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ASAC Convention Offered Action Packed Weekend

by Meg Dickerson
The American Saddlebred Association of the Carolinas held their annual convention Jan. 18-19, 2002, at the University Hilton in Charlotte, N.C. Friday afternoon’s various meetings were reserved for the board members of the Carolina Jackpot, Carolina Futurity, and ASAC. Friday evening Currie Horse Transport sponsored the cocktail hour which included a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres. Eddie Case once again served as the auctioneer for the live auction which drew a big crowd and resulted in a big payoff for ASAC. The signed, framed print of Ted Macklin’s original wood burning of the five gaits of the American Saddlebred was the highest priced item and went to Mr. and Mrs. Bill Lineberry for $2500. By auction’s end more than $15,400 had been raised.

The ASAC youth had a reception on Friday evening which was sponsored by Sandra Murphy. Connie Sessoms provided a karaoke machine and Dena Lopez, one of the convention’s special speakers, was in attendance to talk to the youngsters and sign autographs.

The ASAC amateur trainers club met on Saturday morning to discuss the upcoming season. A meeting was also held to discuss the popular Carolinas Futurity. Both the ASAC youth and the ASAC general membership held an election of officers for 2002 and then both groups came together for a presentation by Dena Lopez of Double D Ranch. Lopez gave training tips on starting a young horse and also answered questions from the floor.

Results of the elections are as follows: Liz Holmes, president; Dan Shirley, vice-president. Betsy Boone remained as secretary and Nancy Boone remained as treasurer. Anita Simpson is the North Carolina corresponding secretary and Barby Thornton is the South Carolina corresponding secretary. Jessica Holmes was elected the 2002 president of the ASAC Youth. Taylor Shiflet is vice-president; Ross Berger is secretary and Blake Tye was elected as historian.

The riding instructors of the Carolinas held a meeting on Saturday afternoon to discuss the Carolinas academy program. New for this year will be the introduction of academy driving showmanship classes in addition to the full slate of academy saddle classes that are currently part of the program.

Certified Public Accountant Rick McDermott gave a presentation on equine tax laws and Glenn Petty and Lewis Eckard discussed USA Equestrian rule changes and how they will affect the Saddlebred industry.

Saturday evening's awards banquet continued the ASAC tradition of attracting a large crowd. Anticipating a special evening, 480 people were seated for the dinner. That number was an increase of 100 people from last year. The awards presented included the ASAC High Point Awards, pleasure division awards, sportsmanship awards and four other year-end awards.

Brenda Pulis took the stage to present the awards and introduced each recipient to the crowd. Cindy Currie received the Barbara Blackwelder Humanitarian Award. "She is generous in her support of ASAC and the shows throughout the Carolinas. She is a new ASAC board member and will really be put to work. She, her husband Tommy, and their Currie Horse Transport show great generosity through their continued donation of the money for the food provided at the annual auction. For her continued service to ASAC we recognize Cindy Currie."

Currie was also named the Martina Roseberry Sportsmanship Amateur Of The Year. "In her many nominations for the amateur of the year honors, the adjectives 'friendly', 'dedicated', 'organized', 'upbeat', and 'perky' were used to describe her. In winning her first performance blue ribbon this past season she brought smiles of delight to all who witnessed her accomplishment. She is out there to have a good time, winning is just icing on the cake. She enjoys the horses, the people, and the sport with contagious enthusiasm. She is there for her fellow riders to either congratulate or console. She truly exemplifies most of all the definition of an amateur; one who shows for the love of the sport."

Jessica Holmes was the recipient of the Margaret Stewart Youth Award. "This young lady is an outstanding junior exhibitor by word and by deed. The young lady for whom this award is named would have been proud to know our recipient and how she truly loved her horses. “

Holmes was also the recipient of the second Martina Roseberry Sportsmanship Award of the night; the Junior Exhibitor of the Year. “’That young lady can really ride’. . . How many times over the past years have I personally stood on the rail and heard that comment made about our juvenile of the year. She has more than one world’s championship to her credit and she is still only a high school sophomore. She has talent, a good attitude, and a genuine love for the horses. She is a much sought after catch rider and gives 100 percent to every ride. Yes, this young lady can really ride!

The Sandra Hall Distinguished Service Award was presented by Brenda Pulis to Ted Foreman. “For his distinguished service not only to ASAC but the American Saddlebred horse and business in every way, this trainer has worked quietly behind the scenes for many years for the betterment of the Saddlebred business as a whole.”

Steve Hanks was the recipient of the Martina Roseberry Sportsmanship Trainer of the Year Award. “Nominations for the MRSA Trainer of the Year all used the words ‘true professional’, ‘gentleman’, and ‘good sport’ to describe the man we recognize tonight. He supports horse shows at all levels, believing strongly in the need to retain our smaller shows, as well as the Carolinas Futurity, the Carolinas Jackpot, ASAC, UPHA, and the American Saddlebred horse. Humble with his wins and gracious in his losses, he is quick to congratulate and compliment others, often going out of his way to do so. Even with the worst of rides, he always has a positive comment for his own riders as they exit the ring.

This trainer’s greatest loves are futurity babies and road horses. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment to date came in August, 2001, having taken a horse that had never been shown, an amateur rider, and in only three years made them into a world’s championship and world’s grand championship team. No doubt his greatest accomplishment is the respect and admiration he has earned from his riders and his peers.”

Also on the list of award recipients was Sandra Murphy. Murphy was awarded the Frank Ogletree award for her support of the ASAC youth. Murphy was unable to attend the dinner and the award was accepted on her behalf by Shiflet Stables’ Claude Shiflet.

After the dinner and awards presentations, all in attendance were invited to stay and dance the night away with music from Billy Scott and the Prophets.

Members of UPHA Chapter 12 held a meeting on Sunday while the rest of the convention attendees prepared to return home after a fun and productive convention.

With record attendance, a very profitable auction, well received special speakers and informative meetings, the 2002 ASAC convention continued its tradition of starting the season in the Carolinas off right.

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