Copyright WHR 2008

By Linda Scrivner

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association held its annual award banquet on Friday evening, Dec. 6, at the Franklin Cool Springs Marriott. Following a welcome by Executive Director Stan Butt, the invocation by Chris Bobo and a delicious meal, Victor Gernt III served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.
The 2007 Executive Board was recognized and included President David Pruett, Senior Vice President Bob Ramsbottom, Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President Mike Inman, Breeders Vice President Dee Dee Sale, Enforcement Vice President Chris Bobo, Horse Show Vice President Bill Stricklend, Owner/Exhibitors Vice president Darren Gray, Performance Horse Vice President Connie Hess, Pleasure Horse Vice President Diane McMurtrey, Marketing Vice president Joyce Moyer, Training Vice President Jamie Hankins, Member At Large/Bylaws Vice President Debra Jack and Member At Large/Youth Vice President Christy Lantis.
The evening’s awards began by honoring the 2008 World Grand Champion Santana’s El Nino. Michael and Ann Jones bred and owned this great horse that was ridden and trained by Link Webb. They have been very generous in sharing this wonderful horse with his fans with special exhibitions including The International Performance Grand Championships, North Carolina Championships, Middle Tennessee State University Homecoming, the Jack Daniels Barbecue Cookoff, University of Tennessee homecoming and the Southern Championship.
The official portrait of the 2008 World Grand Champion, taken by photographer Michael Gomez, was then unveiled. This will hang in TWHBEA headquarters and other key locations throughout the state.
The first to be called to the stage to receive awards was the World Versatility Show Overall Highpoint Champion, Skyjacker’s Mountain High, owned and bred by Tracy Pinson. Wayne Conkle trained this talented horse.
The next group of honorees conquered versatile events at three horse shows, The World Versatility Show, the International Pleasure and Colt Grand Championships and the Pleasure Walking Horse Association of Tennessee (PWHAT) Flat Shod Celebration, to earn the title of Triple Crown Champion. Jennie Jackson earned the adult Triple Crown Championship award. Leslie Birk and John Kuszlyk,III tied to top the Triple Crown youth division.
All the National Futurity Champions and their owners were asked to stand to be recognized for their accomplishments. In 2008, it was decided to reinstate the Futurity Graduate Award, starting with the weanling crop of 2008. As a first step toward this goal, the 2008 National Futurity Weanling Filly and Colt Champions were awarded Futurity Horizon Awards. The Weanling Filly Champion was CP3, owned by James and Nancy Washburn and the Weanling Colt Champion was Good Til The Last Drop, owned by Ashley Womack Say and Patricia Hoffman.
The Regional Futurity Premier Sire and Dam awards were presented next. The Premier Sire for the Bi-State Regional Futurity was Hillbilly’s Bud Light, owned by Brad Woodruff. The Premier Sire for the Midwest Regional Futurity was Generator’s Gold Edition, owned by Michael Young. The Premier Dam for the Midwest Regional Futurity was Collectors Class, owned by Jeff and Sarah Heuer. The Premier Sire for the Ohio Regional Futurity is Poison, owned by Joe and Cena Martin. The Premier Dam for the Ohio Regional Futurity was Coins In A Row, owned by W.W. Harlin, Jr. Dr. Mike, owned by Ella Kline earned the Premier Sire for the Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity. Kline also owned the Premier Dam for the Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity, Gen’s Lit’l Sunshine. The Premier Sire for the Western International Walking Horse Association Regional Futurity is A Major Milestone, owned by Don and Cathy Frank while the Premier Dam for this region is Generator’s Amazing Grace, owned by Linda Arnold.
The Go! Gelding Program is broken down by age into three divisions and the winners are those with the most overall points in their discipline at the end of the year. The winners of the GO! Super Gelding Awards were Performance Junior Geldings, Assault; Performance Senior Geldings, Bold Vengeance; Versatility Junior Geldings, Five O Clock Somewhere; Versatility Senior Geldings, Rebelation; Pleasure Junior Geldings, Obey My Command and Pleasure Senior Geldings, Generator’s Sun Devil, The Flatshod Super Gelding of the Year was Rebelation and the Performance Super Gelding of the Year was Bold Vengeance.
TWHBEA recognized the TWHYA officers: President Blake Everett, Vice President Courtney Hicks, Secretary Kelly Mendez, Treasurer Dava Reynolds and Parliamentarian Stephanie Harris. The TWHYA Outstanding Youth Member of the Year was Maggie Mae White. This young lady has spent the past year doing her utmost to promote the Tennessee Walking Horse. Her accomplishments included a successful Youth Trails Day clinic in her home state of Michigan, a stint as the Voice magazine youth reporter for the Celebration, an Equitation World Championship and multiple TWHYA creative contest awards.
Dr. Dave Whitaker was awarded the 2008 TWHBEA Youth Ambassador for his lifetime work with kids and horses. Dr. Doyle Meadows accepted on his behalf. Lonnie Messick earned the Performance Horse Ambassador and Danny Reagan was awarded the Pleasure Horse Ambassador.
Bill Whitley and Debbie Funtes were awarded TWHBEA Friendship Awards since they have played a valuable role assisting TWHBEA in various projects over the past year.

They next recognized those that were sponsors of “The Tennessee Walking Horse: An American Tradition,” a book that highlights the beauty and impact of the Tennessee Walking Horse that is currently in the works. Those honored were Bill and Barbara Harlin, Randall Baskin of Autumn Crest Farm, Jim and Judy Leek, Bruce and Nancy Lovato of Enchanted Gait Stables, Chip and Bonny Carrier of Gobblers Knob Farm, Frank Neal of Frank E. Neal & Company and Duke and Rhonda Thorson.
TWHBEA Member of the Year was awarded to member and attorney Chuck Cheek who generously donated his time and effort to assist the Association in negotiating a conclusion to its copyright lawsuit against the NWHA. He helped close the lawsuit down and ensured that the associated fees paid by THWBEA were reasonable.
The Reese L. Smith Jr. Distinguished Serve Award was awarded to Stephen B. Smith for his long history of service within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. He was a two-term past president that has followed in his father’s footsteps with his dedication to the association and the walking horse.
The TWHBEA Dam of the Year by points and by percentage points was Slam’s Sassy Sue. She has produced five offspring including High Tide Surfin’ who claimed 31 blue ribbons in 2008 including one world championship and three International championships. The TWHBEA Sire of the Year by points is José José. His offspring include 2008 World Champions A Victoria Secret, Generated By Jose, Jose Whole Shabang, Jose’s Dulce, Jose’s Intimidator, Jose’s Ritzy Doll, Miss Hosanna and She’s One Hot Tamale. The Top Sire of the Year by Percentage Points was Lined With Cash. His offspring include 2008 World Grand Champions The Dixie Lineman, Strait Line Cash and Outta Line as well as 2008 World Champions Lined Up At The Ritz and Lined Walkin. The Outstanding Sire of the Year Award went to Lined With Cash. This award is based on 50% combination of actual points and percentage points. Both of these talented stallions stand at Waterfall Farms in Shelbyville, Tenn.
Executive Director Stan Butt recognized President David Pruett for his untiring efforts and surprised Pruett with an engraved rocking chair and lamp. The banquet ended with closing remarks by President Pruett who thanked everyone for attending and wished all a happy holiday season.