It was that time of year again when many came from all across the country to once again meet at the Cool Spring Marriott to attend the annual Walking Horse Trainers' Association Banquet, held on Saturday, December 1, 2012. Mark Farrar once again was happy to serve as emcee for the night and handle all the announcing duties.

The youth awards were the first honors presented for the evening. Lilly Waites was called to the stage to be presented with the Youth Council Member of the Year honor. The Youth Council Member of the Year is voted on by all members of the youth council. Next up were the WHTA Youth High Point Awards. The winner for the Youth Park division went to Zachary Sapp. Lindsey Landrum received the reserve honor. Taylor Strickler topped the Performance 11 & Under division, while Will Derickson captured second place. The Performance 12-17 division winner was Lilly Waites, with Meghan Davis claiming the reserve award. The Lite-Shod winner was Allison Thorson with Mackenzie Morgan earning the second place honor.

The 2012 Scholarship winners were acknowledge next. The Glenn C. Dowell Jr. family proudly sponsor the scholarships. It was announced that in 2013, the Dowell family would double the scholarship, making it a total of $10,000.

Six more individuals were inducted into the Trainers' Friendship Club this year, bringing their total to 105 inductees. The Friendship Club was established in 1991 to recognize key individuals who have made a major contribution to the walking horse industry. Randall and Sadie Baskin, Dr. John Bennett, Mark Farrar, Jack Moorman, Buddy Stasney and Bruce Vaughn were presented with a plaque to mark their induction into the club.

The auxiliary awards were the next presentations to be made by President Sarah Smith, along with Jada and Julia Paige Callaway. Jill Derickson was presented with the Celebration award for capturing the world championship title aboard Powerstroke’s Evening Star for proud owners Tommy McGee and Pam Ingraham. The High Point Member of the Year honors go to an individual member who has accumulated the most points throughout the year in Auxiliary classes. Heather Beard received the first place and gold award. Susan Coleman was second with the silver award. Dru McCormick was third with the bronze award.

The auxiliary equitation awards followed. Capturing the Equitation 12-14 category, and once again receiving the top honor was Kaitlyn Rippy. Allison Thorson also aged into the next category and earned the Equitation Youth 15-17 award.

The auxiliary Rookie of the Year honor went to Kelly Arrington Mills. Freda Dean graciously accepted the Mudslide Slim Lifetime Achievement Award, while Susan Coleman was honored to be voted as the Auxiliary Member of the Year.

Jeffrey Howard was next to come to the stage to present the Riders' Cup awards to both winning trainers and horses. Since it's inception in 2005, the Riders' Cup program has paid out over $500,000 to dedicated trainers who continue to bring top horses to shows all across the country. At the beginning of 2012 the decision was made by the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Riders’ Cup Committee to implement a pleasure division into the program. Lite-Shod, Park Pleasure and Classic Park Pleasure were added to the 10 previous performance divisions. Show Pleasure, Young Trainers and Park Performance were added to the performance division, bringing the total to a new record with 16 sponsored divisions.

Having finished in 2nd place the last three years, Charlie Green set his sights early and pushed hard through the end of the year to come out on top of the performance division. He showed in an impressive 132 classes at shows in six different states. For his hard work and determination, Charlie was with a check in the amount of $15,856.72.

The pleasure division was also highly competitive to the end. Claiming the first ever Riders’ Cup Pleasure Division Overall honor was Patrick Thomas. He entered the ring a total of 48 times to claim the title. For his efforts and determination Patrick was presented with a check in the amount of $2,233.00.

Next the Riders’ Cup divisional sponsors were brought to the stage for a group presentation where they were presented with a plaque as a token of appreciation, as well as to applaud them for their generous support. Without each and them, this program would not have been possible. Don Diego/Keith & Lorraine Rosbury are in their second year as sponsors of the Two-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division. The Two-Year-Old Stallion division was sponsored by the Andrew Waites family for the third year in a row. A new sponsor in 2012 was the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association. They sponsored the Three-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division. Delta Horse Promotion pledged their sponsorship of the Three-Year-Old Stallion division for the third year in a row. Once again the Molly Walters family sponsored both the Four-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division and the Four-Year-Old Stallion division. They have been a part of the program since 2008.For the second year in a row the Aged Mare & Gelding division was sponsored by Just Horse'n Around Ranch/Bill & Karen Bean. Sponsoring the Open Specialty division for the first year was the Mississippi Charity Horse Show. This partnership allowed the Mississippi Charity to be a triple-point show. Sponsoring both the Show Pleasure and Lite-Shod divisions for the first time was Texas Joe Black/Steve & Kathy Zeis. Also new in 2012, Baskin-Irby Construction also graciously sponsored both the Young Trainers division and the Classic Park Pleasure division. A new division and a new sponsor, the Park Performance division was sponsored by O&W Moody Ltd./Dr. Jack & Wilsene Moody-Kwok. Sponsoring the Park Pleasure category in the pleasure division for the first time was I’m Manhatten/Tamara Hader. For the second year in a row, QE Construction sponsored the 15.2 & Under division, while The Celebration was the sponsor for the Stake division for the third year.

Next, awards were presented to the winners in each Riders' Cup category. Jane’s Silver Lining topped the Two-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division. Herbert Derickson and Jane’s Silver Lining showed 10 times in Riders' Cup classes in 2012. Dangerous Dillinger won the Two-Year-Old Stallion title. He was shown by Scott Beaty in 13 Riders' Cup classes this season. Charmer’s Caretaker won the Three-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division. This gelding and Link Webb showed in Riders' Cup classes this year a total of 12 times. Command On Parole won the Three-Year-Old Stallion division. He was shown in Riders' Cup classes by Winky Groover 12 times this season. Those Fancy Legs topped the Four-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division. Charlie Green and Those Fancy Legs showed 5 times in Riders' Cup classes in 2012. Siege won the Four-Year-Old Stallion title. He was shown in 13 Riders' Cup classes by Scott Beaty. Main Sweetie won the Aged Mare & Gelding division. Philip Trimble showed Main Sweetie in Riders' Cup classes this year a total of 6 times. Jazz Talkin won the Open Specialty division. He was shown in Riders' Cup classes by Edgar Abernathy 7 times. Chillin The Most topped the Show Pleasure division. Link Webb and Chillin The Most showed 9 times in Riders' Cup classes in 2012. The Colonel Reb won the Young Trainers title. He was shown by Edgar Abernathy in 2 Riders' Cup classes this season. Hello Dollar won the Park Performance division. This stallion and Link Webb showed in Riders' Cup classes this year a total of 13 times. Admission Is A Dollar topped the 15.2 & Under division. Charlie Green and Admission Is A Dollar showed 15 times in Riders' Cup classes in 2012. The Thug won the Stake division. He was shown by Dick Peebles in 15 Riders' Cup classes this season. GiGi’s Jamaican Generator topped the Lite-Shod division. Leigh Stuart and GiGi’s Jamaican Generator showed 19 times in Riders' Cup classes in 2012. BB King’s Jazz won the Park Pleasure title. He was shown in 8 Riders' Cup classes by Scott Brock Tillman. Double Shot Of Cash won the Classic Park Pleasure division. Laurie Toone showed Double Shot Of Cash in Riders' Cup classes this year a total of 10 times.

The Trainer of the Year award went to Tim Smith who has previously accepted his award during the last Saturday night of the Celebration. Scott Shepard from Marsha's on the Square presented Smith with a custom riding suit for his Trainer of the Year award. The Assistant Trainer of the Year honor was bestowed upon Clay Sanderson of Philip Trimble Stables.

2012 WHTA Horse of the Year Winners

Two-Year-Old Amateur Mare or Gelding: Conga Line
Reserve: A Creme Brulee

Weanling: I’m King Of The Ring
Reserve (tie): My Diamond Back & Miss Martini

Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallion: I’m Mayhem
Reserve: Willie Twilight

Yearling: Coachin’ And Preachin’
Reserve: Imtimidator's Cover Girl

Two-Year-Old Mare or Gelding: Master Of Jazz Opus
Reserve: Cash Date

Lite-Shod Specialty: (tie) 2x The Magic & Catastophic
Reserve: Absolut Skyy

Two-Year-Old Stallion: Nine Gold
Reserve: The Mystery

Lite-Shod Canter: Catastrophic
Reserve: Justifiable

Youth Pony: Lined Walkin’
Reserve: Roll The Gold

Trail Pleasure: Suiza
Reserve: The Wicked Master

Adult Pony: Prime Poison
Reserve: The Dixie Lineman

Country Pleasure: Wicked Image
Reserve: Designer Champagne

Novice: Jose’s Centerfold
Reserve: A Beeline

Three-Year-Old Amateur Mare or Gelding: Miss Ebony Rose
Reserve: Marino

Elite (50 Yrs. & Over): John FK’s Pusher
Reserve: Lined With Poison

Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallion: Blue’s Master
Reserve: Defending The Title

Western Lite-Shod: Catastrophic
Reserve: Lil' Wayne

Three-Year-Old Mare or Gelding: Miss Ebony Rose
Reserve: Silver Fog

Western Park Pleasure: Armed & Trigger Happy
Reserve: Dragonfire

Three-Year-Old Stallion: I Am Jose’
Reserve: Jose It Ain't So

Fine Harness: Carolina Confederate
Reserve: I'm Chesapeake Bay

Model: Maxximize
Reserve: Trigger Treat

Ladies Amateur Specialty: A Victoria Secret
Reserve: The Royal Dollar

Men’s Amateur Specialty: Kid Callahan
Reserve: Above The Line

Amateur Canter: On The Line
Reserve: The Games We Play

Four-Year-Old Amateur Mare or Gelding: She’s A Shady Sister
Reserve: Dirty Sexy Money

Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion: I’m Pushin’ N Line
Reserve: Prime Country

Amateur Park Pleasure: B.B. King’s Jazz
Reserve: Santana's Coin

Four-Year-Old Mare or Gelding: Powerstroke’s Evening Star
Reserve: Sir Skywatch

Professional Park Pleasure: B.B. King’s Jazz
Reserve: Santana's Coin

Four-Year-Old Stallion: Honors
Reserve: I'm Innocent

Amateur Park Performance: The Concealed Weapon
Reserve: Moonshine Man

Amateur Show Pleasure: Godfather By Ultra Copy
Reserve: Turnbow

Professional Park Performance: Moonshine Man
Reserve: San Juan

Juvenile 11 & Under: The American General
Reserve: Jose's Delightful Pusher

Professional Show Pleasure: Turnbow
Reserve: A Line Dancer

15.2 & Under Amateur Mare or Gelding: She’s Caliente
Reserve: The Royal Dollar

Juvenile 12-17: Cadillac’s Bum
Reserve: Pushin' That Jazz

15.2 & Under Amateur Stallion: I'm P. Diddy
Reserve: Boure

Amateur Specialty: He’s Vida Blue
Reserve: Absolute Proof

Timed Event Adult: (tie) Remembrance’s Starfire, Pride’s Trigger Finger & Skyjacker’s Mountain High

Non-Timed Event Adult: (tie) Pride’s Trigger Finger, Leilani’s Pride & Texan At The Ritz

Trail Obstacle: (tie) Leilani’s Pride, Pride’s Trigger Finger & Skyjacker’s Mountain High

15.2 & Under Mare or Gelding: Admission Is A Dollar
Reserve: Dance All Night

15.2 & Under Stallion: Mr. Heisman
Reserve: A Strong Need For Cash

One-Night Horse Show: Money Tree Classic
Reserve: Woodbury Lions Club

Multi-Night Horse Show: North Carolina Championship
Reserve: Mississippi Charity

15.2 & Over Mare or Gelding: Country And Famous
Reserve: Main Sweetie

15.2 & Over Stallion: Walk Time Charlie
Reserve: I'm Copperfield

To finish the night off, Buddy Stasney came to the podeium to announce the Buddy Stasney/GMC Truck Championship Challenge. Stasney is wanting to encourage growth in the stake class by giving incentives to trainers who show in the stake class. All the entry fees will be paid by GMC, and the winner of the program will be given a one-year lease of a $60,000 dually truck. More information about program will be distributed in upcoming weeks.