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Best Of Show - Thursday Night At Midwest Charity

by Bob Funkhouser

Where do we start? Year in and year out the Midwest Charity Horse Show ranks among the top four Saddlebred/Hackney pony shows in the country. There are many classes and in some instances, sessions that are right up there with the Big Three:
Lexington, Louisville and Kansas City. This year it was Thursday evening’s session filled with young horse classes that made trainers, exhibitors and spectators alike go “wow!”

“It may be Louisville before we see another night of showing like we just had,” said DeLovely trainer Todd Miles, following Thursday night’s star-studded classes.

Miles’ sentiment was echoed throughout the famed Springfield, Ill., fairgrounds, which is a most comfortable “equine village.” That trainer-friendly setting, superior hospitality, centralized location and a great ring in which to showcase the nation’s finest horses and ponies have put this show on the map for many, many years and over the past six or seven, it has been perfected into a multi-titled UPHA National Horse Show Of The Year which also includes Morgans and Arabians.

Consistency has been a huge factor in the success of this grand show; that and an ever-improving fairgrounds. Show Chairman Emeritus Paul Briney was at the helm for many years and surrounded by an equally dedicated board that poured their hearts and souls into this event, which has had as its most recent beneficiary  COCO Children’s Cancer Fund. Their primary project is a one-week summer camp for children with cancer and blood diseases.

While remaining a director, Briney has handed the reins to longtime Director Judy Kjellander who now serves as president and show manager. It has been a smooth passing of the torch as all of the directors, officers and other volunteers operate as a professional, well-oiled machine. It has been and continues to be a horse show run by knowledgeable horse people. The leaders are longtime exhibitors and/or parents of exhibitors from the above-mentioned breeds.

Kjellander and the rest of the crew also have strong ties to the local community and called upon the Springfield businesses and citizens to support the show in many ways. Local politicians and community leaders joined show officials to kick off the 65th annual event with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday.

Many of these directors and their families are most visible during the nightly after show parties. A thing of beauty, these parties are held down the street from the coliseum in a barn across from the famed shoeing shop, which is a great gathering place itself. Now the Party Barn is no ordinary barn. Bunting is hung like decorating the finest barn at Louisville and chandeliers line the aisleway’s ceiling. Each night is a different menu with excellent food prepared by the veteran volunteer staff.

“We’ve never seen anything like it. What a fun thing for a horse show to do,” said Merrimac Dillon, mother of Calee Dillon who shows from the Jack Magill Stables.

Night after night exhibitors lined up in the street to see what feast awaited them inside the party barn. Live music was also a part of the post show celebrations. This remains perhaps one of the most unique nightly gatherings of exhibitors at any show in the country.

“I thought it was a fabulous show. The competition was exhilarating,” said Kjellander. “The fairgrounds were in terrific shape, the temperatures were mild for the most part and from my perspective, it was very smooth.

“There was so much to be happy about from the attendance to a record number of vendors to the St. Andrews Pipe Corps playing to start the show on Tuesday night. They set the tone for a really fun week.”

The 65th annual Midwest Charity Horse Show was again worthy of national honors. Except for Saturday night, which for some reason fell a little flat, it was session after session of large, competitive classes with more than 700 horses competing. Many of the nation’s best amateur and junior exhibitor campaigners were on hand and this year the young horses were exceptional. Kjellander has personally crusaded to make it a better Morgan show and those efforts have paid off over the past few years, especially in quality.

Last year Midwest started a new tradition of naming a horse or pony as “Best Of Show.” The judging panel voted among themselves on the horse or pony that made the best all around show. Five hundred dollars in cash and a beautiful trophy went with the prestigious honor. It came as no surprise that the Best Of Show winner came from a Best Of Show night. Young horse class after young horse class had a large audience cheering from start to finish.

“That’s what I like to see is people in the seats,” said show committee member Jeff McClean referring to the enthusiastic Thursday night crowd. “We’re missing that at a lot of these shows.”

That evening’s audience went home with memories of some great classes. You could feel the intensity turn up among the trainers. They knew this was a strong testing ground to see where their young horses rated. Lexington and Louisville are just around the corner.

The best of the best on Thursday evening came from the Junior Three-Gaited Stake, which was filled with top entries. It also had an underlying story that made it even better. Surfacing to the top were two trainers that are friends, but extremely competitive. One was riding last year’s Best Of Show winner and winner of the 2005 Dabora/UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic Grand Championship at the American Royal. The other was riding the much-heralded 2004 Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Champion and 2005 Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Champion. Both trainers hit the ring like they were riding on green shavings.

As the class emerged, one of those two separated themselves from the other and the rest of the contenders. In the eyes of the all three judges as well as the majority of the crowd, New York’s Perfect Gift was the Junior Three-Gaited Champion with John Conatser in the irons for Betsy Thomas. The extremely athletic son of I’m A New Yorker gave many, including this writer, goose bumps with pass after pass of amazing talent! On this night he was again the complete package of walk-trot excellence. At the week’s end New York’s Perfect Gift was honored as Best Of Show.

“He’s one of those once in a lifetime horses,” said trainer John Conatser. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few great horses and he’s one of them. There’s something about him that everybody enjoys watching. He’s got charisma, tremendous ability and gameness.

“For me Midwest is the show prior to Louisville that gets my attention,” Conatser added. “I know I’m going to run into intense competition so my preparation is more intense. This show sets me up for the rest of the year. The facilities are unmatched and that’s what draws this caliber of horse to the show.”

Can You Hear Me Now and Todd Miles had to settle for reserve honors and there was no shame in that considering the depth of the class. The Steven Chancellor family owns the reserve champion who has a head carriage and expression second to none. Also right in the mix was third place finisher Rhythm Of The Son, ridden by Jim Lowry for Priscilla Marconi.

Lowry was also heavily involved in a couple of other exciting young horse classes that night. In addition to winning the Morgan UPHA Park Harness Classic he brought down the house with Catalyst’s Work Of Art in the UPHA Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic. Talk about the gifted daughter of Catalyst who had been a reserve world’s champion in harness with Phil Price last year, has been going around since she debuted under saddle at UPHA Chapter 5 with new trainer Jim Lowry and new owner Priscilla Marconi.
She made believers out of everyone with her unanimous performance as the Midwest Charity UPHA Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic Champion. Both ways of the ring she was a powerhouse. The rest of the group didn’t just give the class to Lowry and Catalyst’s Work Of Art, however. From Silver Brook Stables, Tracy James and Most Definitely Diamonds turned a few heads as well as the reserve champions. They were followed by, among others, third place finisher Tom Scott aboard Robert Ratte’s New York Surprise.

“It was great. I couldn’t be more pleased,” exclaimed Lowry who has long been known for his world class Morgan stars. “I love this show. Saddle Horse-wise you better come loaded and the Morgan classes have gotten much better so you better have a good one there also.

“It’s easy to sit around the barn all winter and think you have nice horses. It’s good to get here and see where you fit in at this level. Fortunately it seemed like they [his string] did. The Saddlebreds have been a breath of fresh air to Fay and me. They have made my Morgans better because I’ve been lucky enough that this group has worked out and that has made me push everything harder. I’m asking for more from all of them.”

To open that memorable Thursday evening session, Lowry was reserve in one of the best Two-Year-Old Fine Harness classes outside of Louisville to be seen in a while. He was driving a gifted Harlem Town son name Major Buck. They would have won easily at nearly any other horse show, except on this night they were going up against an exceptional individual who was bred by an exceptional lady. One of the last gifts Katherine Sinclair left the American Saddlebred industry was a foal named Glenview’s Excelalante! Sired by the top, young stallion Designed out of Tra La La (Radiant Sultan x La La Success), Glenview’s Excelalante! showed maturity and exceptional ability. With each pass Bob Brison made with the deep bay colt it got better and better.

They were the unanimous champions, followed by Lowry and Major Buck. Coming off the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness win at Madison Classic, Scott Matton and Princess Alison were third for Jennie Bailey. Dr. Alan Raun, Carter Cox and Mike Roberts also had ribbon winners.

“I am so pleased to have had one like this,” said Judy Werner who sold the promising star the week before to Martha Schriver and Ed Elliott with Chuck Herbert as their trainer/agent.

Right up there among the excellent Thursday night young horse classes was the session-ending Junior Five-Gaited Stake. Last year Linkin Park excited the crowd as the UPHA Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic Champion with his trainer Tom Scott riding. That’s when DeLovely customer Deborah Butler decided to buy him. Linkin Park came back this year with trainer Todd Miles and looked like a champ from start to finish. The beautifully fronted gelding made the victory pass for Miles and Butler. Pushing every step of the way, Bob Brison guided hard driving Unsolved Mystery to reserve for fellow DeLovely customer Theresa Vonderschmitt. It was a class filled with talent as Tom Scott and Just James were third, just ahead of Neva Van Ess and Keep Me Posted. Melissa Moore and Larry Hodge were also in the ribbons.

The Junior Park Horse Stake also added to the cause. A former reserve world’s champion in harness, His Supreme Reflection wears the curb bit like a star as well. With Andy Freseth aboard for Marilyn Gaiswinkler, His Supreme Reflection remained undefeated in junior park competition. Robert Gardiner was aboard a tasty homebred number named Miss Majesticness to garner reserve honors.

Conatser was two for two on Thursday night as he also won the UPHA Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Classic with The Rock Star. The bay entry of Locksley Hall LLC was popping off both ends to take the largest cut of the added prize money. From Reedannland, Louie Louw rode Reedann’s Phorget Me Not to the second place money.

Young ponies were also part of the Best Of Show Night as Darrel Kolkman drove Heartland Most Wanted to the winner’s circle in the UPHA Harness Pony Classic. Mary Gaylord McClean and Kilbro’s Senorita stepped up with a strong showing to command reserve honors.

While not a part of the Thursday evening prime time session there were some other young stars. Vicky Clark rode the homebred Alfa Bravo to win the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class. Reedannland locked up the other divisions as Reedann’s Private Dancer won both the UPHA Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Classic and the open three-year-old class. One of Reedannland’s trainers, Louie Louw, rode Callaway’s Happy Ending to the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited blue.

For the second year in a row, Robert Gardiner came out of Midwest with a black star from the three-year-old walk-trot division. Winner of this year’s UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic, Harlem’s Showman looked ready for prime time. Blessed with presence and ability the EquiElegance Ltd. entry went back to the Landmark Farm tack room with Gardiner and the blue prize.

New, young faces are always exciting because it keeps the spirits high that the industry will be strong for some time to come. While there was plenty of that at Midwest ’06, there were also more than a handful of faithful veterans who have been in the trenches for a while and keep performing at the highest levels.

For that you have to start with the Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Championship and qualifier. Does it get any better than Boo! and CH Callaway’s Forecaster? Then you moved to the amateur division and it was Swish to go along with My Chanel in the ladies division. Carolina Cat represented the best of the 14 who went head to head in the junior exhibitor division. The horses in this paragraph alone represent Hall of Fame status at the highest level.

In the walk-trot division you had household names like Marching Orders, Ostentatiously and CH Blackberry Delight to go with upcoming stars like High Heat and Freakness. None of the amateur park challengers could topple multi-titled World’s Champion of Champions CH A Step Of Time. Same thing for amateur fine harness and the sensational CH Kalarama’s New Sensation. Amateur ponies included the likes of world’s grand champions and world champions, among them Shake Don’t Stir, Calvin Hobbs, Heartland Sundust, Heartland Painted Creation, Man On The Town and Heartland Elise.

In the pleasure ranks it was another group of stars that have had experience wearing blankets of flowers in Freedom Hall. CH Callaway’s Pretty Penny, CH Heir’s Town, CH Ninety-Eight Degrees and Titleist Symbol all came away with tricolors. They also all happen to be trained by Andy and Lynda Freseth at Hollow Haven Farm.

It was tough to be an amateur or junior exhibitor rider. One that did have an extreme amount of success was DeLovely’s Ellen Medley Wright. The personable young lady from Owensboro, Ky., won six classes with three different horses and what campaigners they were. Her string of winners included Juvenile Five-Gaited Pleasure Grand Champion and qualifying winner CH Callaway’s Capitol Reporter; Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion and UPHA Challenge Cup 13 and Under Champion CH Timeless Drifter; and Juvenile Show Pleasure 13 and Under Grand Champion and qualifying winner CH Lies And Alibis.

From the professional side, John Conatser had another great year at Midwest. In addition to his grand young horses and amateur stars, Conatser won two of the three open stakes. In My Heart was the Three-Gaited Grand Champion for new owner Locksley Hall LLC and Coco Loco kept his undefeated status in tact for owners Fritz and Candace Meili. Melissa Moore captured the last of the big three open championships giving Intoxicating Conversation the best ride of her life. Glenmore Farm trainer Tom Bombolis also entertained the Midwest audience with two strong performances from current Three-Gaited Park Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion First Class Heir.

They didn’t win the championship but one other open combination that was worthy of mention was that of Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding Champions Grand Revival and Desiree Devries. A longtime assistant to Rick Wallen, Devries works this horse on her own before going to work at Wallen’s in the morning. Her former teacher, the New England legend Marilyn Childs, flew to Midwest to watch her show and was she ever pleased. In Wednesday night’s stallion/gelding stake, Devries and the white-legged gelding took command of the ring like they owned it. In two steps this gelding was at full speed and I do mean speed, without ever sacrificing form. That qualifying performance was worthy of Best Of Show consideration.

The Morgans did not have the numbers of their Saddlebred cousins, however, they did give the Saddlebred and general spectators a good taste of their world class abilities. With barns like Indian Creek, Lowry Stables, Merriehill Farm, Peeper Ranch and Diane Conrady Stables on hand there were plenty of Oklahoma stars just beginning to warm up. Names like WSG Circumstan’l Evidence, Dragonsmeade Virtuoso, Futurity Miss Munitions, Ultra’s Dark Shadows, TE Ammunition, Spice O Life Present Tense and Plum Haven Minuet filled the winner’s circle throughout the course of the show.

Also a minority in numbers, the Midwest Hackney pony division was well-represented by their loyal trainers and exhibitors. Certainly not filled to capacity, for the most part the pony classes were stronger than the one and two entries found at the majority of shows across the country. Twin Willow’s Wild Thing threw his hat into the arena for open honors in August with two top of the line performances. Nabucco reminded everyone why he is the current World’s Grand Champion and National Champion. You also had World’s Grand Champion Heartland Production representing the best of the open road pony competition.

Morgans, Hackneys, Saddlebreds, equitation…if you weren’t entertained with the quality and depth found in those divisions then you either didn’t have a pulse or hated horses. Even the most bored horse show father had to get interested with Midwest’s roadster horse division. It has long been the stomping grounds of some of the division’s greatest legends including Lloyd Teater, Max Parkinson, Rex Parkinson and Pres Oder.

For quite a while now, master road horseman Raymond Shively has also made Midwest a must stop for his string. His World’s Grand Champion Big Red sent the shavings flying in the turns of the open competition for the second consecutive year; Deborah Butler’s Dirt Devil repeated as amateur grand champion; and the fearless and unique Judy McNeish again powered Invincible Summer to the wagon titles giving the division a flavor like it’s never seen.

This unique collection of equine talent was but another feather in the cap of the Midwest Charity team. And like most successful ventures it does take a team of talented individuals coming together for a common goal. In this case it has been to produce one of the best horse shows in the country.

It also takes a good team working the show ring. Jackie Wold and Dave Morris have long teamed up to get the entries in and out of the ring as the gate manager and barn announcer respectively. Rick Medd and Marty Watts were close by to replace the few thrown shoes of the week. Inside the ring, Peter Fenton was the voice of the Midwest Charity, while ringmasters Bill Whitley and Don Baker served judges Ellen Beard, Nancy Becker and Jimmy Robertson (ASB, Roadster, Equitation) and Bonnie Sogoloff (Morgans). Robertson judged the pony division by himself.

Brothers Doug and Shane Shiflet teamed up to give the exhibitors the ultimate in photographic service; championship shots from inside and outside of the ring. The different angles made for a great selection of Midwest memories.

Keeping the tabulations and paper work in order, Samantha Blome input the cards from center ring, while Cheryl Rangel ran the show office with Eileen Wayte. Also on hand for the week, Josie Forbes served as USEF Steward and Kelly Hulse and Nancy Brannon each split time learner judging.

It was with a bit of sadness that the Midwest officials put another top show into the books. They had to do this one without two longtime family members, the recently deceased Al Strano and Janice Drendel Buecker. Their dedication to the well-being of the Midwest Charity was legendary and set an example for others to follow.

The excitement, the competition, the camaraderie, Midwest ’06 was in honor of two grand individuals.


Nice horses showing at the Midwest Charity Horse Show is no secret. For decades they’ve been a part of this exhibitor friendly show. Household names and upcoming world’s champions seem to be even more abundant over the past five or six years.

That abundance of powerhouses was never more evident than in the gaited division. Wow, from the young horse classes all the way to class 194, the Five-Gaited Grand Championship, there were rackin’, trottin’ machines.

The two performances turned in by Intoxicating Conversation were probably two of the best ever for the CH Talk Of The Town daughter owned by Adler Farms and shown by Melissa Moore. Out of Bourbon N Coke, the dam of World’s Champion One For The Road and World’s Champion CH Jean Margaret, Intoxicating Conversation ate up the famed coliseum ring to take both the Five-Gaited Mare Stake and the grand championship. Her performance in the six-horse championship was a unanimous decision.

Undulata’s Georgie Girl and Debbie Foley were presented the reserve grand championship on Saturday night, followed by the horse that brought down the house on Wednesday night in the Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding Stake, Grand Revival. Owned and shown by Desiree DeVries, the white-legged gelding was nothing short of spectacular to win the stallion/gelding stake.

For the second consecutive year, My Chanel and Dr. Owen Weaver ruled the ring as the Ladies Five-Gaited Grand Champions. Directed by Patty Milligan and Lonnie Quarles, the championship team was also called out first in the ladies qualifier. Both times Melissa Moore and Zara Spook provided the reserve competition.

You love those early season showdowns and the intensity level raised both times the amateur ladies contenders got together. A long list of world and reserve world titles accompanied the top three finishers in the division. The striking black mare Boo! set sail with her endless expression and both times her performance was deemed championship status by the three-judge panel. Her familiar partner, Barbara Goodman Manilow, took the winning ribbons back to the Richard Obenauf Stables.

He will remain popular among spectators for as long as he shows because the effort given by CH Callaway’s Forecaster is like few others. Nancy Leigh Fisher and Forecaster pressed the issue every step of the way with two reserve ties. Also mixing it up and proving they belong in the best of company, Callaway’s Lil Abner and Deborah Butler were within striking distance in third.

Some combinations just naturally go together. It would be hard to imagine Swish without Carol Hillenbrand. Under the Carriage Lane banner these two were again in sync with every pass at every gait. The Amateur Five-Gaited Championship and qualifier just added to the long list of top shelf accomplishments by this team. The leg-waving Red Flame Thrower worked hard and was rewarded with the reserve grand championship. Owner Theresa Vonderschmitt also rode him to a reserve finish in the amateur qualifier.

Making the victory pass from the Amateur Gentlemen’s Five-Gaited class, It’s All About Me is gaining valuable experience. Chris Nalley rode him to a third place finish in the amateur championship, still ahead of some high powered competitors including amateur gentlemen’s reserve champion Enzo, ridden by the always-hustling Bill Marple.

Royal Scot Stables has been a part of the Midwest Charity for as long as anyone can remember. They were present again this year as Kenny Smith rode the hard-charging Boulevard to defeat a large group of challengers in the novice class. Debbie Foley was riding Callaway’s Blue Streak to earn the red streamers.

Wednesday night’s 14-entry Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited class was like a heavy weight title fight and Carolina Cat was up to delivering the hard blows. He and Brittany McGinnis held off charges from several worthy teams, however, it wasn't near enough to defeat Midwest Charity’s 2006 grand champions. It was another tricolor for the red and black curtains of DeLovely Farm.

Establishing themselves as leading contenders this year, Pin Oak’s champion Suki Snowlet was put through her ground-covering gaits by Calee Dillon to command a well deserved reserve in the qualifying round. The Jack Magill trained team came back to receive the reserve streamers in the championship as well. Maguire Hall and Shame On You also had a great go in the qualifying round to take third. They had to leave the ring with a slight injury in the championship round. Ali Judah and Divine Renaissance took over the third place finish.

It was at Midwest Charity ’05 that Debora Butler purchased the UPHA Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic Champion Linkin Park. This year the extremely handsome son of Roseridge Heir was back at Midwest under Butler’s ownership and he topped a Junior Five-Gaited Stake that was filled to the brim with talent. Todd Miles made the championship ride just as he did at Oklahoma Centennial and Asheville for Butler’s Melrose LLC. Not about to let Miles and the celebrated Linkin Park walk away with the junior stake, Bob Brison and Callaway’s Unsolved Mystery made pass after pass worthy of the big time for owner B & T Vonderschmitt LLC for the reserve tie. The former trainer of Linkin Park, Tom Scott, was third in the great class with the Kruger/Hendrickson entry Just James.

Making a strong bid for “Best Of Show” honors, Catalyst’s Work Of Art was certainly one of the highlights of a great night of showing on Thursday with another convincing performance. After catching everyone’s attention at UPHA Chapter 5, trainer Jim Lowry turned up the heat and this wild going Catalyst daughter responded with a unanimous victory pass in the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic for owner Priscilla Marconi. She had plenty of competition as Tracy James and Most Definitely Diamonds had a shining performance as reserve champions. Tom Scott was also in the mix with third place finisher New York Surprise.

There have been countless champions born on Garland Bradshaw’s old corner property in Danville, Ky. Grandson Mitch Clark continues that legacy with another wave of champions sired by his world’s champion three-gaited stallion Castle Bravo. Vicky Clark rode the homebred Alfa Bravo to win the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class. Representing Gayle Lampe and the Mike Roberts Stables, Zach Duffy rode El Matrero to a reserve finish.


Many professionals and owners will tell you John Conatser is one of the best at training and showing a walk-trot horse and he had his A-game going again at
Midwest. With his Saturday night game face on, Conatser went to the ring with Carol Hillenbrand’s CH In My Heart and came out as the Three-Gaited Grand Champions. Conatser then sold the mare within the barn to Locksley Hall LLC.

Also coming into the championship round with her guns loaded, Lisa Strickland had Sunshine Way tuned to perfection as she had enough expression for two horses to take the reserve grand championship. The Julie Hambrick entry was also reserve in the over 15.2. Winner of that qualifier was the toppy World’s Champion CH Callaway’s Merry Go Round. Neil Visser was in the irons for Dorchester Farm in their only performance of the show.

The under 15.2 stake was extremely entertaining and competitive. Catching everyone’s attention was the new team of Longshadow’s Sovereign Spirit and Todd Miles. Pumping his legs, Sovereign Spirit was the winner for new owner Lynda Norman. Larry Hodge rode Hollywood Agent to the reserve title for Elisabeth Goth Chelberg.

Midwest ’05 was the debut for Barbara Goodman Manilow and the highly celebrated World’s Champion Marching Orders. They came back this year to take a unanimous decision in the Ladies Three-Gaited Championship following a blue ribbon performance in the ladies qualifier. They had strong competition each time as Kate Bryan and CH Sportster were reserve grand champions after Sherry Ballah and Caramar collected the red streamers in the first round.

Melissa Moore and her Sunrise Stables entries were firing on all cylinders in class after class. She was extremely pleased with the outcome for the new combination of High Heat and Melody Adler. What a picture it was with the high-headed High Heat park trotting down victory lane in both the Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited Championship and qualifier, leaving a group of household names behind them.

Under the direction of Mike McIntosh, Dee McNealy and Miss Believin stepped up with a strong performance to take amateur ladies reserve grand champion honors. Betty Cox and the high-going Callaway’s Gold Reserve were second place finishers in the deep amateur ladies qualifier.

Each and every section of the walk-trot division was loaded with big leaguers. The amateur section was no exception as Deborah Visser and the oh-so-talented Ostentatiously made the tricolor victory pass for her father, James Orr. The Kalarama Farm team also left the ring with the top prize in the under 15.2 qualifier. The amazing team of CH Royal Messenger and Michelle Groomes were ready for prime time on Friday night with a strong reserve grand champion showing from Sunrise Stables. Barbara Goodman Manilow and reserve world’s champion of champions, the homebred Lady Cinnamon, were third in the championship and reserve in the amateur under 15.2 qualifier.

Entries from the amateur over 15.2 stake were ready to give the audience a Midwest Charity-type show. Coming off an Indy Charity blue, the new team of Ellyn Dorsey and Freakness marched a blue ribbon trot from start to finish. Tracy Garcia and That’s Chicago pushed the issue as reserve champions. Michelle Hartman and Royal Sweet turned back several other entries with winning records for the yellow prize.

In the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship the top two finishers had both previously worn the roses at Louisville. Like it has been time after time over their season and a half together, CH Blackberry Delight and Rachel Machamer garnered the unanimous decision in both the championship and 14-17 qualifier. Aimee Langer and Aurora Borealis marched out as the reserve grand champions. Sarah Wood piloted her Attaché’s Touched By An Angel to a third place finish in the deep waters of the championship round. The mare qualified with a reserve performance in the 14-17 class with Mary Catherine Swanson catch riding.

The 13 and under riders went back against the older age group for the championship round. Sporty winners of the 13 and under class, the Tom Thorpe-trained Tantalize Me LCC and Andrew Slater finished a strong fourth in the championship. Randy Cates sent Claire Talley and Fame’s Preferential Treatment to a second place finish in the younger age group.

Novice Three-Gaited honors belonged to a new face, four-year-old Heir’s Encore. Missy Hughes made the winning ride for Mary Jane Fredrickson. The DeLovely team was ahead of a nice group of challengers including reserve winners Kalarama’s Loose Lips and Neil Visser.

Many anticipated the battle that ensued in the Junior Three-Gaited Stake. It was a large class of talented youngsters, however, most eyes were focused on the top two. Last year’s Best Of Show winner as a three-year-old harness colt and eventual winner of the 2005 UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic Grand Championship at Kansas City, Can You Hear Me Now, was on hand with Todd Miles. Looking right down the sights at them were John Conatser and the highly acclaimed New York’s Perfect Gift, winner of world’s championships as both a two and three-year-old.

With each pass New York’s Perfect Gift got stronger and stronger. It was one of those goose bump type performances which left those in attendance wondering just how high the I’m A New Yorker son could trot? It was unanimous for Conatser and owner Betsy Thomas, a decision that resulted in the Best Of Show honors voted upon by the judges. The crowd also showed its appreciation for Can You Hear Me Now, the Steven Chancellor family entry shown by Miles to the reserve title. Not to be overlooked, Rhythm Of The Son was a good third with Jim Lowry in the irons for Priscilla Marconi.

The royally bred Callaway’s Happy Endings followed up a win at Cedar Rapids with Midwest’s Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited title. Louie Louw was aboard for Barbara and Michael Molland while representing Reedannland. A.J. Bruwer showed Diana Schaefer’s Red Flyer for the red ribbon.

Last year Robert Gardiner rode into Midwest with a sporty, black three-year-old walk-trot horse to win top honors. He did it again this year, taking Harlem’s Showman to the UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic title. Pass after pass it was a striking performance for Gardiner and owner EquiElegance Ltd. Open class winner Callaway’s Happy Ending was reserve in the Classic competition.

This year’s park division was just as impressive as their trimmed counterparts. The all-star cast in the open championship included World’s Champion First Class Heir in the winner’s circle with Tom Bombolis again riding for Glenmore Farm. They started off the week as the impressive winners of the open class as well. Always competitive at the highest levels, SJ Great Guts was right in the mix with A.J. Bruwer aboard for Vicki Reed to collect the reserve tricolor. Also making passes worthy of note were Gigolo Joe and Pat McConnell who finished third for Toni Nastali. Mike McIntosh and Hillside’s Sensation rode out with the red streamers in the qualifier.

A holder of several world titles, CH A Step Of Time held off challenges from numerous contenders worthy of the job of Amateur Three-Gaited Park Grand Champion. His faithful partner Luanne Kilday made winning rides in both the qualifier and championship under the direction of Debbie Foley’s Silverbrook Stables. The elegant, young mare Princess Ruby Begonia took Nancy Leigh Fisher to two reserve titles, while Lady Maya and Barbara Goodman Manilow were third in the championship after Rusty Grundy and In My Sight garnered the yellow streamers in the qualifier.

The move from harness to park has been a winning one all season long for His Supreme Reflection. Andy Freseth was again in the saddle to take the Junior Park Stake for Marilyn Gaiswinkler. The beautiful, homebred filly Miss Majesticness earned the reserve prize with Robert Gardiner riding for Paul Chovanec.

Fine Harness

Just like the other divisions, there was no shortage of stars among the fine harness entries. The undefeated run of Coco Loco continued with his tricolor victory pass in Saturday night’s Fine Harness Championship. The John Conatser-trained world’s champion also sported the blue ribbon in the open class for owners Fritz and Candace Meili. The judges didn’t change their order from the first class as Mike Roberts and I’m A Lucky Charm were selected second both times out. In the championship round the black star Just Wicked made a championship caliber show for A.J. Bruwer and took third for the second time.

All of the entries for the Amateur Fine Harness Championship were gunning for the tricolor and all of them were capable. In the end, however, it was the bold-moving CH Kalarama’s New Sensation turning back all challengers to command the victory for Mary Gise and owner Priscilla Gise. It was the second victory pass of the week for the Hollow Haven team. Dr. Scott Cairns and World’s Champion Simbara’s Exclamation brought their Louisville game to the ring on Friday night to take home the Amateur Fine Harness Reserve Grand Championship to Bellview Acres. Ellyn Dorsey and Just About Perfect were also putting on an A-rated show to take third in the quality-filled amateur championship after taking reserve behind CH Kalarama’s New Sensation in the qualifier.

Pony trainer Roger Lucas captured the Junior Fine Harness class with Winsdown New Homestead for Bonnie Lee Terese. Because I Said So was the reserve winner with Dick Obenauf.

Over the years Dr. Alan Raun has introduced many top young horses to the Midwest audience. He drove Reedann’s Private Dancer to win both the UPHA Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Classic and the open three-year-old class. Dick Obenauf was reserve with Phoebe Hansen for Stonewall Farm in the Classic, while Bob Brison guided B & T Vonderschmitt’s Callaway’s Tomorrow’s News to the reserve title in the open class.

Thursday night’s Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class was a Louisville-type class from start to finish. Nine youngsters competed for the top prize but it came down to a battle among the top two. When it was all said and done, Bob Brison and Glenview’s Excelalante (Designed x Tra La La) paraded down victory lane. With Chuck Herbert as agent, Martha Schriver and Ed Elliott had purchased the athletic youngster the week before the show from Roy and Judy Werner’s Redwing Farm. Knocking on the door with extreme motion and brilliance, Major Buck was the celebrated reserve champion with Jim Lowry showing for Lowry and Dodson. Coming from a debut win at Madison, Scott Matton and Princess Alison finished with a good third place ribbon for Jennie Bailey.

Hackney/Harness/Pleasure Ponies

The roster in the pony divisions was truly a who's who of world's champion performers. Golden Creek Farms entries enjoyed another tricolor trip to Springfield. Fresh from a victory pass at Rock Creek, the leg-waving Twin Willow’s Wild Thing stepped to the head of the class as Midwest’s Harness Pony Grand Champion. Jeff McClean was on the lines of the white-trimmed dynamo for the qualifier blue as well. The outstanding field of six ponies saw Gib Marcucci in the viceroy for the reserve tricolor drive with Seamair Spectacular for Boyd/Gordon.

World's Grand Champion Shake Don't Stir and Mary Gaylord McClean were literally in a class by themselves as they opened the season at Midwest with the Amateur Harness Pony Championship following a winning drive in the four-entry qualifier where Conqueror’s Colleen LF and Mary Ellen Golich were reserve. Golich and her elegant partner went on to earn top honors in the ladies class.

Tanglewood’s Feature Attraction was the main attraction in his two performances at
Midwest. This athletic youngster earned matching blue ribbons in the junior and limit harness pony classes for trainer Gib Marcucci and owners Todd Gordon and Frank Boyd. Wait & See’s Winter Day and Dr. Alan Raun picked up the red ribbon in the limit class, while Mike Dumas guided High Color Purple to the reserve finish in the junior.

Danielle Wich guided another Susan Ellis entry to the winner’s circle as Spirit In The Sky topped the AHHS Youth Medallion Hackney/Harness Pony.

With a string of victories from Oklahoma Centennial, Des Moines and Madison, Heartland Most Wanted is making an impressive bid in the UPHA Harness Pony Classics on the way to Kansas City. Darrel Kolkman guided the stylish performer to the Midwest victory as well. They had some outstanding competition including the reserve team of Kilbro’s Senorita and Mary Gaylord McClean.

The fabulous combination of World’s Grand Champion Nabucco and Mary Campbell put on a pair of stellar drives to earn the Open Hackney Pony blue and tricolor for the second year in a row, directed by Gib Marcucci. Mike Dumas teamed Front Page News to the reserve tricolor following the reserve tie in the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic for Larry Schultz. The field of youngsters in the UPHA Classic was outstanding with World’s Champion Regal’s Trademark LF opening the season with the victory pass guided by Jeff McClean for Golden Creek Farms.

Following an undefeated 2005 season, Heartland Elise and Mary Gaylord McClean opened the season with a pair of victories as they graced the winner's circle in the Amateur Hackney Pony qualifier and championship for the second year in a row. Muffy Ernster matched up with Royal Canadian for the Ladies Hackney Pony blue on the way to the amateur reserve championship.

Darrel Kolkman was on the lines of Midwest's Junior Hackney Pony winner again this year as Heartland Ricochet took over top status. The limit class featured HCH Wildest Dream and Mike Dumas making the victory pass for Danny Bielser.

Mary Campbell enjoyed a great Saturday night at Midwest Charity as she won her first of two tricolors as she topped the field in the Pleasure Driving Pony Championship with Man On The Town following a win in the qualifier guided by Gib Marcucci. The world’s champion team of Cherry Royale and Judy Kjellander enjoyed a pair of fine reserve drives as Show Manager Kjellander received an appreciative ovation for both her performances and all of her work on behalf of Midwest Charity.

Ali Judah showed off her winning form on the lines of Wonmore’s Diamond Legacy to earn matching blues in the AHHS Youth Medallion Pony Pleasure Driving and the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving Pony Stake for Beth Jones. They were followed in both outings by the stylish team of Lightning Up and Patsy Loeb.

Wait & See’s Rasberry earned the top honors in the Limit Pleasure Driving Pony competition with Donna Beck on the lines. Jim Yonker and Fitz’s Phantom scored the winning drive in the UPHA Pleasure Driving Pony Classic. Kurt Antonacci guided Mastercraft’s Namesake LF to the blue ribbon in the junior class for Dan Light.


The roadster division at
Midwest has been legendary throughout the years. One reason for the strength and longevity of this division was Pres Oder. The passing of Pres Oder following the 2005 Midwest Charity has certainly left a void. However, the memories of Oder were there each time the gate opened and the road horses flew into the ring at the 2006 Midwest Charity.

The final victory pass of Pres Oder’s long and storied road horse career was at the 2005 Midwest Charity on the lines of good friend and fellow Hall Of Fame member Raymond Shively’s newest speedster Big Red. Shively went on to show the red horse to the 2005 world’s grand championship. Shively and Big Red made the return trip to Midwest this year to carry home the Roadster To Bike blue and tricolor ribbons to DeLovely Farm in honor of Oder. They had some outstanding competition from the reserve tricolor team of The Gambler and Melissa Moore who topped the ladies class in unanimous fashion for Leatherwood Farm.

The Amateur Roadster To Bike Champion also hailed from DeLovely as Deborah Butler and her copper-colored partner Dirt Devil dusted off the competition to earn the tricolor as well as the qualifier blue. Glenn T. Werry added to the Glenmore banner as he directed the high-trotting Gingerbread Man to the reserve tricolor honors.

In recognition of all that the roadster to wagon division meant to Pres Oder and all that he did in behalf of the division, the Midwest Charity Roadster To Wagon Championship has been renamed the Pres Oder Roadster To Wagon Championship. The first winner of this class was Invincible Summer and owner Judy McNeish. This marked the third year in a row that this world-titled team has won the tricolor following a blue ribbon drive in the qualifier. Oder protégé Phillip Bisch was in hot pursuit with Glenmore Farm’s Lucky Break to capture the reserve finish with help from some of Oder’s former pit crew. Bisch also took home the Midwest blue from the Roadster To Wagon Appointments class on the lines of his Top Flight JJ.

Trainer Melissa Moore and owner Melody Adler continued their winning ways with Where Are We Now as they added the Roadster Under Saddle blue and tricolor to the Sunrise banner. The always-entertaining team of Dick Francis and Jonelle Gardiner raced away with the reserve honors.

It was another victorious season-opener at Midwest as World’s Champion Heartland Production and Mary Gaylord McClean produced a pair of their trademark showings of perfect form and speed to earn the Open Road Pony blue and tricolor. Cindy Ireland teamed up with her Wait & See’s Rio Lobo to capture the reserve streamers.

Following their victorious team debut at Bonnie Blue, Mary Gise and World’s Champion Calvin Hobbs sped by an outstanding field to earn the Amateur Road Pony blue and tricolor for Priscilla Gise and the Hollow Haven team. Toni Nastali and Heartland Victory Maker repeated their title from a year ago with a stellar performance as the reserve grand champions. The world-titled field also featured Mike Schallock and Seamair Strutter who earned the reserve in the qualifier along with the yellow ribbon in the championship.

There are no more fierce competitors than the junior exhibitors who do battle with their pony speedsters. It was a neck and neck battle between Heartland Sundust with Rachel Machamer handling the lines for Priscilla Gise and Heartland Painted Creation with Jeb Boyd steering the way for proud mom Luanne Kilday. Machamer and Sundust grabbed the top spot in the junior exhibitor class with Boyd and Painted Creation finishing second. In the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony the tables were turned as Boyd bested Machamer and the rest of the field to drive home with top honors.

Erik Kirsch introduced a pair of winning youngsters at Midwest for Dan Light. Mastercraft’s Promoter LF made a sparkling debut to earn a trip down victory lane in the UPHA Road Pony Classic, while Regal’s Special Effort LF sped to the head of the Junior Road Pony competition. Rick Wallen and Passing Lane headed to the inside for reserve honors in both classes for Star Hill Farm.

Lisa Strickland had the winning silks in the Limit Road Pony competition as she guided Get Set N Go to the winner’s circle for Saddlewood Farm LTD. This young pony showed a world of promise with his ability and presence. Erik Kirsch had the reserve entry this time out in Regal’s Commander LF, another impressive young entry of Dan Light.


Many consider the
Midwest to be the heart of pleasure horse country, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that the pleasure classes were overflowing with quality and quantity. The adult five-gaited pleasure competition was case in point with the entered field of 23 divided into two sections for its Tuesday matinee performance. The first section featured Unspoken Intentions and Sharon Worzalla coming through with a crowd-pleasing performance to earn a memorable trip down victory lane, directed by A.J. Bruwer. With a first place vote as well, Reedann’s Yes You May and Laura Miller picked up the red ribbon for Jenny Hackforth-Jones.

The second section of the adult five-gaited pleasure saw an even dozen burst through the in-gate in search of catching the judges’ eyes. Following tricolor rides at Pin Oak and Oklahoma Centennial, CH Mariachi and Jan Myers came through with a Midwest victory pass to the delight of the Jack Magill crew. Autumn Hunt and Meet Your Match introduced themselves to the five-gaited pleasure competition with a first place vote on their way to the red ribbon performance.

On Friday night, it was each horse and rider for themselves as a field of 20 answered the call for the Adult Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship. Meet Your Match and Autumn Hunt were more than prepared for the test as Melissa Moore greeted them in the winner’s circle following their impressive ride for the tricolor. Christy Bennett and The Champagne Tiger proudly represented Dorchester Farm as the reserve champions in just their first season out of the junior exhibitor ranks. Randy Cates was her trainer. The state of Texas was well represented as the third place was awarded to CH Mariachi and Jan Myers. The ribbon-winning teams in this top flight class continued with Roseridge’s Daybreak and Kristen Pettry, Unspoken Intentions and Sharon Worzalla and CH Executive Dunk and Judy Werner.

The nine-horse field in the junior exhibitor five-gaited pleasure division was outstanding as well. The perfectly matched team of CH Callaway’s Capitol Reporter and Ellen Medley Wright continued their flawless season earning the blue ribbon and championship tricolor with a pair of unanimous ties. There was no panic on the part of Lindsay Kellner and Callaway’s Don’t Panic as they received a trio of second place votes for the reserve championship performance under the Knollwood banner. Following a second place finish in the qualifier, Tyler DeVore and Jewelfire collected the yellow ribbon in the championship with another entertaining performance for Stanley Jozwiak.

The appropriately named Brookhill’s King Of Kool gave the Midwest audience plenty to cheer about as Andy Freseth directed the expressive Guy and Karen Smith entry to the winner’s circle in the Junior Park Pleasure. Blackboard and Missy Hughes turned in a bright showing to collect the reserve honors for McLinney Farm LLC.

John Conatser and The Rock Star followed up their Bonnie Blue victory by earning a trip to the Midwest winner’s circle in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic for Dirk Peterson and Locksley Hall LLC. The competitive class of youngsters also featured Des Moines classic winner, Reedann’s Phorget Me Not, and Louie Louw collecting the red ribbon for Alan Raun.

The adult three-gaited pleasure division was phenomenal from top to bottom, but there was no denying the world and national championship pairing of CH Ninety Eight Degrees and Alice Unger as they maintained their unbeaten streak. They carried the 18-38 qualifier blue as well as the championship tricolor back to the Hollow Haven banner.

Following their victorious team debut at Bonnie Blue, CH Just Special and Carol Hillenbrand captured the 39 and over win as well as the reserve tricolor honors under the direction of
Carriage Lane. There was also a friendly mother-daughter rivalry as Nancy Leigh Fisher was just two steps behind daughter Alice Unger as Fisher showed He’s A Royal Pepper to an outstanding ride for third after the reserve tie in the 39 and over qualifier. The championship ribbon winners also included Corky’s Asset and Kurt Antonacci, The Muffin Man (second in the 18-38) and Kim Langdon and For Reference Only and Tracy Garcia.

Rachel Machamer proved to be a winning catch rider and driver for Hollow Haven Farm at Midwest. Matched with the polished bay Titleist Symbol for Brown-Anderson Farms, they repeated their Bonnie Blue wins in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Pleasure 14-17 qualifier and championship. He Walks On Water and Sarah Werry stood out from the crowd with color and style to carry the reserve honors in both classes to Glenmore Farm. The top five placings in the 21-entry qualifier and the 17-entry championship were identical with New York Style and Maguire Hall, The Grand Master and Thea Ervin along with The Mystery Machine and Rachel Kelley earning third, fourth and fifth respectively.

No matter what division she showed in, Ellen Medley Wright was simply unbeatable at Midwest Charity. Wright was matched with SS Lies And Alibis for a pair of unanimous victories to collect the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Pleasure 13 and Under blue and tricolor for Rose Farms LLC under the DeLovely banner. Tommy James and Loretta Mulberry added the reserve tricolor with a bright showing under the direction of Scott and Carol Matton. Maya Manilow and CF First Light of Dawn continued a successful first season out of the walk-trot division with a second place finish in the qualifier to the delight of their proud family.

The Illinois Resident Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship saw Vicki Reed and Firecracker Jack earn their state’s bragging rights as A.J. Bruwer directed them to a tricolor victory pass. The polished qualifier winning team of Square Dance and Cathy Klasek collected the reserve tricolor under the Landmark Farm banner.

Caitlin Donohue and Radiant Revival matched up for a winning ride in the Novice Amateur Three-Gaited Pleasure prepared by Kenny and Donna Smith. CH Wild Harley and Elizabeth Schultz added the red ribbon to an already busy season of showing.

The junior three-gaited pleasure division featured a pair of impressive victories for Bluegrass Jazz and Bailey Freeman. Following their winning team debut at Madison, they scored the Midwest blue and tricolor ribbons under the Hollow Haven banner. Susannah Sherman and Danger High Voltage turned up the intensity with a pair of strong rides for the reserve honors.

Alice Unger and her grand geldings were unbeatable at Midwest. CH Heir’s Town and Unger opened the season with a pair of bright showings to capture the Show Pleasure Driving Championship as well as 18-38 blue. The 11-entry championship saw Elizabeth James-Lipscomb and Shot With Glory turn in a beautiful drive for the reserve tricolor.

Following a reserve tricolor debut in the pleasure driving division at Indianapolis Charity, Priscilla Marconi and Selvaggio meant business from the time the gate opened in the 39 and over qualifier as they earned the well-received victory over an outstanding field of entries under the Indian Creek banner. Candace Meili and Last Cat Standing added the second place honors to their resume under the Carriage Lane banner. Nicole Bearman took over the lines of Very Presidential to earn the second place finish for Lana Gilpin in the 18-38 behind CH Heir’s Town and Alice Unger.

Max Kaplan and CH A Step In Time made a winning transition to a new division as they made the victory pass in the ASHAF Youth Pleasure Driving Challenge for Plastic Reconstructive Surgery. Nicole LaRoussa and She Phloats On Heir drove away with the red ribbon.

Chuck Herbert greeted Susannah Sherman and The Straight Guy in the winner’s circle following a pair of precise rides to garner the Adult Country Pleasure blue and tricolor for Jane Steinkamp. CH The Shadow Knows and Linda Meyer had a strong cheering section in their reserve performances for Brown-Anderson Farms. Keeping it in the family, Brianna Meyer took her turn down victory lane aboard Top This in the Walk-Trot Pleasure 10 and Under directed by Linda Freseth. Outrigger and Renae Van Zomeren picked up the red ribbon as the Saturday morning session began with a competitive field of young riders.

Michelle Krentz added her name to the list of winning catch riders at Midwest as she paired up with I’m Dreaming for a pair of unanimous victories in the 18-entry Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Country Pleasure as well as the championship. She was greeted by winning trainer John Willis who prepared the Ted Klint and Teri Shaw entry. Cydni Simmons and When Heiry Met Sally turned in a polished performance for reserve tricolor honors in the 15-entry championship for Burlington Saddlebreds. Jessica Moctezuma and Tamale Wally teamed up for the yellow ribbon in the championship following the second place finish in the qualifier for Nancy Rothe.

Karen Schiewe and Amazed scored a big win in the Illinois Resident Country Pleasure. I’m A Diva and Sally Grieme picked up the red ribbon.

The grand dames of the country pleasure driving division were in top form at Midwest as CH Callaway’s Pretty Penny and Nancy Anderson once again garnered the blue and tricolor ribbons with a pair of unanimous wins. In Due Time and Autumn Hunt added the reserve tricolor to the Sunrise banner while Barb Hendrickson and Pierre Cardin picked up the red ribbon in the qualifier.

Kristen Pettry continued the theme of winning catch-riders as she matched up with Sharon Vuinovich’s handsome bay Winsdown Cosmos for the Country Western Pleasure Championship. Following a blue ribbon ride in the qualifier, Autumn Hunt and In Your Honor jogged away with the reserve tricolor. The Shatner Western Pleasure featured the beautifully attired Marcia Scott and By Reservation Only earning the victory pass with AF Colour Creation and Megan Mahoney in reserve.

Casey O’Grady added the Open English Pleasure blue to the MBA banner with Pat McConnell providing the winning ride. The handsome Friesian Douwe Fan De Kromme Jelte picked up the red ribbon with Kara Martalock before making the championship victory pass to end the Saturday afternoon session. Neva Van Ess was sporting Bobby Bling for the reserve tricolor performance.


The equitation division focused on the highest level of competition throughout, climaxing with the opening act of the Saturday evening session, the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. The polished pairing of Alexandra Flynn and Kalu's Can't Stop The Magic put together a confident showing on the rail and flawless execution of the challenging workout to be crowned the unanimous champions. They started off the week by earning the blue ribbon in the 14-17 qualifier for team DeLovely for the second year in a row. Jessica Moctezuma showed her effortless style and confidence aboard The King’s Talent for the reserve honors in the age group and the championship. Michelle Krentz was rewarded with a strong ovation from the audience for her outstanding performance with CH The Louisville Lass in which she was awarded the yellow ribbon following a reserve ride in the USEF Medal.

The Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship featured a clean sweep of the tricolors for DeLovely Farm riders. Ellen Medley Wright earned her third tricolor ride of the show as she matched up with her beloved CH Timeless Drifter for a flawless performance to earn the tricolor for the second year in a row following the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup victory. Brittany McGinnis and her magnificent partner Amandari earned the victory pass in the USEF Medal on the way to the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Reserve Championship.

Adding to the DeLovely banner, Abigail Mutrux and Worth The Trip bested the seven-rider field in the 13 and under class and also finished reserve in the Junior UPHA Challenge Cup. Mary Catherine Swinson also represented DeLovely with a pair of blue ribbon rides mounted on LA Blues. They started off with a precise ride to earn the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup and went on to make the victory pass in the NHS Good Hands. Rachel Machamer and A Touch Of Pizzazz added the reserve tie in the NHS Good Hands to their resume, while Meghan MacQueen collected the red ribbon in the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup.

Courtney McGinnis earned a pair of victory passes at Midwest teamed with her adorable partner CH Callaway’s Coraleen. She started off with the UPHA Walk-Trot Challenge Cup win and went on to a unanimous victory in the Walk-Trot Equitation 10 and Under where the DeLovely team guided the top two finishers. Here, Hunter Chancellor and Imagination Station paired up for a fine ride for reserve honors. Avis Van Zomeren and Cosmopolitan Magic performed their own magic for the reserve finish in the UPHA walk/trot.

Just a year ago, Ashley Alden was staring as Midwest’s Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Champion. Following her graduation from the junior exhibitor ranks, she is still as devoted to equitation as she showed in her unanimous victory in the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup win aboard Radiant Revival. Erin McCracken matched up with The King’s Talent to finish reserve in the UPHA before coming back a day later to win the added USEF Adult Saddle Seat Medal where stablemate Erin Kilray finished in reserve.

The Knollwood Farm riders were invincible in the pleasure equitation division as they swept the tricolors in the senior and junior championships. There was no stopping Deanna Lanigan as she came back with a vengeance to earn the Pleasure Equitation 14-17 Championship aboard Oh Gee Whiz. Paired with the fabulous equitation mount Chimere, Angela Darrow turned in the winning ride in the UPHA Challenge Cup Pleasure Equitation as well as the Pleasure Equitation Medallion and finished as the reserve champion. Following the winning ride in the 14-17 qualifier, Victoria McHenry presented New York American Style to the yellow ribbon in the championship. Danielle McGarry and CH Callaway’s Royal Request teamed up for a stellar ride to carry the reserve honors in the Pleasure Equitation Medallion back to Landmark Farm.

Loretta Mulberry showed poise and polish to earn the Pleasure Equitation 13 and Under Championship aboard Undulata’s Clean Sweep. Nick Maupin also represented Knollwood as the reserve champion mounted on Oh What A Feeling. Following the winning ride in the 13 and under qualifier and the reserve finish in the UPHA Pleasure Equitation Challenge Cup, Hali Steenhoek picked up the yellow ribbon in the championship aboard Open All Night.

Nicholas Sunder showed off his riding talents to earn the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup for the third year in a row along with the audience's applause.


This year's Morgan competition at Midwest Charity featured some outstanding quality with a number of world champion performers headlining the division. Spiceolife Present Tense returned to the same arena that he won the 2005 UPHA Morgan Park Harness Classic Finals to earn two more trips down victory lane. Diane Conrady presented David James Walker’s world champion youngster to the Park Harness Championship honors as well as the junior win.

In addition to bringing some mighty impressive American Saddlebreds to Midwest Charity, Jim Lowry also entertained the audience with several top-winning Morgans. Cabot First Things First debuted in victorious fashion in the UPHA Park Harness Classic with Lowry directing the Liberation First Star colt for WSS Prestwick Farms LLC. The open and Amateur Park Saddle Stake tricolors also went back to the Lowry banner as Lynn Miller teamed up with her athletic Ultras Dark Shadow for the victories. They were followed in both performances by EKS Showboat with Kurt Antonacci in the irons for John and Karen Fogle under the direction of Diane Conrady.

Grand National Champion MEM Exotica enjoyed a stellar saddle debut by way of two victorious performances. Shanna Gish guided the five-year-old Futurity French Command daughter to top honors for Indian Creek Farm in the Open English Pleasure qualifier and championship. Phil Fountain took over the reins of KGA Picasso, while Dawn Fire continues her maternity leave, to bring the reserve awards back to Peeper Ranch.

Nancy Murdock and her expressive NAS Rickenbacker turned in a pair of outstanding rides to add the Amateur English Pleasure blue and tricolor to the Peeper Ranch banner. They were followed in both outings by the elegant pairing of Futurity’s Miss Munitions and Becky Krupp performing for Jim and Shula Dodson under the direction of Lowry Stables.

The Junior English Pleasure featured a fabulous class of young talent with NDT French Impressionist continuing his winning streak from River Ridge and Indianapolis Charity. Kurt Hufferd rode the dynamic bay to the honors for Indian Creek Farm.

Marilyn Weber and Merriehill Isabella earned their trip down victory lane in the Ladies English Pleasure performing for Carolyn and Kathy Firch.

Cabot Carte Blanche and Elizabeth Lowry opened the season in victorious fashion as they bested the field in the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure for proud parents Jim and Fay Lowry. The pairing of Auhl That Jazz and Caitlin Donahue followed in second, and returned to earn the top prize in the Morgan/Arabian Saddle Seat Equitation directed by Donna Pettry-Smith.

Priscilla Marconi and her Morgan and Saddlebred entries were a welcome addition to Midwest Charity. Marconi and her world champion partner WSG Circumstan’l Evidence opened the season in victorious fashion earning the Open Pleasure Driving blue and tricolor directed by Kurt Hufferd. CHF Mark Of Excellence and Rebecca Kwedar turned in a bold showing for the reserve tricolor honors.

Show President and Manager Judy Kjellander put an exclamation point on a fabulous week as she drove her world titled Dragonsmeade Virtuoso to the Amateur Pleasure Driving blue and tricolor for the second year in a row for Kings Point Inc. Ashley Hellemann was on the lines of SMS Just Mine for the reserve tricolor performance for Diana Vannaken.

The Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving featured Danielle Wich matched up with Hylee’s Red Fox for the blue ribbon drive for Susan Ellis. The tried and true Royal M Kodi took Kalie Bozarth to the reserve finish as well as the red ribbon in the Morgan/Arabian Saddle Seat Equitation for Katherine Firch.

Stan Bodnar had a lock on the young horse pleasure driving victory passes. Bodnar guided TE Ammunition to the UPHA Pleasure Driving Classic win for Bonnie Adams, while last year’s UPHA Pleasure Driving Finals Champion Merriehill Times Square captured the Junior Pleasure Driving blue for Merriehill Farm.

Becky Krupp and Auhl Turned Out matched up for two winning rides to earn the Classic Pleasure Saddle blue and tricolor, directed by Lowry Stables. Holly Salamander gave the ever-sporty PMP Victory Glow a stellar ride to earn the reserve tricolor under the Peeper Ranch banner.

Ensbrook Chain Of Command and Debbie Simon enjoyed a victorious show ring return with a winning transition to the classic division. They carried the Classic Pleasure Driving blue and tricolor back to Merriehill Farm with two outstanding drives. Plum Haven Minuet and Dennis Errett collected the reserve honors in this competitive division for Peeper Ranch.

AMHF Bal Du Masque reprised his titles of a year ago in the western pleasure division at Midwest Charity. Shanna Gish started off by guiding the handsome gelding to the open blue. John Huse put on his cowboy accessories and settled into the saddle to once again jog away with the Western Pleasure Championship for SpringMill Morgans LLC. Susan Ellis enjoyed an outstanding show with her smooth and steady Alakazam to earn the reserve tricolor following the amateur win, directed by Kenny Guell.

Nicole Peterson and Baby Ruth MHF enjoyed a clean sweep of the hunter pleasure division. The charismatic chestnut and her polished rider claimed matching blues in the open and amateur qualifiers as well as the championship honors for Bruce and Susan Peterson. The dynamic white trimmed Z’s Majestic Sensation followed in reserve in all three outings with owner Nancy Johnson Tobiasz in the irons.


This completes the highlights of the Midwest Charity Horse. To see full results click on Saddlebred Results and Morgan Results. Judges’ Cards are also posted here on our web site.

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