By Mitzi Oxford

One of the best parts of the history of the Tennessee Walking Horse is the families who own, show and support the breed. Inevitably in the process, friends are made, and they become “family.” You see them at every horse show. They come to support you and the breed that brings everyone together.

Then there are the multigeneration horse lovers and owners who have been there since the very beginning. Bob Adcock and his family, honored as the YIWH Owners, are the epitome of those who have helped propel the Tennessee Walking Horse industry to where it is today.


The year is 1923. Calvin Coolidge was President. The Walt Disney Company was founded which will provide years of family entertainment, just like today’s walking horse show circuit. That year, it also became legal
for women to wear pants. Thank goodness for all the women in today’s TWH show rings across the country! Unless you’re showing Fine Harness, riding suit pants are pretty much essential.

Something else happened in 1923 which became extremely significant for the walking horse industry, Colonel Allen was born. As a son of Allen F-38, he was on the first registry of Tennessee Walking Horses. Over the next 20 years, he sired 248 foals. One hundred percent of today’s walking horses trace back to Allen F-1 and his sons, including Colonel Allen.

It’s a historical fact that brings great pride to Bob Adcock because his grandfather, Robert Thomas Adcock was Colonel Allen’s owner.

“That history was a big deal and a source of great pride for my family. My grandfather sold the horse to Joel Cheek, founder of the Maxwell House coffee brand. He later bought him back when Colonel Allen was 15 years old.”


Robert’s son, Oreon “Odie” Adcock, didn’t skip a beat or a generation in his own love for horses. Growing up on a farm in Bedford County, the heart of walking horse country, he enjoyed working the land and caring for horses.
After serving in the Navy in World War II, Odie returned to his roots and became a horse trainer.

His first job came when he was hired to work with Winston Wiser, a trainer who won five World Grand Championships at the TWHNC including with Black Angel, Merry Go Boy and Go Boy’s Shadow.

That experience kindled a desire in Odie to branch out on his own. He moved from Tennessee to Ohio, where he met his wife, Carmella. They started a family and raised five boys, Bob, Scott, Rusty, Jody and David.
The Adcock crew later moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

This time the move was for a different reason. From an early age, Odie had a love for auctioneering. His involvement began with the auctioning of horses and rapidly moved to the auctioning of automobiles. For more than 47 years, he was a devoted auctioneer at the Manheim Auto Auction. He was the third person in the state of Pennsylvania to officially receive a license from the state for auctioneering. Through Odie and his extended family, auctioneering has grown within the Adcock family with eight licensed auctioneers who followed in his footsteps.

“The horse and auctioneering paths crossed when we did the Murray Farm, Sale of Champions and the Billy Gray sales. Auctioneering for the walking horse business tied together two loves for our family,” Bob explained.


Bred and raised by Odie and his sons, Ravens Touch Of Class was the family’s first world grand champion. Raven began as Odie’s personal pleasure horse and in 1986, Odie and Ravens Touch Of Class won the Plantation Pleasure World Grand Championship at the TWHNC. It would not be the last ride for the roses for the Adcock family.

“Even before Raven, I remember at five-years-old, my dad put me on a horse in front of him and I grabbed the mane to hold on and off we went. It was a special time and riding walking horses grew into a passion for me just like for my dad. He laid the foundation for all of us kids.”

While Bob continued to ride and show horses, he was also invested in developing his father’s car auction business with his family. In 1982, he became the sole owner of Adcock Brothers and has since built it to be one of the largest wholesale automotive companies in the country. They buy and sell between 500 and 700 cars a week.

Bob, his brothers, his wife of 45 years, Deborah and their daughters, Brandy, Danielle and Ashley have been involved in the family business. The Adcock Brothers company operates out of Manheim, Pennsylvania, and
Nashville, Tennessee. The growth of that business led to building another integral part of the family business, Adcock Transport. It’s one of the fastest growing transportation and logistics companies in the country.

“It’s always been cars and horses for all of us,” Bob said.


“My first Celebration memory was watching Betty Sain win in 1966 on Shaker’s Shocker. The crowd went wild. Here is this petite blonde on a big horse that performed a big lick. It was amazing,” Bob related.

In the years ahead, Bob would have his own amazing moments on winners including Available Cash, Final’s Ebony Edition, Guaranteed Delight, A Rebel Without A Cause, A Cold Hard Truth, Jose Dot Com, Shock N Y’all, Cash’s Blackjack Fantasy and Jose’s Sweet Pepper. In 1991, he won his first world championship on Gold Dancer. In more recent years, Bob has been in the winner’s circle with A King Thing, A Kingpin, Honored In Texas, Born A Maverick, I’m The Boss Lady, Spotlight On Jose and No Doubt I Am.

His daughter, Ashley, started riding at the age of eight-years-old, following in the family tradition. Her first world championship was in the Show Pleasure division with Guaranteed Delight in 2001, the team would go on to capture 30 blue ribbons and a total of three world championship titles.

After over a decade removed from showing, Ashley returned to the ring in 2021 to fill in for Bob who was sick with Covid. She claimed the Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions World Championship title for him aboard A King Thing. Winning is in the family.

“I was so proud of my Ashley. It’s much easier to remember the wins for your children than your own.” Bob said.

In 2023, Bob won the Owner-Amateur Four-Year-Old World Grand Championship at the Celebration on Born A Maverick. It was his first world grand championship spotlight ride.

“I’ve had so many horses I’ve lost count over the years, but I do know I’ve won a world championship every year since 2018, but last year was a big year, one of the best ever.”


No matter the size of the family, the size of their heart, the span of the business success or winning blue ribbons and championship titles, nothing can compete with medical challenges.

In 2018, Bob’s brother, Scott, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. At the time, Bob had not owned any horses for a couple of years. Bob knew the only way to keep his brother and him going through the cancer journey was to show horses. A Kingpin and A King Thing were purchased that spring and so began Bob and Scott’s winning adventures for the next few years. The horses were the best medicine for this duo and through them they made Scott’s final years so enjoyable.

A year after Scott’s passing, Bob’s other brother, David, was diagnosed with biliary cancer. Yet again, the Walking Horse became another bright spot in an otherwise sad situation. 

Although David loved horses, he couldn’t attend shows as often as he would have liked. However, God had David at the right place at the right time in 2023. He, along with three box seats full of other Adcock family members were all ringside at the Celebration to witness Bob’s first world grand championship ride.

“It was one of the most memorable moments for the whole family.”

Like any family, the Adcock’s have experienced the highs and lows that life deals. What has helped them persevere is their love and strong faith.


This year is off to a great start for Bob Adcock and his mounts. At the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association banquet in February 2024, Born A Maverick was named the Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion Horse of the Year. Additionally, he was also voted the Walking Horse Report Readers’ Choice Award in the Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion category. His horses, A Kingpin and Spotlight On Jose, won Reserve Horse of the Year honors in their respective divisions.

All of the Adcock horses are trained by Callaway Stables. The family loves to be a part of such a successful barn, but they say the best part is having a barn family that feels like an extension of their own.

Author Alex Haley once said, “In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our
past and a bridge to our future.”

Bob Adcock and his family are living proof of that sentiment. “Family is everything and that includes our Tennessee Walking Horse family!”