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Bluefield Blue Gray 2008: The Show without Rain

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. - This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Bluefield Blue-Gray Shrine Horse Show and as always it proved to be a competitive venue for riders from all different areas. A good sampling of horses came from West Virginia and Virginia but also the competition drew a fair amount of owners and exhibitors in the North Carolina and South Carolina areas.

As always the Bluefield Shriner’s club did an excellent job of putting the horse show together and the show office and officials kept everything running smoothly throughout the weekend. A crowd favorite on Friday and Saturday nights was participating in the ASHAV "When Pigs Fly" contest. Proceeds from both nights’ tosses were donated to Shirley Trail and her Mountain Trail Stables family, who had recently suffered the devastating loss of their barn and home in a fire. The Bluefield horse show committee and the horse community rallied together to support the Trails in their time of need and following results in the Five-Gaited Championship Saturday night, Shirley and her family were presented with a check.

Strangely enough, exhibitors and attendees were pleasantly surprised at the show this year without the need for slickers, boots and multiple trips to the laundromat. Bluefield weather did not present itself with the rains that the show has become relatively famous for having on the weekend of the horse show. Known as "Nature’s Air Conditioned City", the city is pleasantly warm, but not too hot, even in the middle of the summer and during most of the evening sessions there was a chill in the air.

Big draws for the horse show are the four Saturday night Jackpot stakes in five-gaited, three-gaited, fine harness and park divisions. Roger Meade and Champange Property captured the Five-Gaited Championship while junior exhibitor winners First Shot and Jordan Banner captured the Three-Gaited Jackpot. David Trail picked up the Fine Harness Jackpot with A Lifetime Of Dreams. Winning the Park Jackpot for the second year in a row were Leslie Tickle and Mountainview’s Steel My Heart.

Drawing more numbers of entries in quite a different area of competition were the American Saddlebred Breeder’s Futurity of West Virginia classes. In the Weanling Jackpot class, 13 expertly turned out entries strutted their stuff down the straightaway for the judge but in the end it was Diamond Market, a colt by The Wish Card, presented by Smith Lilly for owner Sue Nifong of Silverlin Farm to take it all for the win in the biggest class of the horse show. In the Yearling Jackpot class, the team of Lilly and Nifong proved successful yet again as they were the winners with last year’s weanling jackpot champion, Diamonds And Orchids.

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