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WHTA Awards Banquet - Weaver Wins $13,178


by Stephanie Rose


FRANKLIN, Tenn.--As the year is nearing the end, many walking horse enthusiasts from all over made their way to Franklin, Tenn. to the Marriott Cool Springs for the annual Walking Horse Trainers’ Association’s Banquet on December 1, 2007. Like tradition, this banquet is a conclusion for the weekend after many meetings and the Grand Prize Giveaway for the WHTA. The WHTA honors the great horses of the past season by voting for Horse of the Year awards in 50 different categories. Winnett & Associates counted the ballots for the awards.

            The hotel was decorated beautifully as always with many Christmas trees and decorations for the holiday season. Following the awards and dinner, the crowd was entertained by the band, The Familiar Faces, which had people dancing the night away until the wee hours of the morning. The band was sponsored by World Grand Champion Master Of Jazz, Lee Wall and Mike McGartland.

            The WHTA did a 50/50 drawing this year for the first time. They sold tickets all weekend for $100 each and raised $90,100. At the end of the awards, the announcer pulled out George Greenup’s name and he was given half of the money and the other went to the association.

            Tandy Rice served as master of ceremonies this year, and he kept the crowd laughing all night. Starting out the evening, Rice took a moment to recognize several organizations that play major roles in the walking horse industry.

            The youth awards were presented first. The WHTA Youth High Point Award winner for the 11 and Under Performance went to Emilee Smith. Thomas Derickson received the reserve. Lindsey Landrum won the 17 and Under Park division and second place went to Megan Davis. The 12-17 Performance division winner was Haley Lane. Lindsey Henry received second place.

            Samantha Green earned the Youth Council Member of the Year. She is the outgoing President of the Youth Council this year and she received Member of the Year last year as well. Green also received their first ever Youth Council College Scholarship that they awarded this fall. A new riding suit was presented to her by Marsha’s On The Square. The Walking Horse Youth Council would like to give their thanks to Marsha’s On The Square for their support of the Youth Council and their generous donation of this gift.

            Next the auxiliary awards were presented. The auxiliary is celebrating its 36th year. Callie Stuckey received the Celebration Award for winning the Celebration Auxiliary class aboard Gen’s Burning Rage for the Dan McSwain family. The Hi-Point Members of the Year went to the Auxiliary members who have accumulated the most points by showing in Auxiliary classes throughout the year. Megan Peebles received first and the gold award. Patti Gray was second with the silver award. Joyce Marie Green was third with the bronze award.

            The auxiliary equitation awards were next. The Equitation Youth 11 and Under winner was Kailin Kesselring. Kaitlyn Rippy was reserve. Paige Bennett won the Youth 12-17. Stephanie Smith was second. Maddie Jones received third. Alex Bumpus was the winner of the Equitation Adult honor.


            The Auxiliary’s Rookie of the Year went to Alie Napier. The Mudslide Slim Lifetime Achievement award went to Judy Young, and the Auxiliary Member of the Year went to Rhea Ellen Webb.

            Next, the Riders’ Cup presentations were made by Christy Parsons. In only three years, the Riders’ Cup program has paid out $190,000. Joel Weaver earned the big check once again this year. He got $13,178.77. The presentations were also made to each sponsor of the Riders’ Cup classes. James Corlew Chevrolet did the Two-Year-Old division. Waterfall Farms sponsored the Three-Year-Old. Michael and Ty Hart did the Four-Year-Old and Spud Warr did the Riders’ Cup 15.2 and Under class. Mike and Ricky Young of Young Motors were the Riders’ Cup Walking Horse Stake class sponsors.

            Awards were given to each of the horses who won the Riders’ Cup divisions. Cash Lined owned by Allan and Lorie Ridley won the Two-Year-Old. He was shown by Herbert Derickson a total of 14 times in Riders’ Cup divisions. Diamonds And Dollars won the Three-Year-Old for the Rising Star Ranch. He was shown by Joel Weaver in 14 Riders’ Cup classes this season. Smoke N Cash won the Four-Year-Old. He was shown by Tim Smith for Wayne and Sandra Barnes 19 times this season. The popular winner of the Stake division went to I’m Packin’ A Pistol and Jeff Hatcher for Charlene Gibson. Pistol was shown an amazing 20 times in Riders Cup classes and earned 3,750 points, which was more than any single horse in Riders’ Cup classes.

            The prestigious Trainer Of The Year Award went to the deserving, Charlie Green. The Trainer Of The Year award was voted on by trainers in the industry. This was Green’s first Trainer Of The Year title.  The industry can hardly say enough about Green’s hard work and dedication to this breed over the years.

            The assistant trainer of the year was given to Dan Waddell. Besides assisting Jimmy McConnell in preparing 2007 World Grand Champion Master Of Jazz, Waddell himself stepped into the irons aboard Jacked Up to win the Young Trainers on Stallions World Championship. This is Waddell’s sixth time to receive this award.

            Now on to the Horse Of The Year awards. The Weanling of the year was Bambini, owned by Jack Heffington. Bambini was presented by Carlyle Johnson to the Weanling World Grand Championship and Weanling Filly World Championship, as well as a win at Woodbury and a reserve at Fayetteville in the 2007 season.

            The Yearling of the Year was Pat Head Summitt, owned by Dr. Roger Richards. This hard-working young filly was shown 53 times in 2007 earning 35 blue ribbons including four blues at the 2007 Celebration. Amanda Winters led this remarkable youngster to the Yearling World Grand Championship. Roger Richards and Taylor Morgan also each got a chance to make a Celebration victory pass.

            The Two-Year-Old Amateur Mare or Gelding Horse of the year was Jose’s Dulce, owned by Bob and Linda Ramsbottom. Kathryn Ramsbottom showed Dulce to the Amateur Two-Year-Old Mares or Geldings World Championship Section A, as well as the Trainers’ Show, Lewisburg and Asheville this year under Link Webb’s direction.

            The Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallion Horse of the Year is Naples Ritz, owned by William B. and Sandra Johnson’s Waterfall Farms. Bill rode Naples Ritz to the Amateur Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship in an undefeated year that included two wins at the Celebration and wins at Bethesda and Moore County under the Southern Comfort Training Facility banner.

            The Two-Year-Old Mare Horse of the Year was Jose’s Ritzy Doll, owned by Dr. Ray Caughman and Nancy Cain’s C & C Stables LLC. John Allan Callaway directed the Two-Year-Old Mare Section B World Champion at the 2007 Celebration. Ritzy Doll earned four blues and one reserve in their five show ring appearances in 2007.

            The Two-Year-Old Gelding Horse of the Year was Prodigy, owned by the Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch. Joe Cotten directed Prodigy to the Two-Year-Old Gelding World Championship. The Pollack’s purchased Prodigy from Wink and Nancy Groover prior to the Celebration. The Pollack’s have won two of the three open two-year-old Horse of the Year awards this year.

            The Two-Year-Old Stallion Horse of the Year went to Arm’s Deal For Real, also owned by the Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch. Joel Weaver earned his first personal World Grand Championship aboard Arm’s Deal For Real in the Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship. Weaver also won the Two-Year-Old Stallion division aboard him too.

            The Lite-Shod Specialty Horse of the Year was Drop The Hammer, owned by Connie Waldo and Judy Leek. In addition to an outstanding season, Drop The Hammer claimed an unbelievable nine blue ribbons at the 2007 Celebration. Judy Leek directed for both the Open and Amateur Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod World Grand Championships as well as one more world championship title. Connie Waldo also directed for two Western Plantation Pleasure World Grand Championships as well as three championship titles. Bobby Richards even got his turn to win the Western Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Canter World Championship.

            The Lite-Shod Canter Horse of the Year was Double Java, owned by the Mike Chiappari family’s Shiloh Walkers. Double Java also gave different riders a chance to make a Celebration victory pass including trainer Scott Benham in the Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Canter World Grand Championship, and the Chiappari’s granddaughter Jacqueline Holtschult, won the Youth 12-17 Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Mares and Geldings World Championship.

            The Youth Pony of the year was London Rain, owned by Phyllis Mozeley. Megan Mozeley capped off a terrific season in 2007 with two blues at the Celebration including the Youth Ponies World Grand Championship. Link Webb prepares this world champion team. Mozeley was a novice coming into the 2007 Celebration, and she waked away with three Celebration ribbons on two different horses.

            The Adult Pony of the Year went to Prime Poison. Prime Poison was campaigned this year by Brenda Carlon who captured six blue ribbons including the Adult Pony World Grand Championship under the direction of Allan Callaway Stables. In the fall of this year, the Andrew Waites family purchased Prime Poison for Lilly Waites to campaign in 2008.

            The Novice Horse of the Year was Jazz’s Master, owned by Lisa and Bryce Stasney and shown by Buddy Stasney to his first world championship. Stasney not only claimed his first world championship, he also won the roses in the Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Walking Horses World Grand Championship. This championship team rode under the David Landrum Stables banner.

            The Elite Horse of the Year was John FK’s Pusher, owned by Bruce and Robin MacDonald. The popular team of John FK’s Pusher and Robin MacDonald enjoyed an outstanding 2007 season including wins at Gulf Coast Charity, Columbia Spring Jubilee, Woodbury, Alabama Jubilee Charity, Delta Fall Classic and of course two wins at the Celebration including the Elite Amateur World Grand Championship. This team rides under the Peebles Stables LLC banner.

            The Three-Year-Old Amateur Mare or Gelding Horse of the Year went to José Solitaire, owned by Joe and Janice Fostek. In addition to winning the Amateur Three-Year-Old Mares or Geldings World Championship in Section A, Janice Fostek and José Solitaire claimed victories at the National Trainers Show and the Red Carpet Show of the South under the direction of David Landrum Stables.

            The Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallion Horse of the Year was Palm Beach Ritz, owned by William B. and Sandra Johnson’s Waterfall Farms. Sandra Johnson claimed the Amateur Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship to cap off an undefeated season that included five blue ribbons under the direction of the Southern Comfort Training Facility.

            The Three-Year-Old Mare Horse of the Year was A Victoria Secret, owned by Chester and Lynda Stokes. A Victoria Secret was directed to the Three-Year-Old Mares Section A World Championship by Gary Edwards, in his first return to the show ring in the last fifteen years. The talented mare also won the Two-Year-Old Mare World Championship in 2006 under Larry Edwards direction, but expect to see Gary continue the winning, as he has already added another win this fall at the Midnight Sun Charity Horse Show.

            The Three-Year-Old Gelding Horse of the Year was I’m Louie Armstrong, owned by Joe and Cena Martin. Both Joe and Cena take turns riding this talented youngster to blue ribbons, but it was Joe who claimed the Three-Year-Old Geldings Section B World Championship at the 2007 Celebration.

            The Three-Year-Old Stallion Horse of the Year was Dimaggio, owned by Neal Holland and Bob Kilgore. Dimaggio was directed to the Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship by Billy Young after winning the Three-Year-Old Stallions Section B World Championship. This talented youngster also claimed victories at the Spring Fun Show, Woodbury, and Pulaski this year.

            The Trail Pleasure Horse of the Year was The Lion King, owned by Marty Irby and Kristin Williams. Under the direction of trainer Laurie Toone, The Lion King claimed two blue ribbons and two reserves at the 2007 Celebration. Marty Irby, Miles Irby and Kristin Williams each took a turn in riding this “king” of trail pleasure who won nine blue ribbons this season.

            The Western Lite Shod Plantation Horse of the Year was Drop The Hammer, who we’ve already recognized tonight as the Lite Shod Specialty Horse of the Year. Drop the Hammer is owned by Connie Waldo and Judy Leek, who each claimed World Grand Championships aboard the talented entry. Connie Waldo directed for the Western Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod World Grand Championships in both the Canter and Specialty divisions as well as three world championship titles. Bobby Richards rode to win the Western Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod Canter World Championship. And Judy Leek claimed two world grand championships in the Open and Amateur Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod World Grand Championships as well as one more world championship title.

            The Western Park Pleasure Horse of the Year was Dragonfire, owned by Jim and Cindy Heiting. Trainer Jamey Thompson directed Dragonfire to the Western Park Pleasure World Grand Championship as well as preparing Jim Heiting to win the Amateur Western Park Pleasure Canter World Championship. Dragonfire claimed an impressive 11 blue ribbons out of his 12 2007 show ring appearances.

            The Amateur Fine Harness Horse of the Year belonged to Clutch’s Power Play, owned by Double Springs Farm. Ben Harrell drove Clutch’s Power Play to the Amateur Gentlemen’s Fine Harness World Championship under the direction of trainer Scott Beaty.

            The Professional Fine Harness Horse of the Year went to Good Time Freddie, owned by Jeanne Harrison. Justin Harris drove Good Time Freddie to the Fine Harness Section A World Championship and to blues at Bethesda and the International this season.

            The Ladies Amateur Specialty Horse of the Year was received by A High Dollar Charge, owned by Beverly Sherman. Sherman claimed the Amateur Mares or Geldings World Grand Championship aboard A High Dollar Charge under the direction of Steve Aymett Stables. This team also claimed blues at Mississippi Charity, Money Tree Classic, Dickson  County, Pulaski and Walking For The Children this season.

            The Mens’ Amateur Specialty Horse of the Year award was won by Kid Callahan, owned by Keith Breedlove. Ed Breedlove showcased Kid Callahan to the Elite Amateur Gentlemen Stallions World Championship and the Reserve Elite Amateur World Grand Championship under the direction of trainer Charlie Green.

            The Amateur Specialty Horse of the Year was Greyline, owned by Joey Tidwell. Under the direction of Chad Baucom, Koni Tidwell celebrated two victories at the 2007 Celebration including the Amateur Specialty World Grand Championship. The Tidwell's purchased Greyline from Clay Mills who claimed blue ribbons throughout the spring with the talented stallion.

            The Amateur Canter Horse of the Year went to The Golden Sovereign, owned by Maisie McSwain. Dad Keith McSwain rides The Golden Sovereign under the David Landrum Stables banner, and this season began with a victory at the Gulf Coast Charity, and ended with the Owner Amateur World Grand Championship.

            The Four-Year-Old Amateur Mare or Gelding Horse of the Year was received by Tony Montana, owned by Lisa Baum. Link Webb prepares this talented junior mount who has claimed numerous victories in both open and amateur competition. Lisa rode Tony Montana to the Amateur Four-Year-Old Mares or Geldings Section B World Championship as well as to a victory at the Magnolia Classic and the Southern Championships.

            The Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion Horse of the Year was I’m P. Diddy, owned by the Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch. Sherri Pollack claimed the Amateur Four-Year-Old World Grand Championship aboard I’m P. Diddy under the Rising Star Ranch banner. The duo also claimed victory in Arab, Alabama; at the Money Tree Classic and at Cornersville this season.

            The Four-Year-Old Mare Horse of the Year went to Preakness, owned by Dr. and Mrs. Rafael Rigual. Joe Cotten rode Preakness to the Four-Year-Old Mare World Championship under the David Landrum Stables banner. Preakness has claimed the Two-Year-Old National Futurity title in 2005, the Three-Year-Old Mare World Championship in 2006, and now has returned as the Four-Year-Old Mare World Champion in 2007.

            The Four-Year-Old Gelding Horse of the Year was Dangerous At Midnight, owned by John Alford. Dr. Julie Alford has cheered ringside for each of the five blues won by Dangerous at Midnight this season. Whether it was Jimmy McConnell or Dan Waddell in the irons, Dangerous at Midnight has always finished in the top two throughout 2007. McConnell directed Dangerous at Midnight to the Four-Year-Old Gelding World Championship.

            The Four-Year-Old Stallion Horse of the Year was Jose’s All Pro, owned by Dan and Janice Rowsick. In one of the most exciting classes of Celebration 2007, Bill Bobo and Jose’s All Pro claimed the Four-Year-Old World Grand Championship. After not making the first workout, the fans of the Celebration insisted that the judges stand back and take notice as Bobo and All Pro got bigger and better with every step. That win capped off a terrific season for the team including wins at the Fun Show, Bedford FFA, Money Tree, and Pulaski.

            The Park Pleasure Specialty Horse of the Year competition resulted in a tie between An All Mighty Dollar and Santana’s Coin. An All Mighty Dollar, owned by Pat Cecil, claimed the Park Pleasure World Grand Championship with Patrick Thomas in the irons. Blues this season at Gulf Coast, Bethesda, Woodbury and the Delta Fall Classic have featured Pat Cecil, Patrick Thomas and Lauren Hamilton in the irons. An All Mighty Dollar has also been voted the Park Pleasure Canter Horse of the Year.

Santana’s Coin is owned by Landrum and McNeely. Santana’s Coin claimed an impressive three Celebration titles with three different riders. It was John McNeely who rode to the Amateur Park Pleasure World Grand Championship. Lindsey Landrum did the honors to win the Youth Park Pleasure Mares and Geldings World Championship, and Wallace Brandon made a Celebration victory pass in the Park Pleasure Driving class.

            The Amateur Park Performance Horse of the Year and the Professional Park Performance Horse of the Year was All American Ritz, owned by Cynthia Wright. Cynthia rode All American Ritz to the Amateur Park Performance Mares and Geldings World Championship, not to mention wins at the Trainers Show, Chester County Lions Club, Parker’s Crossroads and Martin, Tennessee. Trainer Howard Hamilton contributed the open wins including the Five Years & Over Park Performance World Championship, Park Performance Reserve World Grand Championship, and six other outstanding season blues.

            Another multiple winner, Coin’s Black Stroke, owned by Reginald Pimentel, was the Amateur Show Pleasure Horse of the Year. and Coin’s Black Stroke tied with Zulu as the Professional Show Pleasure Horse of the Year. Coin’s Black Stroke has been a dream horse for Jean O’Brien. After an outstanding season with both Jean and trainer John Puckett in the irons, Jean O’Brien won her first world grand championship in the Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty World Grand Championship.

            Zulu is owned by Bud Moore and Suzanne Moore. Zulu also earned two Celebration blues this season. Knox Blackburn won the Show Pleasure Stallions World Championship and Suzanne Moore won the Amateur Ladies Show Pleasure World Championship. The team of Suzanne and Zulu also claimed seven other blue ribbons in this outstanding undefeated 2007 season.

            The Juvenile 11 & Under Horse of the Year was JFK Again, owned by Proc and Mona Dean. The team of Jordan Dean and JFK Again enjoyed a terrific 2007 season including wins and reserves every time they entered the show ring.  The season was capped by a win in the Youth 11 & Under Mares and Geldings World Grand Championship. This team is prepared for competition by the Baucom Stables.

            The Juvenile 12-17 Horse of the Year went to The American General, owned by Maisie McSwain. Under the direction of the Allan Callaway Stables, Maisie and The American General claimed the Youth 12-17 Mares and Geldings World Grand Championship as well as the Youth 12-14 World Championship.

            The 15.2 & Under Amateur Mare or Gelding Horse of the Year was The Prime Suspect, owned by Brian and Candra Carroll. Candra and The Prime Suspect are a popular team in the 15.2 and under amateur competition. 2007 has been a terrific season for the duo with wins at the National Trainers Show, Shelbyville Central High Band, Murfreesboro Exchange Club, Lewisburg, and of course, at the Celebration in the Amateur 15.2 & Under Mares and Geldings World Championship. Chad Williams prepares this team for world-class competition.

            The 15.2 & Under Amateur Stallion of the Year was The Phantom Menace, owned by Deerwood Manor. Thom Meek and The Phantom Menace claimed the Amateur 15.2 & Under World Grand Championship as well as the Stallion World Championship and wins at Gulf Coast, Murfreesboro Exchange Club, Lewisburg, East Tennessee Fall Classic, and the Delta Fall Classic under the direction of the Knox Blackburn Stables.

            The 15.2 & Under Mare Horse of the Year, also from Knox Blackburn Stables, was Ritzey Zone, owned by Anthony and Carolyn Joseph. Ritzey Zone and Knox Blackburn were crowned 15.2 & Under Mares World Champions at the 2007 Celebration, and Ritzey Zone made victory passes all season long with both Knox and Carolyn Joseph in the irons.

            The 15.2 & Under Gelding Horse of the Year, again from Knox Blackburn Stables, was He’s Wild Eyed and Wicked, owned by Eva Eddleman. Knox rode He’s Wild Eyed and Wicked to the 15.2 & Under Geldings World Championship at the 2007 Celebration and returned to also win the Mares and Geldings World Grand Championship.

            The 15.2 & Under Stallion Horse of the Year was Santana’s El Nino, owned by Michael and Ann Jones and under the direction of Link Webb Stables. Link navigated an undefeated season in 15.2 and under competition and was crowned the 15.2 & Under Stallion World Champion. The team returned in the final class of the Celebration to finish in fourth in the World Grand Championship. The team has already posted a stake win this fall at the International, so keep your eyes on Santana’s El Nino and Link Webb next year!

            The One Night Horse Show of the Year in 2007 was the Money Tree. Put on by the Walking Horse Trainers Auxiliary, the Money Tree moved its date this year to the July 4th weekend and enjoyed a huge success at the Bedford County Ag Center.

            The Multi-Night Horse Show of the Year, excluding the Trainers Show and the Celebration, in 2007 was the Delta Fall Classic, in Tunica, Mississippi. The 2006 version of the Tunica show was so popular, and plans for the 2007 were so impressive, that the 2007 Delta Fall Classic was voted the best multi-night show of the year before it had even happened!

            The 15.2 & Over Mare Horse of the Year was JFK’s Irish Dream. JFK’s Irish Dream was campaigned this year by Sue Harrington under the direction of Joe Cotten at David Landrum Stables. In addition to many titles won this season by Sue and Irish Dream, Joe directed the talented mare to the 15.2 & Over Mares Five & Over Canter World Championship. Just a few weeks ago, Joey Tidwell purchased JFK’s Irish Dream from the Harringtons for Koni Tidwell to campaign for 2008.

            The 15.2 & Over Gelding Horse of the Year was won by Armed to Show, owned by Maisie McSwain. When Maisie is not showing Armed to Show in youth competition, John Allan Callaway takes the reins for 15.2 & Over gelding competition. This year at the Celebration Callaway claimed the 15.2 & Over Gelding World Championship and returned to a Reserve Mare and Geldings World Grand Championship.

            The 15.2 & Over Stallion Horse of the Year was Master of Jazz, owned by Lee Wall and Mike McGartland, and our Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion. Under the direction of the Formac Stables, Master of Jazz returned from a disappointing finish to 2006 when there was no World Grand Champion stake class at the Celebration, as an early season favorite. One win at the Magnolia Classic convinced McConnell they were ready, and they patiently waited for Celebration 2007. The excitement of this year’s World Grand Championship was palpable throughout the Celebration grounds as everyone eagerly awaited a chance to crown the new World Grand Champion. Master of Jazz and Jimmy McConnell did not disappoint, with a crowd-rousing performance to claim the coveted title. Gracious owners Lee Wall and Mike McGartland have already committed to showcasing our World Grand Champion in many venues, including the International, Asheville, Tunica and the University of Tennessee Homecoming, where the team of McConnell and Master of Jazz brought down the house. Congratulations to our World Grand Champion team and to all of our Horses of the Year!

            The banquet ended by David Pruett, new President of the TWHBEA, being called to the front and the crowd gave a standing ovation. Pruett explained that now all associations had to work together and that he was committed to making sure that happens.

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