By Linda Scrivner

(Editor’s note: We have received notice that a formal request for an audit of the points has been filed. If there are changes, we will print them when we receive them.)

CULLMAN, Ala. - The Walking Horse Association of Alabama held their annual high point awards banquet Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004, at the All Steak Restaurant. A fabulous buffet dinner was served along with the restaurant’s famous orange rolls before the award presentations got underway.

This was the seventh year that the WHAA donated the proceeds from their shows to Camp Smile-A-Mile, a camp for children who have been stricken by cancer. During the last four years, over $150,000 has been presented to this worthy charity. This year WHAA gave $40,000 from the proceeds of the Alabama Jubilee Horse Show, and the Alabama Walking Horse Regional Futurity Horse Show donated $2,500.

The 2003 President Nathan Clark welcomed the guests and then turned the program over to 2004 President Gene Carbine. Carbine said he was thrilled with the turnout, the largest number ever at the banquet. Roger Latham said grace and then everyone enjoyed food and conversation with the other members, family and friends in attendance.

Announcements of upcoming events included the Swinging Gate Stables Winter Colt Preview which will be held at the Celebration Arena in Decatur, Ala., Jan. 24, 2004; the Alabama Horse Council’s Alabama Horse Fair at Garrett Coliseum and Alabama Agricultural Center in Montgomery, Ala., Jan. 24-25, 2004; and Clark Farm Preview in Arab, Ala., Feb. 21, 2004.

Speaker Ron Murphy, deputy commissioner of agriculture, began with, “We really appreciate what you do, especially for Camp Smile-A-Mile.” He discussed the mad cow scare and said, “Our food is the safest in the world.”

He also told a war story about one of the Alabama members that he grew up with, Jack Littrell. “We [he and his partner] were experts in law enforcement,” Murphy said. “We received a call that there was a bombing at Raymond Littrell Lumber Company. I was scared as we headed toward the scene. This was about the time they were having problems in nearby Selma, Ala. When we arrived, we discovered that Jack Littrell had installed a new hot water heater in the barn but had left off the pop-off valve. The heater had exploded, went through the roof and landed in the highway.”

The Alabama Regional Futurity winners, presented by Joan Kemp, were called first. Marty Irby accepted the High Point Stallion Award for Generator’s Man Of Magic, owned by William B. and Sandra Johnson. There was a tie for High Point Mare between Cotton’s Petro, owned by J. Michael Brown, and My Favorite Recipe, owned by Gilbert McCarley. Rounding out these awards was General Trend, the 2003 Top Graduate for Joan Kemp and J. Michael Brown.

Roxy Reeves came forward to present the Alabama Ladies Auxiliary awards which were next on the list. There was a tie for the number one spot between Carolyn Rutner and Marilyn Roy. A tie for second landed Nan Ingle and Karen Inman next in the count.

Certificates and recognition were given to the Gold and Silver sponsors of the Alabama Jubilee. This was followed by the presentation of the $40,000 check by Joan Kemp and E.C. Moody to Lynn Thompson, executive director of Camp Smile-A-Mile. “We need to give our love and encouragement to these kids. The money raised is well spent at the camp,” 2004 President Gene Carbine said of the donation.

Lynn Thompson took the stand, thanking the organization for its support. “You are our largest supporter. We have added two new programs this year and we couldn’t have done it without you. You truly are our best friends.”

Plaques were presented to the family of three recently lost association members, Harold Bentley, Nan Scott and Jerry Bagwell, in recognition of their service. Plaques of appreciation were given to each of the 2003 officers as well. Those accepting were Woody Spinks, parliamentarian; Nancy Hawkins, treasurer; Vickie Hale, secretary; Morrow Doss, second vice president; and Bill Stricklend, first vice president. Nathan Clark was also given a gift for his service as president in 2002 and 2003.

Hugh Johnson was next introduced as master of ceremonies for the high point awards. He entertained everyone with his tales and kept the presentations moving along with lots of laughter. Johnson continued their tradition of calling fifth place first and ending with the winner in each division.

The 2003 WHAA high point awards began with the Lead Line division won by Clutch’s Tumbleweed and shown by Brant Collier for Brant and Trevor Collier. Reserve went to Color Tymes Indian Princess, owned and shown by Libby and Hannah McCurdy.

The Bo and Blake Beam owned property, Dark Storm Warning walked away with the Juvenile 11 Years and Under Specialty High Point award out of 14 participants. Bo Beam was in the irons last season, and trainers were Steve Beam and Steven Brown. Second place honors went to Emily Zahnd aboard The Skylite for Emily and Andrea Zahnd. Chris Zahnd trained this team.

In the Weanling division The Magic Recipe and Linda McCarley claimed the top spot for McCarley Farms. Broken Spirit and Gerald Campbell were reserve for Doss Farms. Flashy Eightball took home the Yearling High Point award for owners Bobby and Gary Lingerfelt and handlers Bo Beam and Gary Lingerfelt. Bobby and Gary Lingerfelt’s 24K Sunrise, handled by Paula Patlow, was awarded second in the division.

The Ferguson Farms property, Santana’s Pusher Man and Jamie Bradshaw won the Two-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings award out of 19 participants. Reserve honors went to Hot & Busted and Steve Beam for Stewart and Lokey.

The Two-Year-Old Mares High Point trophy was awarded to Pusher’s Silver Dollar and Hugh Taylor for David and Sunny Roberson. Claiming the reserve spot were Pride’s Generator Magic and Danny Latham, owned by Charles Crane.

The Three-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings high point honors with 17 participants went to Rainbow Of Colors and Tim Smith for Mr. and Mrs. Jamie Etheredge. Pushover The Blue and Jerry Collier were called to the reserve spot for owner Charles Bullard.

In the Three-Year-Old Mares division Miss Santiago and Jamie Bradshaw won the award for Ferguson Farms. Disarmed and Ross Campbell were reserve for owners Kemp, Hahn and Shaley.

The Four-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings honors went to Hard Collateral and Chris Zahnd for Mr. and Mrs. Larry Roy. Taking home the reserve honors were Man Of Elegance and Steve Beam for Blake Beam.

Clouds Of Joy and Glen Crowe won the Four-Year-Old Mares title for owners J.D. and Ginger Evans. Dumas Starwalker and Nathan Clark were reserve for Clark Farms.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cornelius’ Casper’s Mickey Mouse topped the Aged Stallions and Geldings division with Jay Cornelius aboard. The reserve ribbon went to Pride’s Touch Tone and Philip Trimble for Brenda Fann.

Lady Pzazz and Tim Smith won the Aged Mares High Point award for Mr. and Mrs. G.L. McNeil while Almost Indecent and Hugh Taylor were second for owner Jamie Waddell. Claiming the Open Specialty High Point award were Design’s Lady Di and Chris Pate for Hugh and Ann Johnson. Alabama Pusher and Scott Wilhite were reserve for Pauline Goodwin.

Steve Beam and A Pretty Pusher chalked up another win; this time it was in the Open Show Pleasure division for Mr. and Mrs. Morris Anderson. The reserve award went to Master Of Pride, shown by both Greg and Chris Pate for the Ricky Young family.

In the 15.2 and Under division top honors went to Generator’s Mountain, shown by Greg and Chris Pate for Woodie and Carolyn Spinks. Pusher’s Pzazz and Tim Smith were second for Mr. and Mrs. G.L. McNeil.

Andrew Jackson and John Keplinger were called to accept the trophy in the Two and Three-Year-Old Plantation Pleasure Specialty division for owners John and Suzanne Keplinger. Melissa Title’s Poison At Midnight was reserve.

Ray Solley made the first of his many appearances to claim the trophy for May Sunrise in the Amateur Park Pleasure Specialty division. Glen Crowe trained this talented horse. The Rising Sun, also owned and shown by Ray Solley and trained by Glen Crowe, took home reserve.

The Rising Sun and Glen Crowe claimed the points to win the Open Park Pleasure Specialty competition for Ray Solley. Vibrant and Cynthia Bush were reserve for owners Chris and Cynthia Bush and trainer Chris Zahnd.

The Western Plantation Pleasure Specialty winner was the team of Coin’s Flip Side and Suzanne Keplinger for John and Suzanne Keplinger. Pusher’s Minor Man and Leslie Moore were second for owner Ray Solley and trainer Glen Crowe.

In the Country Pleasure Specialty competition Collector’s Big Time Jack and Joyce Smith topped the heap. Rocky Top Rainbow and Jean Brannon were second for Rob and Jean Brannon.

Suzanne Keplinger continued her good night as she took another first with Coin’s Flip Side in the Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod division for John and Suzanne Keplinger. All Night, shown by both Katlyn Stricklend and Nicholas Clark, claimed reserve for Clark Farms.

Delight N Pushin and Jodi Powell carried the highest points in the Ponies For Riders 17 Years and Under division for owners Jerry and Bonnie Powell and trainer Hugh Taylor. Reserve went to Pride’s Beamer and Whitney Thomas for R. and L. Thomas and trainer Glen Crowe.

Another popular class in 2003 was the Juvenile 12-17 Years class. Racking up the points for first were Almost Indecent and Jamie Waddell. Hugh Taylor and Brian Watson trained this team. Don Barnett’s My Major Heartache and Clay Sanderson finished second for trainer Philip Trimble.

Twenty horses competed for the most points in the Juvenile Specialty 17 and Under category in 2003. Claiming the trophy and ribbon once again was the team of Almost Indecent and Jamie Waddell. Bonanza’s Dixie Bell and Meg Young sailed into the second place spot for owners Pat and Young and trainers Greg and Chris Pate.

In the 17 participant Two-Year-Old Amateur division Lane Hagood stepped up to claim the trophy for a great year with A Magic Trick for trainer Chris Zahnd. H.E. Barker’s Silver Dollar Intimidator and Aimee Barker were awarded the reserve award for trainer Jamie Lawrence.

Topping the 20 participant Three-Year-Old Amateur division was Pushbutton’s Omen, shown by Don Stewart and Andrea Zahnd, for owner Don Stewart and trainers Jack Way and Chris Zahnd. Wired & Walking and Jeff Bryant took home reserve honors for the Jeff Bryant family and trainers Steve Beam and Steven Brown.

Doyce Lawrence was thrilled when Slam’s Symbol was named the Four-Year-Old Amateur High Point winner against 15 participants. Jamie Lawrence proudly trained Slam’s Symbol. Finishing with second were Busting With A Bang and Tommy Hale for Vickie and Tommy Hale and trainer Jerry Collier.

Silver’s Black Ghost and John Keplinger were called to receive the trophy and ribbon in the Amateur Owned and Trained division for John and Suzanne Keplinger. Rebel’s Dunn Deal and Ralph Fulks claimed the reserve place.

A Powerful Choice and Becky Samford carried away top honors in the 15 participant Amateur Specialty Lady Riders division for trainers Hugh Taylor and Latham Stables. Woodie and Carolyn Spinks’ Market’s Black Shadow, ridden by Roxy Reeves, was reserve for trainers Greg and Chris Pate.

The Benny Gray family’s Mountain’s Neon Lady and Benny Gray captured the trophy and ribbon for first in the Amateur Specialty Gentlemen Riders ranks for trainer David Rogers. Mistress and Bruce MacDonald finished second for Bruce and Robin MacDonald and trainer Jerry Williams of Dick Peebles Stables.

Out of 14 participants the Open Amateur Specialty honors were awarded to Midnight Time Bomb and J.D. Evans for owners J.D. and Ginger Evans and trainer Glen Crowe. Generator’s Cashin’ In and Mike Inman, owned by Mike and Karen Inman, were called to the second place ribbon for trainer Jennifer Dunn.

In the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty division, the Kay and Bruce Dempsey owned Major Magic Horizon and Kay Dempsey claimed the most points for trainers Greg and Chris Pate. Star Candidate and Richard Lambert were second for trainer Glen Crowe.

Clutch’s Pushover and Ray Solley finished on top in the Open Amateur division for trainer Glen Crowe. Pushin’ Midnight and Katherine Britt came in second in the points tally for the George Britt family and trainers Latham Stables.

Master of Pride and Meg Young claimed the top position in the Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty category for the Ricky Young family and trainers Greg and Chris Pate. Proudly receiving reserve was Wire Me Up, shown by J.D. Hayes and Stephanie Elliot, for Ferguson Farms and trainer Jamie Bradshaw.

Winning the Walking Stake division out of 17 participants, Darkest Sunrise and Glen Crowe claimed the Stock’s Sweet Lady perpetual award, donated by Woodie and Carolyn Spinks and presented by Carolyn Spinks. Ray Solley had quite a night with his long list of champions. Reserve went to Generator’s Double Coin and Jamie Bradshaw for Ferguson Farms.

Adding to her night of wins, Suzanne Keplinger was called to receive the Eb’s Bad Friday perpetual award for Overall High Point Horse of the Year in the Pleasure Horse division. Her mount Coin’s Flip Side is owned by Triple K Stables and won this same honor in 2003.

Claiming the Struttin Peacock perpetual award donated by John and Suzanne Keplinger and presented by Suzanne Keplinger for the Overall High Point Horse of the Year in the Performance Division were Dark Storm Warning and Bo Beam. This team won earlier in the evening in the 11 and Under division.

Once again, Steve Clark was named Alabama’s Trainer of the Year. This award is based on point average for the year. The top four trainers had less than third of a point separating them. Chris Pate also repeated his 2002 win as Assistant Trainer of the Year. This is a highly prestigious award that is voted on by the membership. There were nine nominees.

Jamie Waddell collected the points to take home the Juvenile Rider of the Year award, which was based on points average. Twenty-six juvenile riders vied for this honor with the top three having less than half a point separating them.

Robin MacDonald was pleased to accept the award for the Lady Rider of the Year based on points she accumulated in 2003 out of 43 amateur riders. The top two had less than a third of a point separating them. Bruce MacDonald proudly accepted the Gentleman Rider of the Year award out of 37 amateur riders. The top five had less than a third of a point separating them.

The 3rd annual Alabama Walking Horse Ladies Auxiliary Horse Show was voted to be the Best One Night Show of the Year just as it was in 2002. Six shows were nominated. The final award of the evening was the Horseperson of the Year, which was voted on by the membership. E.C. Moody was the winner out of 11 nominees. Moody was given a standing ovation.

The evening was concluded with the reading of a poem written by Robby Thompson, a cancer survivor from Camp Smile-A-Mile (SAM). Thompson returned as a counselor for the camp.

This highlights the WHAA High Points Award Banquet.