by Linda Scrivner
LEWISBURG, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association held its annual award banquet on Friday evening, Dec. 3, at the TWHBEA Headquarters. Following a welcome by Executive Director Stan Butt, the invocation by Wayne Dean and a delicious meal, Victor Gernt, III served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

The evening began with the recognition and gratitude for the 2010 banquet sponsors including, Loyd Hall "Buster" Black, Jr., and Prichard's Distillery.  

The 2010 Executive Board was recognized and included President David Pruett, Senior Vice President Dee Dee Sale, Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President Rob Cornelius, Breeders Vice President Jack Heffington, Enforcement Vice President Kasey Kesselring, Equine Welfare Vice President Dr. Linda Montgomery, Horse Shows Vice President Bruce Vaughn, Marketing Vice President Marty Irby, Owner/Exhibitors/International Vice President Stephen Brown, Performance Horse Vice President Ty Irby, Pleasure Horse Vice President Rick Wies, Training Vice President Wayne Dean, Member At Large: By Laws Vice President Loyd Hall Black, Jr., and Member At Large: Youth Vice President Margo Urad.

The evening’s awards began by honoring the 2010 World Grand Champion The Coach. The Coach is owned by Holland, Kilgore and Barnes. He was bred by Diana Popp and he was ridden to the World Grand Championship by Billy Gray. The Coach family has been very generous in sharing this wonderful horse with his fans. His special exhibitions included the Celebration Fall Classic, Alabama Jubilee, Middle Tennessee State University Homecoming and the University of Tennessee Homecoming. In addition to being a great champion, The Coach has definitely proven himself to be a great breed ambassador.

The next to be honored was the 2010 TWHBEA World Versatility Show Overall High Point Champion, Skyjacker’s Mountain High. He is owned by Tracy Pinson and Wayne Conkle and was bred and trained by Wayne Conkle. An Adult Supreme Versatility Champion and Extreme Cowboy Race World Champion, he achieved his 2010 title by competing in a variety of disciplines including Dressage, Over Fences, Showmanship, Equitation, Western Riding, Basic Reining, Barrels and Poles.

In 2008, the decision was made to reinstate the Futurity Graduate Award. These 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 theses years. The Two-Year-Old Horizon Award Champion was Good Til The Last Drop, owned by Mr. and Mrs. James Payne. The Yearling Filly Horizon Champion was I Can’t Imagine, owned by Carole Hargett and the Yearling Colt Horizon Champion was The Master Of Blues, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley. The Weanling Horizon Champions were Just Another Stormy Night, owned by Robert Nelms, Command Sgt. Majors, owned by Nathan and April Mills and Silver Dollar Debutante, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley.

The Regional Futurity Premier Sires and Dams of the Year awards were presented next. The Premier Sire for the Bi-State Regional Futurity was Hillbilly’s Bud Lite, owned by Brad Woodruff. The Premier Dam for the Bi-State Regional Futurity was Copy’s Lady Dumas, owned by Thomas A. White.

The Premier Sire for the Kentucky Sensation Regional Futurity was John’s Touch Of Blue, owned by Ricky Gregory. The Premier Dam for the Kentucky Sensation Regional Futurity was Sheba’s Red Lady, also owned by Ricky Gregory. The Premier Sire for the Ohio Regional Futurity was Gold Power, owned by W.W. Harlin, Jr.

The Premier Dam for the Ohio Regional Futurity was Sky’s Pushin Angel, owned by John Davis. The Premier Sire for the Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity was Command’s Calling Card, owned by Ella Kline. The Premier Dam for the Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity was Elmer’s Tune, also owned by Ella Kline.

The Premier Sire for the Western International Regional Futurity was Dr. Smooth owned by Jana Anderson. The Premier Dam for the Western International Regional Futurity was Black Hills Iz Adorable, owned by James and Roberta Smith.

The GO! Gelding Program is broken down by age into four disciplines and the winners are those that accumulate the most points overall during the year in their discipline. The winners of the GO! Super Gelding Awards were Flat-Shod Super Gelding of 2010 Enchanter’s MG, owned by Jo Boucher, and Performance Super Gelding of 2010 Liar Liar, owned by Gary and Shea Sproles.

This year the GO! Gelding Program paid our five places in each division and the top fives were honored next. The Top Fives in the Performance Junior Geldings were Admission Is A Dollar, owned by Dr. Pam Hendrickson; Paroled In Dixie, owned by Gary Hill; Dollar Overdue, previously owned by Ken Stirn and now owned by Lauren Williams; A Major Parole, owned by Peggy Overcash and Generator’s Macho Man, owned by Mary Porter. The Performance Senior Geldings were Liar Liar, owned by Gary and Shea Sproles, I’m A Evil Rebel, owned by Lucille Matthis and Kayla Baucom; Heart Attack’s Fast Beat, owned by Danielle Ricker; Busting Special, owned by Molly Walters and Santana’s Renaissance Man, owned by Allison Thorson.

The Versatility Senior Geldings were Enchanter’s MG, owned by Jo Boucher; Rebelation, owned by Linda Starnes; Double Beam, owned by Alaina Parsons; Generator’s Evil Outbreak, owned by Mary Helen Martin and The Masked Phantom, owned by Catherine Simpson-Starnes. The Versatility Junior Geldings were I’m Flameworthy, owned by Roger and Laura Mauney and A Catalyst, owned by Alexis King. The European Versatility Senior Gelding was Threats Gold Dealer, owned by Katja Alberts. The Pleasure Junior Geldings were Sleipnir, owned by Allison Thorson; Do U Twitter, owned by Harold and Sherry Roberts; Hard Harted Sweepstakes, owned by John Knight, Jr.;  Cash For Jr., owned by Charles and Tomi Chittum and Raising Cash, owned by Chad and Leann Renner.

The Pleasure Senior Geldings were Jazz Show, owned by John Monahan; Prides Striding Generator, owned by Steve, Cindy and Emma Krock; Generator’s Evil Outbreak, owned by Mary Helen Martin; Generator’s Sun Devil, owned by Glenda Levin and Pride’s Trigger Finger, owned by Janet Knight. The Recreational Trail Junior Gelding was Gen’s Commando, owned by Angela Huffman. The Recreational Trail Senior geldings were Cotton Stock’s Starliner, owned by Laura Plumley; Strait Wolf, owned by Sis Osborne and Kathy Wolaver; Just Gimme A Kiss, owned by Katie Tanner; Dangerous One, owned by Angela Huffman and Spirit’s Ramblin Man, owned by Sarah Keenan.

The Distance program is one of TWHBEA’s most popular offerings that recognize horse and rider teams for the hours the y spend on the trail. Accumulating the most hours and claiming the Distance Horse and Rider of the Year Award were Champagne Bliss and Ronnie Slack. In the open gaited division, top honors went to Toni Light and Pride’s Tennessee Jack.

They next recognized those that have achieved top honors in the TWHBEA Versatility Program. The Supreme and Superior Versatility Champions were Roger Packard and Rock On Banner, George Rugman and Generator’s Bay Charger, Linda Starnes and Rebelation, Paige Yamnitz and Jimmie Jo’s First Edition, Leslie Birk and Sun’s Sirprize Survivor and Jackie Dean and All About Cash.

TWHBEA recognized the TWHYA officers: President Maggie Mae White, Vice President Jake Politte; Secretary/Treasurer Zach Carmichael; Parliamentarian Jordan Dean and Member-At-Large Youth Vice President Lindsey Landrum.

The TWHBEA-WHTA Youth Challenge Program ensures the availability of Youth Performance Canter Classers at shows across the country and rewards those young riders that become proficient at the canter. This year’s Youth Challenge High Point Rider was Maggie Mae White. Her trainer was Nicole Carswell. The Youth Challenge Reserve High Point Rider was Paige Bennett, with the third place awarded to Alex Way.

Last year a new 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 Jake Politte. The TWHYA Outstanding Youth Member of the Year was Lindsey Landrum. This young woman has spent the past year doing her utmost to promote her breed of choice.

Duke and Rhonda Thorson were awarded the 2010 TWHBEA Youth Ambassador Award for their contributions to the youth in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

The Thorsons originally became immersed in the world of the Tennessee Walking Horse for one reason: their daughter, Allison. On a trip to Martinsville, Virginia to watch the family’s racing team compete, they stopped at a West Virginia horse farm where Allison was able to ride a Tennessee Walking Horse for the first time. When they came back to Ohio, Allison took her first lessons at Maplecrest Farm, and she quickly displayed her talents and instincts. Now, seven years later, the entire Thorson family has broadened their horizons; Allison has become one of the top youth riders in the country, while her parents have built their own horse farm, grown the number of horses they own, and expanded their business interests into the equestrian world.

Allison’s enthusiasm for horses on that long weekend in 2004 ultimately resulted in the acquisition of their first two horses, Vigor’s Dixie Chick and Heza A Grey Ghost. From there, ThorSport Farm was born. Built in late summer 2008 and located in Perkins Township, Ohio, the sprawling facility includes a large indoor training arena with multiple viewing platforms, outdoor pastures, indoor meeting facilities, and an a full-sized tennis court. ThorSport Farm has grown to 15 horses trained in Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky, including two-time World Grand Champion Roll The Gold.

Allison’s passion for horses also led to an expansion of the ThorWorks Industries product line. Known worldwide for its complete line of pavement maintenance products and equipment, ThorWorks has become heavily involved in the equestrian world with its revolutionary dust-free Thor Turf equestrian surface. Additionally, through, the company has expanded into a full line of farm coatings, including barn and fence paints, roof coating, dust control and much more.

Generous to a fault, the Thorsons have sponsored numerous events within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, including All Youth Day, which they have supported for multiple years. Through their support of Allison they have been instrumental in the promotion of the Tennessee Walking Horse as a youth mount at events such as Equine Affaire and the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

This year’s Performance Horse Ambassador Award went to Jo Ann Dowell. This award is presented to those that have committed themselves to the betterment of the performance horse. Dowell and her husband, Glenn, began their Tennessee Walking Horse journey over 40 years ago when their horse-crazy daughter, Sue Ann, wanted a horse of her own. They showed on the Ohio circuit, first with White Star Farms and trainer Tommy Plott, later with Polly Stout and then with Winky Groover back at White Star. While Sue Ann attended college, they placed their horses with trainers in Tennessee.

Over the years they build a tremendous string that includes such greats as Prowler’ Princess, Major League, Trip My Trigger, Heat Of The Moment, Mighty Maxx, Mighty Maxx A Million and One Bad Hombre while they continued to support their local shows and to promote the performance horse in Ohio. In addition to their vast contributions to the show circuits of the Midwest and Southeast, Dowell has made an impact as a breeder as her stallions have produced successful show horses in nearly every division.

The 2010 TWHBEA Pleasure Horse Ambassador Award went to Sgt. J.D. Harber, the founder and promoter of using and training Walking Horses for mounted police programs all over the world. Harber was raised in the heart of walking horse country, worked at Harber and Cherry Stables where he broke colts, worked, trained and showed horses with a passion for the breed coupled with an unsurpassed work ethic. Serving on the Metro police force, he had a dream that would combine the love of his job as a policeman with his continuing love for a horse. Year after year, he submitted plans for a mounted police unit for Metro Nashville. In the early 1990’s that dream became a reality. Almost 20 years later, Sgt. Harber has developed such a credible program for training and using horses for police work, that other mounted police programs from all over the world attend his training seminars each year in Nashville. As a result many units have converted to using Tennessee Walking Horses and through his vision, commitment and hard work have turned that into an invaluable investment for the future of the breed.

Ernie Brewbaker, Jimmy Burton, Jamie Hankins, Nicole Hirsekorn and Suyin Oldenburg were awarded TWHBEA Friendship Awards since they played a valuable role in assisting TWHBEA with various projects over the past year. TWHBEA Member of the Year was awarded to member Marsha Yzaguirre, who has generously donated her time and effort over the past several years in improving the registration process. She has also worked on projects such as the iPeds update and the development of the online classifieds.

Miss Ping was honored as the 500,000th Tennessee Walking Horse in the TWHBEA's registry. The Titleist filly was bred and is owned by Dr. Ginger Williams of Reidsville, NC. Dr. Williams was presented with a plaque and jacket to recognize the milestone.

The Reese L. Smith, Jr. Distinguished Service Award was awarded to Jane Eakes for her long history of service within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. She is the matriarch of a true Tennessee Walking Horse family and has done her utmost to ensure the ongoing prosperity of the show horse. She was the treasurer for Friends of the Show Horse and later served on the board and as treasurer for the Show Horse Support Fund. She and her family were contributors to both. She did all this work absolutely free of charge. One associate said, “She did all the things that most people don’t want to do. She was the brains behind the brawn.”

The TWHBEA Master Breeders 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 two Master Breeders Awards were bestowed to A.S. “Audie” Dean and Porter Rogers, Sr.

“Audie” Dean purchased Snip’s Chance from the Albert Dement estate and crossed him with Wilson’s Allen. The result of this crossing produced four mares which became legendary as the “four sisters” that became thy foundation for Dean’s success as a breeder. From these mares came Sun’s Hero, World Grand Champion Sun’s Delight, Johnny Midnight, Midnight Imp, Midnight Ike, Mack K’s Trigger, Dean’s Boss Man, Delight’s Sunbeam, Delight’s Chance and many more. Accepting on behalf of A.S. “Audie” Dean was his nephew Wayne Dean.

Dr. Porter Rodger’s breeding program in Searcy, Ark., produced four World Grand Champions, Old Glory’s Big Man, Go Boy’s Shadow, Carbon Copy and Mark of Carbon. In addition to this, add the great mare Shadow’s Sis W., dam of 1978 World Grand Champion Mark Of Carbon, who was sired by Carbon Copy and you, have a truly incredible record. Accepting on his behalf were his son, Dr. Porter Rodgers, Jr., and his daughter, Anne Whetsell.

The TWHBEA Dam of the Year by actual points and by percentage points was Gen’s Major Promise. She has produced five offspring including Enchanter’s MG who claimed 85 blue ribbons in 2010, including six National Championships as well as the 2010 TWHBEA GO! Flatshod Super Gelding award. She was bred by David Thompson and is owned by Angela and Caitlin Salhany.

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 William B. and Sandra Johnson and bred by Dr. and Mrs. Rafael Rigual. His offspring included 2010 World Grand Champion Catastrophic and World Champions Dancing Under The Stars, Santa Emelia, MOAB, So It Is, One Bad Hombre, A Victoria Secret, Play Something Country, Madam Houdini, Roll The Gold, Suiza, Don Julio, Jose’s Vengeance, Ricardo Ricardo, Jose’s Mucho Lucho, Miss Hosanna and She’s Caliente.

The Top Sire of the Year by Percentage was three-time World Champion and World Grand Champion A Greater Generator, owned by Leo and Mary Martin and bred by Ron Kidd. His offspring include 2010 winner’s circle regulars Gi Gi’s Majestic, Gi Gi’s Halberd, Gi Gi’s Milk Money among many others.

The Sire Summary Outstanding Sire of the Year once again went to José José. 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.

Executive Director Stan Butt recognized President David Pruett for his tireless efforts. The banquet concluded with closing remarks by President Pruett.