By Linda Scrivner

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association held its annual awards banquet on Friday evening, Nov. 30, 2012, at the Cool Springs Marriott. Following a welcome by the master of ceremonies Mark Farrar, Jr., the invocation by Tony White and a delicious meal, the evening’s presentations began.
The awards began with the recognition and appreciation for the 2012 sponsors.

The 2012 Executive Committee was recognized and included President Marty Irby, Past President David Pruett, Senior Vice President Margo Urad, Secretary Alie Napier, Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President Rob Cornelius, Breeders’ Vice President Dee Dee Miller, Enforcement Vice President Christy Lantis, Equine Welfare Vice President Dr. Linda Montgomery, Horse Shows Vice President Tracy Boyd, Marketing Vice President Joyce Moyer, Owners/Exhibitors/International Vice President Stephen Brown, Performance Horse Vice President Mike Hicks, Pleasure Horse Vice President Rick Wies, Training Division Vice President Wayne Dean, Member at Large Bylaws Vice President Loyd Hall Black, Jr. and Member at Large Youth Vice President Linda Starnes.
The evening’s awards began by honoring the 2012 World Grand Champion Walk Time Charlie. Walk Time Charlie is owned by Neal Holland, Bob Kilgore and John Callicutt. He was bred by Robert Stannard, Jr., of Kentucky and was ridden to the World Grand Championship by Chad Baucom. The Walk Time Charlie family has been very generous in sharing this wonderful horse with his fans. Walk Time Charlie has definitely proven himself to be a great ambassador.            
The next to be honored was the 2012 TWHBEA World Versatility Show Overall High Point Champion, Victory Trip. She is owned and was bred by Linda Starnes and was exhibited by Daniel Starnes. A Versatility Champion, Victory Trip achieved her 2012 title by competing successfully in a variety of disciplines including Trail Obstacle, Showmanship, Hunter Hack, Barrels and Poles, and Basic Reining.
The 2012 TWHBEA National Futurity Horizon Awards honorees showed at the National Futurity each year they were eligible and accumulated the best record at the show among all horses of their age that showed these years. The Weanling Horizon Award Champions were I’m Sexy And I Know It, owned by Chris Richards; She’s A Real Diamond, owned by Carole Hargett and My Diamond Back, owned by Bobby and Freda Jones. The Yearling Horizon Award winner was Intimidator’s Cover Girl, owned by Andrew Waites and Brian Wright. The Two-Year-Old Horizon Award Champion was Albert’s Homer, owned by Alan H. and Jason A. Bachert. The Futurity Graduate Award was Miss Cheyenne, owned by Larry Mesimer and Gordon and Anglyn Ezzell.
The Regional Futurity Premier Sires and Dams of the Year awards were presented next. Knowledgeable breeders and savvy owners nominate their foals, thereby producing offspring of greater value and increasing the richness of champion bloodlines.
The Premier Sire for the Ohio Regional Futurity is Rowdy Rev, owned by W.W. Harlin, Jr. and the Premier Dam for the Ohio Regional Futurity is Opulence, owned by Bruce Vaughn.
The Premier Sire for the Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity is once again Command’s Calling Card and the Premier Dam for the Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity is Elmer’s Tune, both owned by Ella Kline. They gave special congratulations to Kline, a true longtime supporter of TWHBEA and the industry. They thanked her for the beautiful awards she provides each year for the youth halter classes at the Celebration and for her efforts in bettering and promoting our breed.
The Premier Sire for the Western International Regional Futurity is last year’s winner, Nite’s Design, owned by Allen and Nancy Plunkett. The Premier Dam for the Western International Regional Futurity is Evilicious, owned by Kristine Mathison.
The GO! Gelding Program is broken down into four disciplines and the winners are those that accumulate the most points in their discipline at year’s end. The winners of the GO! Gelding Super Gelding Awards were Performance Super Gelding Vegas Ritz, who also won in 2011, owned by Julia Livingston, and the Flat-Shod Super Gelding Pride’s Striding Generator, owned by Emma Krock.
New this year is the Super Motivated Mare Awards. It mirrors the GO! Gelding Program and is open to all registered TWHBEA mares. It has four disciplines: performance, pleasure, versatility and recreational trail. The Super Motivated Mare Awards are awarded to the flat-shod and performance mares that accumulated the most points during the year in their division. The Performance Super Motivated Mare is Foolish Dollar, owned by Wilsene Moody-Kwok and the Flat-Shod Super Motivated Mare is Victory Trip, owned by Linda Starnes.
The Distance program is one of TWHBEA’s most popular offerings that recognize horse and rider teams for the hours they spend on the trail. The Distance Horse of the Year went to Champagne Bliss and Ronnie Slack. This was a repeat win from 2011. Accumulating the most hours and claiming the Open Gaited Distance Horse of the Year were Pride’s Tennessee Jack and Dee Jay Light.
TWHBEA recognized the Tennessee Walking Horse Youth Association outgoing officers; President Maggie-Mae White, Vice President Meghan Villhard, Secretary Jordon Dean, Treasurer Dana White and Parliamentarian Morgan Murphy.
Three years ago an award was named in honor of the late Lizzie Umberger. The recipient of the Lizzie Umberger Sportsmanship Award was voted on by TWHYA members and was Shannon McCaffrey. The TWHYA Outstanding Youth Member of the Year was Shelby Finch.
The Ambassador awards honor those whose respective levels of dedication make them role models as we work for the betterment of our breed. Larry Lowman was awarded the 2012 TWHBEA Youth Ambassador Award for his contributions to the youth in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. Lowman is a longtime supporter of the Tennessee Walking Horse, is a multiple term director and multiple term Marketing Vice President for TWHBEA. He was the second person to receive the Performance Horse Ambassador Award and is a Hall of Fame inductee. He also was a co-founder of the Tennessee Walking Horse Foundation. At Bridlewood Farm, he managed some of the most influential stallions in our industry and has co-owned numerous World Champions and World Grand Champions, as well as being a talented artist and photographer. During this past year, Lowman has generously donated time and talent to help develop the youth committee’s Just Say Whoa program, offering advice and illustrating their new activity book.
This year’s Performance Horse Ambassador Award went to Senator Robin Webb. This award is presented to those that have committed themselves to the betterment of the performance horse. Webb is a life-long walking horse enthusiast from Grayson, Ky., whose father, Dr. Robert Webb, was a past President of the Kentucky Walking Horse Association and a show ring announcer. She has been active on local, state and national levels educating and advocating all divisions of our breed. She has sought to build partnerships both within the breed, as well as with other agricultural entities. She has been an active participant in USDA listening sessions and industry conference calls. She has tried to counter with science and fact to those attacking our performance horse. She has been a regular in the show ring starting with Ebony’s Paper Tiger and going on to horses such as Ebony’s Cover Girl, Major Mischief, Poisonamania and Airforce One.
The 2012 TWHBEA Pleasure Horse Ambassador is Sherrie Szucs, a longtime owner, exhibitor and trainer. Szucs grew up in Bellevue, Ohio, begging her parents for a horse and at 14 her dreams came true when her father bought her a Tennessee Walking Horse named Pickaway Babe to show in 4-H. Sherrie showed her, taught her to pull a sleigh and rode her in a mounted posse group. Her parents supported her and she soon had a second walking horse and she honed her skills by training this horse. After graduating she began training performance horses for others but in the mid 1980’s Symbol’s Nite Hawk changed her focus. Under her direction, Nite Hawk claimed the Plantation Pleasure Reserve World Grand Championship. Many other pleasure horses found success under Sherrie’s direction, such as World Champions Genius’ Boy Pride, Genius Fashion Show, Praise Hallelujah, Rich And Smart, Genius Precious Pearl, Summer Wishes, City Lights, Coins In A Row, Show Shine, Newt and WIZO. Sherrie has served as a TWHBEA director from Ohio, helped with the success of the Buckeye Walking Horse Association and is a successful judge and clinician.
Bedford County Mounted Patrol Member Ernie Brewbaker was awarded a TWHBEA Friendship Award for his valuable role in assisting TWHBEA over the past year. He has helped at events and his horse, Ranger T. Walker, have been vital to the Just Say Whoa campaign.
The Reese L. Smith, Jr. Distinguished Service Award was awarded to Sheryl Crawford for exemplifying the same dedication, commitment and personal involvement as Reese L. Smith, Jr. She had the opportunity to grow up with horses and competed in 4-H and Pony Club shows and in walking horse shows in the 1960’s. She has competed in nearly every division and is a successful breeder. She has held a number of leadership positions beginning with the Georgia Walking Horse Association and progressing on to TWHBEA, where she has served multiple terms as a director and officer. She developed a manual and an orientation session for new Directors and helped streamline many procedures. She’s a recipient of the Performance Horse Ambassador Award who has bred and raised numerous world and world grand champions.
A proponent of science and technology, she championed the adoption of new forms of technology in HIO inspections and supported blood typing and approval of registrations from embryo transfers. She recently has supported our breed at USDA Listening Sessions, founded and organized the Tennessee Walking Horses of Today Conference and produced a video starring her beloved stallion Command & Control that is being used to help promote and educate others on the performance horse.
Walt Chism was honored with the first Presidential Award. Chism rode his first walking horse in 1955 and acquired his first one in 1965. He has bred two World Grand Champions and three World Champions. His favorite horse ever was Pride’s Top Doll, the mare that brought him his first Celebration blue and formed the foundation of his breeding program.
Chism is a great supporter of the association and served as president from 1991 to 1992. He is the current chairman of the Master Breeder Committee and is always available with his knowledge.
TWHBEA Member of the Year was awarded to TWHBEA member Frank Neal, who has generously donated his time and effort over the years to assist the Association in a variety of ways. He was introduced to the Celebration by Ray Bell and his interest was deepened by another friend, Robert Keenan, owner of Pride’s Dark Spirit. Shortly after, he acquired a yearling named Dark Spirit’s Pride. This was the first of many, including 1992 World Grand Champion Dark Spirit’s Rebel. He has contributed greatly to the industry throughout the years. He is a former director and executive committee member for TWHBEA and a former President of WHOA, as well as a Hall of Fame member.
The TWHBEA Master Breeder Award, the highest and most prestigious recognition given to a breeder, recognizes those breeders whose work over an extended period of time has had a significant and long-lasting impact on the breed. This year five Master Breeder Awards were bestowed to Hoyte Eakes of Nashville, Paige Edwards of Dawson, Ga., Betty Freeman of Lebanon, Larry Gribble of McMinnville and Burt Hunter of Lewisburg.
Hoyte Eakes devoted his life to breeding and raising top-quality horses, operating Hidden Acres Farm. The Eakes breeding program produced five world grand champions, six reserve world champions and seven TWHBEA National Futurity Champions, including Jewel’s Magic, Magic Bum’s Jewel, Maxie Choice, Bummin Choice and Whoopin It In Command. His love for the breed, the show ring and our great industry are legendary. His legacy continues in the capable hands of grandson, Nathan Mills, who is accepting the award on his behalf.
Paige Edwards grew up in the industry and as an exhibitor she claimed 10 world championships before she focused on her first loves, her broodmares and their foals. Her residence in Dawson, Ga., is home to 15 top-notch broodmares and the farm where husband Gary and Larry Edwards train is home to nearly 100 more. Her bloodlines are everything to her and she has found a great deal of success in combining such lines as Generator, Hard Cash, Pusher, Ritz and Jose. Horses produced in her program included 1996 World Grand Champion and multi-titled Sire of the Year He’s Puttin’ On the Ritz, World Champion Gen’s Dixie Crystals, World Champion and World Grand Champion The Dixie Lineman, World Champion She’s Sugarland, World Champion Neon Deion, World Grand Champion Palm Beach Ritz and World Champion Neon Bright. For Paige, nothing comes close to the thrill of raising a world champion.
Betty Freeman turned her passion into a full-time breeding operation know as Freeman Foals. She bred and raised over 300 foals that went on to great success in the show ring and the breeding shed, some overseas, where they made a great impact in Europe. She was the breeder of 1997 World Grand Champion Generator’s Santana as well as the plantation pleasure great, Ironworks. Other greats included Extra Ebony, Absolutely Armed, I’m A Buzzsaw and current breeding success story, Watch Out Jose. She served as a director and was a Hall of Fame inductee. She passed her love on to her daughter, Delaine Freeman Smith, who continues to operate Freeman Foals and who accepts the award tonight.
Larry Gribble became interested in walking horses as a teenager and learned first hand from some of the founding fathers, including Harlin Hayes, Steve Hill, the Paschal brothers, James R. Brantley, Auburn Gray and Elmore Brock. A number of outstanding stallions called the Gribble farm home, including Midnight Mack K., Johnny Midnight, Rodgers’ Perfection, Pride’s Stormy Night, Stormy’s John Mack and Stormy’s Lightning. Equally impressive, the Gribble broodmare band included Merry Boy’s Fame L.M., My Shady Lady, Mack’s Lovely Lady, Stormy’s Ruby, Stormy’s Roseanna and Stormy’s Rebel Queen. His program has produced a great number of champions including NYPD, Stormy’s Miss Delightful, San Juan, Chicaco, José José and Stormy’s Fashion.
Burt Hunter and his father Bright Hunter bred, raised and owned Hunter’s Allen F-10, one of the foundations sires and most influential early stallions in our breed’s history. Hunter’s Allen F-10 sired such early notables as Nell, Bright Allen, Last Chance, Lady Sensation, Brooks Allen and Dements Allen. It was a conversation between Burt and Tennessee Governor Jim Nance McCord that resulted in the idea to create the TWHBEA. He was the first President.
The TWHBEA Dam of the Year by actual points and by percentage points was No More Cash, owned by Wallace H. Carrier, Jr. By Coin’s Hard Cash and out of My Sugar Babe, she was bred by Gerald P. Henley of Maiden, N.C. She has produced four offspring including International and National Grand Champion The Midnight Ride and International Champion I’m Percy Sledge.
The TWHBEA Sire of the Year based on total points was once again two-time World Champion and two-time World Grand Champion José José, owned by Five Star Stallions. His offspring includes 2012 World Grand Champions Suiza, A Victoria Secret, Jose’s Centerfold, ACC, Catastrophic and Jose It Ain’t So. José José was bred by Dr. and Mrs. Rafael Rigual of Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Top Sire of the Year by Percentage was once again three-time World Champion and World Grand Champion A Greater Generator, owned by Leo R. and Mary Martin. His offspring include 2012 World Grand Champion Gi Gi’s Majestic, Reserve World Grand Champion Gi Gi’s Lunch Money and winner’s circle regulars Gi Gi’s Jamaican Generator, Gi Gi’s Halberd and Gi Gi’s Milk Money.
The Outstanding Sire of the Year went to Wicked Gold, owned by Jana Anderson. This award is based on 50 percent combination of actual points and percentage points as well as several other statistical categories presented each year in TWHBEA’s Sire Summary. By Pride’s Gold Coin and out of The Wicked Sister, he was bred by Carl R. Nichols of Athens and his offspring include 2012 World Grand Champions The Wicked Master and Wicked Image as well as winner’s circle regular, Pitcher Of Gold.
Outgoing President Marty Irby was recognized and presented a gift for his hard work and dedication to TWHBEA for the last two years. The banquet concluded with closing remarks by President Irby.

 Click Here for a complete list of the Top Ten Champions.