was also the second set of roses claimed under the Charlie Green Stables banner. The entry is owned by Keith Breedlove of Buford, Ga. Coming in a strong reserve and making a flawless performance was Mister Pushbutton with Candi Green aboard. The entry is owned by Glen and Virgie Crutchfield of Memphis, Tenn.

Finally it was time - time to greet the potential International Grand Champion. Claiming top honors for the second consecutive year was the current reserve world grand champions The Black Night Shade and Jimmy McConnell for Tom and Judy Waite of Milton, Fla. Reserve in this extremely competitive class was The Snowatch with Dick Peebles riding for the Anthony Joseph family of Columbiana, Ala.

This concludes the coverage of the 2003 International Grand Championships. Complete results follow and can also be viewed at www.walkinghorsereport.com.

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