By Linda Scrivner
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) held its annual Awards Banquet on Thursday evening, November 29, 2001 at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin, Tennessee.

President Jim Welch welcomed the large crowd in attendance. “This evening begins a weekend of activities devoted to this horse we love so dearly, and is an opportunity for us to recognize the outstanding achievements of some of the most dedicated people and top horses within our Tennessee Walking Horse industry. “ After Dr. Alan Bachert had given the invocation and dinner was enjoyed by those in attendance, Bob Cherry began the special presentations.

First to be recognized were the retiring board members, 174 to be exact, whose terms conclude in 2001. Due to the large number, names were read with plaques to be picked up at the TWHBEA office in Lewisburg on Friday and Saturday. Next to be recognized was the 2001 Executive Committee which came forward to receive a token of appreciation. The Executive Committee consisted of Member at Large for Youth, Nancy Lynn Beech of Tennessee; member at Large for Bylaws, Sid Baucom of Utah; Vice President for Training, Steve Aymett of Tennessee; Vice President for Sales/ Promotion, Dr. Alan Bachert of Missouri; Vice President for Pleasure Horse, Ann Kuykendall of Oklahoma; Vice President for Performance Show Horse, Jerrold Pedigo of Tennessee; Vice President for Owners/ Exhibitors, Paula Andrews of Missouri; Vice President for Horse Shows, Charles Hulsey of Alabama; Vice President for Enforcement, Jane Hardy Meredith of Georgia; Vice President for Breeders, Judy Martin of Tennessee; Vice President for Administration/Fiscal, Charles Wharton of California; Immediate Past President; Charles Gleghorn; Senior Vice President, R. Craig Evans of Virginia and President, Jim Welch.

President Jim Welch next presented the Regional Futurity Sires & Dams. The Premier Sire and Dam winners of each of the TWHBEA Regional Futurities were then given awards. The Premier Sire for the Alabama Regional Futurity was Generator’s Equalizer. Owner Grady McNeill was not present but his wife Beverly and daughter Amanda Nelon accepted the awards. The Premier Dam was Generator’s Barbara and the award was presented to owner Barbara Cornelius.

The Bi-State Regional Futurity’s Premier Sire was Lightfoot’s Image. Owner Terry and Dora Flickinger came forward to receive his award. They also won the Premier Dam with their Coin’s Faded Rose.

The Premier Sire for the California Regional Futurity is Gen’s Armed And Dangerous. Owners Jerrold Pedigo and Charles and Florence Terry accepted this award. The Premier Dam was Pushers Secret Pride, owned by Charles Wharton.

Michael Young was the proud recipient of the Premier Sire for the Midwest Regional Futurity won by his Generator’s Gold Edition. Paula Andrews was equally proud of the Premier Dam award won by Threat’s Kagen Queen.

Sherrie Szucs accepted the Ohio Regional Futurity Premier Sire won by Genius Boy Pride since she rode him to three world championship titles for owner Joyce Morris. Royal Bride, owner by Richard Ramson won the Premier Dam for this region.

Pedigo and Terry went up to receive another Premier Sire won by their flax mane and tailed stallion, Gen’s Armed And Dangerous. This time it was for the Southeastern Regional Futurity. The Premier Dam for this region was Go Boy’s Lady Pusher, owned by Joyce Cordroch.

The Southwest Regional Sire was Starland Copper Generator, owned by John S. Feltner. Ernest Burke accepted this award followed by the Premier Dam which was awarded to Hal’s Lady Threat and Dr. Jim and Dodi Speece. The Upper Cumberland Regional Sire was Shaker’s Precious Jasper. Owners Mr. and Mrs. Horace Pennington accepted this trophy. Jim Welch owned the Premier Dam, Fashion’s Premadona and accepted her presentation.

Laurie Innocent traveled all the way from western Canada to receive the Western Canadian Regional Premier Sire award won by her Coin’s Double Play as well as the Premier Dam won by her Generators Pride And Joy. Gold Coin Exchange was the honored sire in the Western International Walking Horse Association Regional Futurity for Alice Rae Nelson. Nancy Plunkett accepted the Premier Dam with Pushin’ Moonlight.

In 2001, the TWHBEA Performance Show Committee under the direction of Jerrold Pedigo developed the Youth Medallion Class to encourage the youth riders in the industry to show in three-gaited performance classes. The High Point Champion for 2001 was Maria Derickson, who also won the first-ever TWHBEA Youth Medallion Championship Class that was held during the National Futurity. Her twin sister, Erica Derickson earned the reserve youth medallion high-point honors.

In a tradition began three years ago, the TWHBEA began to officially recognize the breeders, trainers, and owners of the World Grand Champion, the Park Pleasure World Grand Champion, and the Lite Shod World Grand Champion. Ann Kuykendall presented awards for the 2001 Lite Shod World Grand Champion, which was once again Sun’s Top Gold. He also earned this same title in 2000. Sun’s Top Gold was bred by the Steve Wilson family of North Carolina, trained and ridden by Craig Swaggerty of Enchanted Gait Stables in Saragtoga, Springs, Utah. Bruce and Nancy Lovato accepted the owners award for this world grand champion.

Next Armed Red Baron was honored for being the 2001 Park Pleasure World Grand Champion. Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Woosley were the breeders, Howard Hamilton the trainer and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lowe the owners. Following those presentations, Jim Welch came forward to give the awards for 2001 World Grand Champion Pride’s Jubilee Encore. Breeders of Park Pleasure World Grand Champion Armed Red Baron, Jim and Bonnie Woosley also accepted the award for the breeders of Pride’s Jubilee Encore. Trainer Alan Callaway was next to be recognized, followed by owners Kay Dennis, Jerrold Pedigo and Charles and Florence Terry.

One of the most prestigious awards was next on the agenda and it was presented by Jerrol d Pedigo. According to Bob Cherry, “ The TWHBEA Performance Horse Ambassador Award was created this year to honor the individual (s) who best exhibits dedication, commitment and personal involvement towards the betterment of the Tennessee Walking Horse. This person or persons, through their unselfish efforts, has brought positive exposure to the performance Tennessee Walking Horse. . . .This inaugural award goes to a gentleman who has for many years unselfishly donated his time, energy and passion for the breed to the benefit of all phases of the industry. He owns a successful, 100 stall breeding and training facility, produces an annual yearling production and open consignment sale and still finds time to manage one of the industry’s most higly-regarded one-night horse shows. In addition, he has served as president of TWHBEA an unprecedented four times and has remained actively involved in the National Horse Show Commission since helping establish it some 13 years ago. The definition of an industry leader, the 2001 Performance Show Horse Ambassador is Mr. Charles Gleghorn.” Charles and Joy Gleghorn accepted this award at this time.

Jim Welch came forward to present the two awards in the pleasure horse division. This year’s recipient of the Adult Pleasure Horse Ambassador was the pleasure horse vice president, Ann Kuykendal. Also for the first time, a Youth Pleasure Horse Ambassador Award was given. Dan Starnes was selected. Cherry stated, “ This young man has shared his love of the walking horse with many less fortunate youngsters, more often than not turning them into ambassadors for our breed.”

The Emerald Award of Excellence in Show Management was next on the list with this award being designed to recognize the efforts of horse show managers and acknowledge outstanding achievement in this field. As the “World’ s Greatest Horse Show”, the Celebration was given a token of appreciation since it has been removed from the competition. Ron Thomas, show manager and the board of directors were called to the stage for this presentation.

This year the Emerald Award was presented to the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration and Music Festival from Panama City Beach for “its great ‘beach’ hospitality and exciting nightlife in welcoming walking horse fans to the Emerald Coast." Martha Blackmon Milligan accepted this award.

The best one-night show again went to the Woodbury Lions Club show and Clayton Glenn, show manager. Special recognition was given to corporate sponsor Cracker Barrel which has helped the futurity become the industry’s richest one-night show. Becky Jennings of Cracker Barrel will be presented with a Billie Nipper print.

Judy Martin presented the Sire and Dam of the Year Awards. One division is based on the actual points acquired by the progeny and the second division is based on ”percentage” points acquired. Splash Of Gen, owned by David Landrum won both the top dam by points and percentage points. Splash Of Gen was sired by Pride's Generator and her dam was the great world champion show mare, Ebony’s Sun Lady. Splash of Gen’s offspring include Major Splash, Major Splish Splash, Brother Splash, I’m Splashed, Splotched and General Splash.

For the ninth consecutive year, Pride's Generator won the top Sire of 2001by total points. Linda Crowley accepted this award. Gen’s Major General was the top Sire based on percentage points. Connie Bryant accepted this award. “It’s worth mentioning that Major General’s win in this category marks the first time since the award’s inception in 1993 that a horse other than Pride’s Generator was the winner. And, it’s only fitting that a son of Generator earns this distinction,” stated Cherry.

As the evening drew to a close, Cherry asked Charles Brantley to come to the stage and made this announcement, “Early next year, for the first time, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, . . . will be inducting someone from the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. And, that person is none other than legendary breeder Mr. Charles Brantley of Coffee County, Tenn. Of course, Mr. Brantley and his family gave us Allan F-1, Roan Allen F-38, Brantley’s Roan Allen, Jr. and many more. And without those horses there would have been no Wilson’s Allen, no Midnight Sun, no Merry Boy, no Merry Go Boy, no Pride Of Midnight, no Pusher C.G. and no Pride’s Generator just to name a few . . . . We at TWHBEA are quite proud of the Tennessee Walking Horse’s inclusion in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, and Mr. Brantley’s induction.” A standing ovation was given to Mr. Brantley as he made his way to the stage and spoke to the audience. Earlier in the evening, Allan Callaway was also given a standing ovation as trainer for Encore.

The final presentation of the evening was made by past president Charles Gleghorn. He presented Jim Welch a wristwatch and a TWHBEA signet ring for his efforts as President for the past two years. A bridle was also presented. The evening closed with much applause.