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Alabama Championship Charity Turns 18!

by Leeann Mione

PRICEVILLE, Ala. – The Alabama Charity Championship Horse Show has been a fall tradition for 18 years and once again drew the best and brightest from the southeast region of the country to Celebration Arena in Priceville, Ala., to compete in front of Judge Melinda Moore. Toni Knight-Utoft made the trip to judge the academy session Saturday morning.

The show benefits the Junior League of Morgan County and money raised went to help construct a handicap accessible playground. Manager Charlie Byron once again had a capable, efficient staff on hand to keep things running smoothly including Secretary Janie Hamilton, Master of Ceremonies Mark Farrar, ringmasters Don Baker and Adam Hensley, organist Stacy Beam, photographer Doug Shiflet, videographer Premier Horse Video, farrier Gary Wilson and paddock master Wilburn Williams.

Hospitality at this show is always first rate and began Wednesday with the "Welcome To Alabama" catfish fry. A huge crowd gathered Thursday night for the "Italian Night" buffet and Friday night for "Family Night" after the show. Each morning the show provided sausage biscuits, donuts, coffee and juice to get the morning started off right.

One of the reasons so many barns come to Priceville year after year is the fact that the facility is great and the atmosphere is laid back while still being extremely competitive. In many classes, competition was really tough and whether you were ending your season or preparing for another fall show, winning the blue or tricolor or even getting a ribbon in some cases was quite a reason to celebrate.

The five-gaited division showcased a great group including the six horses that came through the gate for Saturday evening’s finale, the Five-Gaited Championship. Ed Millet and Manhattan Whirlwind, Night Of A Thousand Stars with Jack Magill, CH Colonel Hoss and Clark Clouse, Callaway’s Jack Frost and Lucinda Hartley, Shame On You and Merrill Murray and Thunderstorm Warning with Tammy Devore put on a great show in an effort to be named the grand champion by Judge Melinda Moore.

Night Of A Thousand Stars and Magill came into the championship having already won the blue in the open class for owner Ann Berger and they worked hard trying to make it two for two. When Moore’s card was turned in however, it was Shame On You and Murray selected to take the victory pass for Maguire Hall after a powerful effort. Devore and Thunderstorm Warning exited with the reserve streamers for Martha Pope.

The UPHA Pink Ribbon Ladies Five-Gaited Championship raised money for breast cancer and raised the crowd’s enthusiasm as five hard riding ladies showcased their entries in a great class. Aussie and Alice Nunley were victorious after winning the ladies qualifier earlier in the week under the direction of Ricky Cook. Kristen Bagdasarian rode I’m Fantabulous for owner Beth Ann Rhoads to claim the reserve tricolor.

The amateurs had two really deep classes and a proven group of 12 battled it out in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. Ashley Alden kept the great week for Devore Stables going with her sweep of the division with Ava Gardner. Alden topped the championship and bested 14 other entries to also win the qualifier. Donnie and Lisa Pyburn put Rachel Seifert and Callaway’s Holy Moly in the ring and they claimed the reserve tricolor for Long Hollow Farm.

Riding under the direction of Jack Magill, Karmen Robles teamed Titleist Supreme to the win in the junior exhibitor championship to go with their blue ribbon from the qualifier. Jayne Major and teammate Asked And Answered exited as the junior exhibitor reserve grand champions and rode under the direction of Don Judd and Maria Gilman.

Be There First, a full brother to World’s Champion Busting Out, was indeed first in the Five-Gaited Novice Horse class with Anne Stafford riding for Longvue Farms. The 12-entry class showcased a great group and was one of the gaited division’s biggest classes.

Armon Effinger and his four-year-old Out In Dixie added another blue to their season total when Moore named them the junior horse champions in a seven-entry class.

The UPHA Five-Gaited Classic hosted four entries and Stellar Selection went to the top of the class with Jeff Leech on board for Douglas Mueller. Their win helped lead Winsalot Stables to a great show in Priceville.

Clark Clouse led his group to a big week including his winning ride with Periaptor’s Powerball in the three-year-old class. Clouse rode for owner Rebecca Davis.

Devore Stables added two more wins to their total when Tyler Devore and Our Sonflower swept the five-gaited pony division for owners Hickory Hill Farm. Zoe Brannon and Kate Spade were right there for the reserve grand championship title for Marie Brannon.

The Three-Gaited Championship was the largest open championship of the week and eight elegant walk-trot horses put on a terrific show for the crowd. Ricky Cook and Alice Nunley were the team to beat as Silver Exchange was named the grand champion after a strong effort with Cook in the irons for Nunley. Lemon Shake Up WRF was piloted to the reserve title for Ashlyn Farms by Rob Byers. Patrice Watson O’Brien had a huge week at Alabama Championship Charity with her various mounts and she won the ladies qualifier with Lemon Shake Up earlier in the week.

Surfer Boy, a multi-titled champion in harness, took the victory pass in the open class with Clark Clouse riding for owner Elmo Greer.

Susan Hanna and Handsome Heir were the team to beat in the ladies championship and they turned in a strong effort to add yet another tricolor to the Devore Stables total. Simbara’s Bountiful and Kristen Bagdasarian also turned in a picture perfect effort to be named the reserve grand champions for Kathy Bagdasarian.

David Crockett and Deborah Koning had a very successful week with wins in several divisions including Koning’s winning rides in the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship and amateur qualifier for Crockett Springs. Squash Creek and Vickie Honeycutt, directed by Jeff and Kristy Leech of Winsalot, exited with the reserve tricolor in the amateur championship.

The junior exhibitors did a great job of presenting their three-gaited horses and all five riders rode hard in an effort to claim the blue and tricolor ribbons. Both of those ribbons went back to Premier Stables when Like A Rocket was named the winner with Jackie Schutt up for Barbara Schutt. Lady Latte and owner Lexi Rueff teamed up to claim the reserve grand championship title under the direction of Betsy Webb.

Last Tango In Paris, yet another proven contender in harness, won the Novice Three-Gaited class with owner and trainer Clark Clouse in the irons. Elizabeth "Trip" Stewart’s entry, Make A Selection, topped the junior horse class to add another win to the Winsalot Stables total. Jeff Leech rode for Stewart.

Pedro Martinez presented Callaway’s More Than Money to the blue in the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic for Blythewood Farms and they also teamed up for the win in the three-year-old class.

Lisa Heres-Rosenberger directed CH Simbara’s Audacity and Alexis Landreth to the Three-Gaited Pony Championship and qualifier wins for Dana McKamey Landreth and co-owner Alexis Landreth. The Tim Henderson-trained entry Champagne Blues was the reserve grand champion with Stephanie Fox up for Anthony Fox to close out the division.

The park division was also very competitive with the amateur qualifier hosting 14 entries to be the largest class of the division. In the open championship, Master And Commander took the top prize for owner Barbara Woods. Maria Gilman piloted Woods’s entry to the victory pass in the open qualifier as well. Radiante, owned by Elmo Greer, finished next in line on Moore’s card in the championship class with Clouse riding.

The amateur park championship was not only one of the best classes of the night, it was one of the best classes of the show as Moore called for a two-horse workout between Meadowlark Jubilee and You’ve Got Mail. Morgan King and Patrice Watson O’Brien headed back out to the rail accompanied by cheers and applause from their respective fans. O’Brien and You’ve Got Mail had already won the huge amateur qualifier under the direction of Tommy Benton Jr. When the card was turned in however, there would be a new winner. Meadowlark Jubilee and King were named as the grand champions under the direction of Judd Stables. You’ve Got Mail claimed the reserve streamers.

Ashton Hale turned in two masterful rides with General Spirit to sweep the junior exhibitor park division for James Hale Stables. Hale and General Spirit topped a very competitive group in both classes with nine entries in each junior exhibitor class. Callaway’s King’s Ransom and owner Taylor Young were right there to be named the reserve grand champions from Betsy Webb Stables.

Spooling Up topped the junior horse championship class to add the tricolor to the Clouse Stables total for owner Barbara Gaynor. Clark Clouse rode to the win. Helen Robertson teamed The Dancing Bear to the blue in the junior qualifier for owner Kayce Bell, who also had a great week at the show.

The Gimpel-Rosburg team claimed numerous victories in Alabama including Ruth Gimpel’s winning drives with The Tango Dancer in the Fine Harness Championship and open class for Pixie Dust & Steel. Pedro Martinez went to the winner’s circle again but this time for Creekridge LLC. He drove Willie Bracket to the blue in the Junior Fine Harness class.

She’s Gone, owned by Tricolor Saddlebreds, was the UPHA Fine Harness Classic champion with Clark Clouse presenting the youngster to the blue ribbon drive. They also won the three-year-old class.

Veterans of the road horse division made great appearance after great appearance and winning ribbons went home with several different barns by the end of the show. Scruff and Deborah Koning topped the Road Horse To Bike Championship after also winning the ladies class from Crockett Springs. King Simcoe and Merrill Murray won the open class then returned to be named the reserve grand champions for Ty Thomas and Matilda Ewald.

David Crockett piloted Matt T Tup to the amateur championship and qualifier wins for yet two more blue ribbons to add to their credit. Aragorn and Elizabeth Caldwell added the amateur reserve tricolor to the Sam Brannon Stables total and Gimpel drove Zulu to the blue in the novice horse class for James and Helen Rosburg.

Quill and Holli McDowell have been one of the under saddle division’s most consistent teams and they won the under saddle championship and qualifier and bested four other top teams both times. Git-R-Done and Koning were the under saddle reserve grand champions for Crockett. Ty Thomas was cheered on in the roadster to wagon class with Stylish Stepper to add another win to the Merlin Farm total.

Majestic Oaks was represented in the winner’s circle both times when Heartland Wonderful Miss and Abby Jones won the Roadster Pony Championship and open class for Creekridge LLC. Boogity Boogity was reserve with Megan Todd driving for Ashlyn Farms LLC to give Majestic Oaks the one-two finish in the open championship.

Kayce Bell took the victory pass with Travelin’ Man when Moore named them the amateur grand champions under the direction of Infinity. Bud Light and James Rosburg exited with the reserve streamers under Gimpel’s direction. Patrice Watson O’Brien drove Mr. Lucky Man to the win in the biggest class of the roadster pony division, the amateur qualifier. O’Brien showed from Majestic Oaks for Joseph and Patrice O’Brien and Patrice then turned things over to Trey Watson. He drove Mr. Lucky Man to the junior exhibitor championship tricolor to keep their win streak going. Brett Van Gordon and Turbo Blue were second in the junior exhibitor championship for owner Ann Boyd under the Infinity Stables banner.

Boogity Boogity and Megan Todd took the blue in the AHHS Roadster Pony Youth Medallion class and Maureen Lydon drove Nashville Cat to the UPHA Roadster Pony Classic title for owner Tim Buerkley to add two more blues to the Majestic Oaks total. Long Hollow Farm LLC claimed the final blue ribbon in the roadster pony division with Edgar’s winning effort in the roadster pony under saddle class.

The Hackney, harness and pleasure driving numbers were disappointingly light compared to the numbers for the roadster ponies, but quality of the ponies who did make the trip to Priceville was fantastic.

Kathryn Nichols took the winning drive with Dun-Haven Phenomenal to win the Harness Pony Championship under the direction of Maureen Lydon and Rich Campbell. The win was their second one of the week as they had already been named the winners of the amateur class for Carl and Kathryn Nichols. Sharon Chrisman was met by her husband, Gab Chrisman, after Cascade won the open class for C & C Stables. Stephany Monteleone presented Regal’s Norma Jean LF to the blue in the UPHA Harness Pony Classic under the direction of Abel Vega of John Shea Stables.

Black Merlin and Koning were twice victorious for Crockett when they headed to center ring for the presentation of the Hackney Pony Championship tricolor after having won the open class. Vega drove Limited Edition to the reserve grand championship for Mary Gaylord McClean and Golden Creek Farm.

Monteleone piloted Romeo’s Exclamation Mark LF to the tricolor and title in the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Championship under Vega’s direction. They were followed in the ribbons in the championship by open champions Vindicator’s Streaker and owner Pamela Robertson. Tim Henderson directed the reserve grand champions and open champions. Bent Tree Farm claimed the blue when Megan Todd drove Aragorn to the win in the AHHS Pleasure Driving Youth Medallion class under Lydon and Campbell’s direction. Helen Rosburg and Heartland Stepaside took the blue in the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Classic to add another win to her total.

The big numbers in the pleasure divisions kept the momentum going and just like in the three- and five-gaited and park divisions, just getting a ribbon was often quite an accomplishment let alone taking the blue or tricolor.

Jewelfire moved up in the ribbons and topped the competitive 10-entry Adult Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship to add another tricolor to the Devore Stables total. Barbara Jozwiak rode for Stan Jozwiak to claim the victory. Jacque Nance and Under Oath were the reserve grand champions in the great class directed by James Nichols. They had already teamed up to take the blue with a powerful effort in the even bigger 12-entry adult qualifier.

One of the show’s most poignant moments came when newly crowned World’s Champion of Champions CH Believe Her was named the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Pleasure Grand Champion in what was her final show ring appearance. Mallory Greaves had the winning ride and trainer Tammy Devore headed yet again to center ring for the presentation. It was the second win of the week for Greaves and Believe Her as they had already won the junior exhibitor class. CH Inphallible and owner Lori Jordan were met by Chuck Herbert and Lisa Uhde when they exited as the junior exhibitor reserve grand champions with a great team effort.

Patty Milligan directed Apt To Dream and Michael Buchanan to the winning effort in the eight-entry Park Pleasure Championship and in fact, it was a battle between two Milligan Stables-trained entries for the top two spots. Fox Grape’s Forever Yours, winner of the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic, ended the week as the open reserve grand champion. Jenn Holdren rode to the win and reserve for Fox Grape Farms Inc.

Infinity Stables was also well represented in the division when assistant trainer Wendy Sogoloff rode High Point Memories to the blue in the open class for Willow Wind Saddlebreds and Lori Boyd Van Gordon rode Reedann’s Designed For Victory to the blue in the junior/novice horse class for Ann Boyd.

The aptly named Outright was the outright winner of the Park Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier class with Chris Schubert driving for Pam Long and Chris Schubert under the direction of Blythewood. Callaway’s Tobar exited with the reserve tricolor with James Rosburg presenting.

CH Sweet Virginia and Barbara Woods have been champions time after time in their career under the direction of Judd Stables and they did it again when Moore named them the Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure Grand Champions and qualifier winners. The huge adult championship and even larger 21-entry adult qualifier were incredibly deep and competitive and the list of ribbon winners in both classes read like a show pleasure "Who’s Who". Crystal Sanders rode her entry War Faire to be named the adult reserve grand champions under the direction of James Nichols to add yet another top ribbon to the Penny Lane Farm total.

The junior exhibitors were split by age group and 10 young riders competed in their 14-17 championship. Lookin’ Yonder and Allison Harpole were the team to beat and they finished with the title and tricolor under the direction of Nichols to add to their stellar week in the pleasure division. Ed and Lisa Millet put the reserve grand championship team of Our Sweet Genevieve and Jane Feist in the ring for owner Lori Feist. Their appearance in the championship followed up their impressive win in the qualifier.

Trey Watson kept the wins coming for Ashlyn Farms LLC when That’s Exactly Right topped the seven-entry Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Pleasure 13 & Under Championship and eight-entry qualifier under the direction of Rob and Sarah Byers of Premier. Just Stylish took home the reserve grand championship award for owner Anthony Fox after Melissa Henderson rode from Tim Henderson Stables. CH Heirilee and Skylar Rueff teamed up to win the Walk & Trot Pleasure 13 & Under class and was met in the winner’s circle by Betsy Webb.

Deborah Richardson had a great week with her various entries including her sweep of the amateur owned and trained pleasure division. She rode Tornaado’s Storm Warnings to the championship and qualifier victories for Richardson Stables. Casindra’s Image and owner Ron Hendricks were the reserve grand champions from Eatonwood Stables.

Margaret Fruchnicht teamed Guess When to the blue in the Alabama owned class and topped five other hard working entries in the process. Joyce Webster directed the winning team.

Buffy Bluegrass and Alexis Mink won the Pleasure Pony 58" & Under Championship and qualifier for Wayne Ridge Farm.

Alice Nunley wasn’t done winning yet at the Alabama Charity Championship. She teamed Periaptus Infinitus to the blue in the eight-entry Show Pleasure Driving class then returned to win the six-entry championship for owners Charlotte Goodman and Lisa McMackin of Glen Rose Stables. CH Callaway’s Head Over Heels and Nancy Lassiter turned in a strong team effort under the direction of Patty Milligan to claim the reserve tricolor streamers.

Wild Fire Jewels and Elena Meeks won the six-entry Open English Pleasure class for owner Suzanne Meeks to close out the show and English pleasure divisions.

The Adult Country Pleasure Championship hosted nine entries after a 10-entry qualifier. Karen Britton had the winning ride in the championship and she teamed Heir No Evil in a big move up in the ribbons to finish with the tricolor under the direction of Todd and Alison Walker at Spring Hill Stables. Harlem’s Wind and Laura Strong put together a great team effort to finish as the reserve grand champions, showing from Betsy Webb Stables. Charlotte Kurtz put Upton Sinclair in the winner’s circle for Scarlett Mattson in the qualifier and they were met in center ring by trainer Chad Cole of Signature Stables.

The junior exhibitor riders in the country pleasure division, however, had huge numbers to contend with and they worked hard to jockey for the best position to showcase their entries for Melinda Moore. Trey Watson was on top yet again when Moore selected Worthy’s Valedictorian as the best of the 17 entries in the championship class. Trainer Tommy Benton Jr. of Maranantha Stables directed the winning team. Showing from Diamond View, Lucky Curve and Emily Rhoads finished their week as the reserve grand champions under the direction of Kristen Bagdasarian.

Moonstruck In Kentucky and Olivia Strano won the even bigger 18-entry junior exhibitor qualifier for Ralph and Olivia Strano and they showed under the direction of Sam Brannon for the impressive victory.

CH Prophet’s Fire Hazard and Deborah Richardson went two for two with their sweep of the amateur owned and trained championship and qualifier to continue Richardson Stables’s great week. High Blue Sky and Barbara Grannon were next in line for a ribbon in the championship and they finished as the reserve grand champions from Maranantha Stables.

Harlem’s Worldly Lady and Helen Rosburg were unstoppable in their campaign and they moved up in the ribbons to take the title of Country Pleasure Driving Grand Champions in a field of six. Callaway’s Show Me State and Vicki Gillenwater exited with the reserve tricolor for Scenic View Farm and Highpoint’s Prince won the six-entry qualifier with Megan Todd handling the drive. She drove for owners Charlotte Goodman and Lisa McMackin.

Lion King and Deborah Richardson took the tricolor and the blue as winners of the Western Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier for Richardson Stables and continue their successful week.

Four young ladies came through the gate for the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship and were in top form for their rail work. Moore asked all four to drop their irons on the rail rather than calling for a formal workout and when she turned in her card, it was 14-17 age group winner Kelsey Olson who was named the grand champion. She rode Worthy Am I, owned by Olivia Weber, under the direction of Premier Stables. Christine Thomas and her mount Magic Mahogany claimed second place. Their reserve grand championship followed wins in the Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion and the 17 & Under Pleasure Equitation class. Don Judd and Maria Gilman instructed Thomas to her very successful week.

Leslie Mechling rode Casey O’Grady to the UPHA 17 & Under Challenge Cup win. Janet Crampton met Mechling in center ring for the presentation of the winning ribbons. Riding Page Six, Katy Babin headed down victory lane as the 13 and under equitation winner under Tommy Benton Jr.’s direction.

The walk and trot riders did a great job showcasing their skills in their UPHA 10 & Under Walk & Trot Challenge Cup and their Walk & Trot Equitation Championship. Holly Hein was on fire and she swept the division with both wins riding Haunting from Cardinal Farms. Skylar Rueff was right there to take the reserve grand championship title in the Walk & Trot Equitation Championship. She rode CH Heirilee and was instructed by Betsy Webb.

The lead line class is always a crowd favorite as the young riders of tomorrow get a taste of showing in front of a crowd and the crowd at the Racking Horse Celebration grounds definitely cheered on all nine riders. Parker Puckett, Ashleigh Donovan, Sydnee Stacy, Sims Harden, Cole Shelton, Jenna Vandiver, Lili Shope, Nick Schubert and Christopher Wamble all were awarded blue ribbons.

The Alabama Futurity classes brought beautiful babies to center ring including the winner of the Two-Year-Old Snaffle Bit class, Show Me The Magic. Ronnie Payne showed to the win for Nancy Stewart. Kaelyn Donnelly presented CH Highpoint’s Coming Attraction to the blue in the Saddlebred In-Hand class which showcased three entries.

Juliette’s Chase Manhattan and Juliette’s Fort Wingate put blue ribbons in owner Karen Bowdre’s column. Jeff Leech presented Chase Manhattan to win the Yearling Futurity class and Bowdre showed Fort Wingate to win the amateur yearling futurity class. Mountjoy’s Night Music won the Yearling In-Hand class with Alison Walker showing for Sheila Walthers.

Winsalot Stables added another blue to their total in the Alabama Futurity Weanling In-Hand class. Vickie Honeycutt’s Calvero won the class with Jeff Leech presenting. He also showed Calvero to win the weanling in-hand class. Jennifer White presented Heiragon’s Magic to win the amateur weanling futurity class for Nancy Stewart and give her another blue ribbon in the division.

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