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Carolina Circuit Heats Up at J.D. Massey Classic

by Leeann Mione
Posted May 6, 2002
CLEMSON, S. C., - Nearly 500 horses came to compete at the J.D. Massey Classic Horse Show at the T. Ed Garrison arena in Clemson, S.C., April 17-20. The show always attracts a big group of Saddlebreds, Hackneys and Roadsters and this year was no exception. Fifteen states were represented in the show ring and in addition to the long list of barns that support the show each year, some new barns were in attendance this year.

The show benefits the Clemson-Calhoun Rotary Club and under the management of Ray Cloninger, with help from the J.D. Massey board of directors as well as Cloninger's capable staff, money was raised again this year to support the club's numerous endeavors. Full tuition scholarships totaling $2500 were awarded for the Spring 2002 semester to three students in the Veterinary Technology Department at Tri-County Technical College. Melinda Berry, Catherine Flanigan, and Colleen Losee were the recipients.

One of the highlights of the show each year is the induction of a new JD Massey Hall Of Fame member. This year's inductee was Edward Charles "Eddie" Case from Fountain Inn, S.C., (the speech, read by Brenda Pulis, is reprinted in its entirety in this issue). Hospitality is always plentiful at Clemson and the annual Cleveland Park aisle party on Thursday was a huge hit and drew a big crowd. Friday night's exhibitors party was also a popular event.

While the hospitality and the great facility make the show a huge draw for many barns, exhibitors come for the great competition they know they'll find in the show ring. The Carolinas circuit is a tough one and across the board competition was very strong. The J.D. Massey Classic has developed a reputation for great competition and that reputation certainly remained intact by the end of the show this year.

Whether you watched the huge pleasure classes, especially the 20-entry adult 36 and over championship, or the incredible amateur roadster pony division where 19-year-old Sting Ray Jr. proved that age is just a state of mind as he took on nine other teams and came out on top, or the unbelievable Five-Gaited Grand Championship with nine talented entries and a three horse workout, you were bound to be impressed with the number and quality of entries.

John Champagne, originally scheduled to judge the show with Steve Crabtree and Jimmy Womble, had to bow out shortly before the show due to a back injury. Rich Robertson agreed to take his place and spent the weekend performing the difficult job with Crabtree and Womble of trying to pick just one winner in each class.

As hot as it was outside, it was just as hot inside the ring and the forecast for the trip to Louisville for the exhibitors at Clemson is definitely bright and sunny.

For the complete show story, see the printed edition of Saddle Horse Report dated April 29, 2002.

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