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Carolinas Season Ender Crowns Numerous Champions

by Leeann Mione

RALEIGH, N.C. - The North Carolina State Fair Horse Show concluded the season for many of the barns in attendance on a high note with a well attended show featuring the best of the best on the Carolinas circuit. The unseasonably cool temperatures early in the week warmed up by Saturday and the big crowd in attendance for Saturday night’s session was treated to class after class filled with quality entries. The Five-Gaited Stake had only four entries, but they put on a show on the way to the tricolor. Paul Boone rode Wendy Troyer’s powerful gelding Hank Heiron to the top honors after having won the open qualifier.

Man On The Run, with Brooke Bodenhorst up, put it all together to claim the grand championship title in the three-entry Three-Gaited Stake and came into the class with the blue ribbon in the amateur qualifier.

Danny and Nancy Troutman coached Karin Banks and Unforgiven to the title in the Fine Harness Grand Championship and topped three other entries for the win. Unforgiven also won the open class with Banks.

One of the other highlights during the all-breed show was Claude Shiflet's induction into the North Carolina State Fair Livestock Hall Of Fame. Shiflet, a member of the horse show advisory board for 25 years, was inducted because of his length of service and his dedication to the fair.

Bret Day judged the Saddlebred, roadster, equitation and academy divisions and Bill Parker judged the Morgan division. Thomas Oxley traveled from Richmond, Ontario, Canada to judge the Hackney and Harness pony divisions.

The horse show concluded the show season for many exhibitors and what a way to go out. Class after class was well filled and competitive and the list of barns that went home with winning ribbons was a long one.

The academy division, always well attended on the Carolinas circuit, hosted lots of talented riders from the very young all the way to adults in their walk and trot and walk/trot/canter classes. They displayed the talent that is sure to be watched at horse shows in the Carolinas and around the country for years to come.

From amateur to junior exhibitor, five-gaited to country pleasure, the North Carolina State Fair Horse Show brought the best of the best together.


Hank Heiron and Paul Boone faced a trio of proven contenders in the Five-Gaited Stake. Joy Bowman and her Bluebonnet’s Wild Thing were joined by Nancy Troutman and her Vanity’s Gypsy Town and CH Broadway Bluegrass with Rhonda Dunford up from Sloat Stables. It’s always exciting to compete in front of a big crowd and the state fair usually provides one for the weekend sessions. The crowd quickly got behind their favorites in the stake and cheered them on. When judge Bret Day turned in his card it was Hank Heiron taking the title for Wendy Troyer, followed by CH Broadway Bluegrass and owner Rhonda Dunford.

Doris Crumpler and her big chestnut gelding Worthy’s Sonshine made their only appearance to win the ladies class under the direction of Page Champion.

The amateurs faced deep water in both of their classes and their nine-entry stake class on Saturday night was one of the evening’s highlights. CH Belleavanti and Johnny Wellington were unstoppable on their way to the tricolor after winning the amateur qualifier earlier in the week. Ann Cannon and her new mount John Elway, after a solid performance in the ladies class, moved up in the ribbons with a strong performance to claim the amateur reserve tricolor under the direction of Paul and Betsy Boone.

What a year it has been for Ross Berger and his family. After the loss of Berger’s beloved Prairie Dancer, he teamed up with his new mount The Great Gazoo and has worked all season to put it all together. He had a fan club lined up on the rail and in the stands for the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Stake on Saturday evening and when The Great Gazoo was called out as the winner, he didn’t disappoint them. Berger took his victory pass with his signature flair and with his hat in the air, left the ring to the applause of the crowd and congratulations from onlookers. The win was bittersweet; it was just a year ago that Berger and Prairie Dancer won the same class and back at the Boones Stables aisle, proud parents Roy and Kathy Berger were overcome with emotion. “I just wasn’t prepared for this,” said Kathy Berger. “It’s been such a difficult year and memories of Ross with Prairie Dancer and also pride for how hard he has worked with The Great Gazoo just overcame me when they called out his name as the winner.”

Talley Harris and Studcor Donatello just keep getting better. They turned in a powerful performance to move up in the ribbons and exit the ring as the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Reserve Grand Champions. Another new team, Diamond’s Hope and Sarah Longworth, turned in an explosive performance to claim the blue ribbon in the junior exhibitor qualifier under the direction of Cash Lovell.

Boone’s Farm put another winning ribbon on the tack room wall after Pick Me First was picked first by Bret Day in the junior horse class. Paul Boone was up for owners Donna and Roy Lockett. Danny Keziah rode It’s A Spring Show to the winner’s circle for longtime customers Richard and Anita Simpson in the novice horse class. It’s A Spring Show topped four other entries for the victory.

Morgan Berger joined her brother on the list of state fair winners after she rode The Dreamcatcher to both wins in the five-gaited pony division.


CH Man On The Run and Brooke Bodenhorst faced a tough group of five in the amateur class and turned in a winning performance under the direction of Cash Lovell before competing in the three-entry Three-Gaited Stake. Tafton Coleman and CH Attache’s Spirit Commander came through the gate and were joined by Lewis Eckard and The Harlem Bay. Man On The Run made it two for two as the winner and Eckard and The Harlem Bay added the reserve grand championship tricolor to their blue ribbon from the open class. Nancy Gordon rode She's An Asset to the win in the ladies' class under the direction of Boone's Farm then returned in the amateur stake. She's An Asset topped the deep field to add the tricolor to the Boone's Farm win list. Ginger Hollingsworth and My CoCo Chanel teamed up for the amateur reserve tricolor under the direction of John Whalen. Hollingsworth rode for owners Manor Farm. Man On The Run was the winner of the amateur qualifier with Brooke Bodenhorst.

CH Sportster and Kate Bryan continued their successful season with a sweep of the junior exhibitor division under the direction of Cash Lovell. Cocoloba and Anna Stoddard put together the reserve grand championship ride for owner and trainer Johnny Lucas.

Endolane Dreamer won the junior horse class for owner Charlotte Carter. Assistant trainer Charles Semones rode for Renn Brook Farm. I Prefer Cash claimed the final two wins in the three-gaited division by winning the Three-Gaited Pony Stake and qualifier with Katelin Wensley on board.

Three-Gaited Park

The Three-Gaited Park division was very strong at the North Carolina State Fair. Classes featured competitive entries and were well filled across the board.

Jenny Geisler topped a competitive six-entry park stake riding Over Achiever for owner Margaret Morrison. Over Achiever came into the stake having already won the five-entry open qualifier with Mary Marcum riding. My Mountain Heirs was the reserve grand champion with Lewis Eckard up for Dr. and Mrs. Brad Outen. Catherine Leonard-Boyd directed Karen Comer and Lunenberg's Irish Storm to the win in the amateur stake for Dwight Jenkins and Aileen Staples. Amateur champion CH Velvet Daybreak turned in the reserve effort in the amateur stake with Shaye Coleman riding from Longacre Stables.

Heather Boodey coached Justine Janzen and Five Star Sweetie to the tricolor ride in the junior exhibitor stake for owner Bill Lineberry and Line Share Farm. CH Sanibel was the juvenile reserve grand champion under the direction of Lewis Eckard, with Chelsie Smith up. Jeanette Winslow teamed Yorktown's Regal Image to the blue ribbon in the junior horse class to close out the park division's win count.

Fine Harness

Unforgiven and owner Karin Banks went to the top of Bret Day's card to claim the Fine Harness Grand Championship under the direction of Danny and Nancy Troutman. CH Devoted To The Cause and Ann Cannon finished in the four-entry stake with the reserve title. Unforgiven and Devoted To The Cause finished in the same order in the open qualifier.


The crowd cheered on their favorites in the Roadster To Bike Championship and all three entries put on a show for the crowd. West Gate Villain, winner of the amateur qualifier, took the top honors in the stake with Mike Gordon in the bike. Norwell Dancer, winner of the open class with Steve Hanks, finished as the reserve grand champion with owner Mark Catron driving. Beth Barksdale and Boogieman took the victory pass in the Road Horse Under Saddle class.

Seven top ponies competed in their Roadster Pony Championship and the familiar team of Vivacious EF and Mary Daughtry were named the winners in the competitive class. Vivacious also won the four-entry open class. Doris Crumpler and Heartland Captivator were the reserve grand champions for North Star Farm, after having taken the title in the amateur qualifier. Seize The Moment and Susan Harris added another title to their list this season with the win in the Amateur Roadster Pony Stake. Brooks Irvin and Hallelujah took the amateur reserve tricolor.

Rebekah Cloninger added to her successful season with Dun-Haven's Grandiose by capturing the junior exhibitor championship in a competitive seven-entry class. Dun-Haven's Grandiose also won the junior exhibitor qualifier under the direction of Lewis Eckard. Catch The Spirit and Dustin Lassett put together the winning team effort to claim the blue in the AHHS Roadster Pony Medallion class. They also took the junior exhibitor reserve grand championship title for Jean Myers.

China Princess gave Dustin Deaton a blue ribbon after Lewis Eckard drove the pony to the title in the UPHA Roadster Pony Classic. Jeb Boyd's new pony Heartland Wild Thunder won the Southeastern Hackney Futurity Three-Year-Old Roadster Pony class under the direction of Steve Hanks Stables. Paige Owen drove Let's Take A Chance to the winner's circle in the limit class for owner Kathy Humphries. Myra Williams directed her daughter to the win. Christina Markunas was on board Sinbad for the win in the under saddle class.

Hackney and Harness

Jason Harrell put Leslie Minard and Tete-A-Tete in the ring for the Harness Pony Championship after Minard drove to wins in both the Amateur Harness Pony Stake and amateur qualifier for 21st Century Morgans. Tete-A-Tete added the open stake tricolor to the LaMirage weekend total. Irish Rhythm was the Harness Pony Reserve Grand Champion with owner Curtis Joyner in the viceroy.

The ponies from Bent Tree Farm racked up several wins by the show's end and Night Editor was one of the winning entries. Lee Hudson drove for the open qualifier blue ribbon. Jack Richards drove Psycho to the reserve finish in the amateur stake and open reserve grand champion Irish Rhythm claimed the blue ribbon in the limit class.

Amateur qualifier winner Mercedes Ben finished on top in the Hackney Pony Championship with owner Charlotte Carter driving. Carter showed under the Renn Brook Farm banner. RDA's Be My Valentine took the reserve grand championship with Carolyn Whitfield driving. Bagheira added another blue ribbon to the Bent Tree total when Bret Day named the pony the winner of the Hackney Pony Open class. Maurice won the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic to add yet another blue to the Bent Tree total.

Heartland High Time and Rita Camp turned in the winning effort in the Hackney Pleasure Pony Driving Championship under the direction of Boone's Farm and Stables. Excessive, showing from Heads Up! Academy, was the pleasure driving reserve grand champion with Andrea Adams driving. Heartland High Time won the qualifier with Rita Camp before returning to capture the stake win.

Aimee Harrell went to the winner's circle with Twin Oak Phoenix in the AHHS Pleasure Pony Driving Youth Medallion class. Harrell drove for owners Don and Sharon Rhoton. Plasir was the blue ribbon recipient in the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic for Bent Tree Farm. Pleasure

Make It Magic turned in an explosive performance with Katherine Hansil to top the very deep field in the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship. Hansil rode under the direction of her mother Margaret Gardiner of Longacre Stables. Myra Williams directed Jen Short and The Special Heir to the hard fought reserve grand championship. The class, with 11 hardworking entries, was one of the most competitive of the show. Marie Gwinn and Callaway's No Problem won the seven-entry qualifier under the direction of Boone's Farm and Stables.

The junior exhibitors, with their gaited pleasure horses, entertained the crowd as well in their class. CH My Korbel and Victoria Woodruff won the class under the direction of Heather Boodey and topped four other teams for the win.

The adult three-gaited pleasure exhibitors faced even bigger classes in their division with 14 entries in the adult championship. Sally Lawing and CH Absolutely A Lady went to the winner's circle in the big class. Manhattan Tea Time and Emily Glover followed in the championship ribbon count. Lauren Camp celebrated her birthday at the show and was presented with a new MMX saddle as well as the blue ribbon in the adult pleasure qualifier. Camp rode A Promise Keeper for the win.

Debbie Palmer, of Maple Top Stables, rode Dream To Remember to the blue ribbon in the amateur owned and trained pleasure class.

Eight junior exhibitors put on a great show for the crowd in their 14-17 pleasure championship and It's Yabba Dabba Doo Time made it two for two with the win after also winning the 14-17 qualifier under the direction of Mary Ann Harris. Simbara's Son Of A Gun claimed the reserve tricolor with Olivia Munn up for Brett and Olivia Munn.

CH Future Treasure and Caitlin Leith added another tricolor to their list this season by going to the top of the card in the 13 and Under Three-Gaited Pleasure Junior Exhibitor Championship. Leith's win put another tricolor on the Ingleside tack room wall. She also took the blue in the 13 and under class. Myra Williams placed the reserve tricolor on the bridle of Master Gold Card after Kerrie Fersch rode to the reserve grand championship. Fersch's reserve grand championship win came after her victory in the deep nine-entry novice rider class.

Sultan's Hidden Treasure moved up in the ribbons to win the seven-entry 12 and Under Walk and Trot Pleasure Championship with Amanda Tompkins riding for Allison Sargent. All I Do Is Dream took the reserve victory pass with Cara Wolfe up from Heads Up! Academy. Wolfe also won the seven-entry qualifier.

Jeanette Jones drove E.F. Quorums to a clean sweep of the pleasure pony driving division. Shadrack, with Harry Britt on the lines, was the reserve grand champion.

Devon Broughton drove her CH Nite Lite to the win in the Show Pleasure Driving Championship for a big move up in the ribbons. Ro-Day-O, with owner Rheanne Green, was the reserve winner in the championship and took the blue ribbon in the qualifier.

Marie Gwinn had a great weekend with her several entries including CF Star At First Sight. Gwinn rode CF Star At First Sight to the winner's circle in the largest class of the show, the 17-entry Adult Country Pleasure Championship. Marion Bryan, from Cash Lovell Stables, teamed her mare Lady Mysterious to the reserve title in the huge class. They also won the competitive 16-entry adult qualifier. Debbie Palmer and Bonnie Santana finished in the top three for Maple Top. CF Star At First Sight also won the amateur owned class and topped five other teams for the victory.

The junior exhibitors put on great shows for the crowd in their classes and although their classes weren't quite as large as the adult division, they were competitive and well filled.

Brooklyn Beau and Sierra Moon moved up in the ribbons and topped the eight-entry Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Country Pleasure Championship. Worthy's Esther and Sara Roberson finished as the reserve grand champions. Magnolia Stables celebrated Finn MacCumhail's first blue ribbon after the big gelding carried Aimee Austin to the winner's circle in the six-entry 14-17 qualifier.

Attache's Irish Wine swept the 13 and under division with Rebekah Cloninger riding under the direction of Drowning Creek Farm. Callaway's By Gosh By Golly claimed the reserve tricolor in the seven-entry 13 and under championship with Katelin Wensley up. Beth Miller and Sassy McCaw faced a big group of 14 in the novice rider class on their way to the winner's circle.

Ron Cook and He's Real Bad added two more ribbons to the Cash Lovell Stables total by winning both the Country Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier. Asa's Wild Card, from Woodbridge Farm, was the reserve grand champion with owner Susan Mutter.

The western country pleasure division keeps getting bigger and 12 teams came through the gate in the Western Country Pleasure Championship. Rum Tum Tigger topped the 12-entry qualifier before returning in the stake to make it two for two under the direction of Steve Hanks. Beaux Radiant Empire and Pat Yeatts put together the reserve grand championship effort. Tatum Faithful and Liquid Trust added another blue ribbon to their career win list by topping the five-entry junior exhibitor class.


Saturday evening's Saddle Seat Equitation Championship was especially poignant. Aimee Austin and Sarah-Ann Howell have faced each other many times on the Carolinas circuit, often trading places in the winner's circle. Both girls took their final rides in the 17 and under equitation division Saturday night. With family, friends and trainers looking on, the girls performed their rail work and work outs for the last time. Both girls were poised and elegant in their performances, but when the card was turned in, it was Sarah-Ann Howell who went to the winner's circle.

Howell closed out a stellar career with yet another championship title under her belt directed by her only equitation instructor Liz McBride Jones. Austin finished as the reserve grand champion, directed by Robert Lucas, to close out a successful season and rewarding equitation career. A very emotional McBride-Jones met Howell in the winner's circle to pin the winning ribbon for the last time. Howell also won the 17 and under qualifier. Laura Byrd, also instructed by McBride Jones, won the UPHA Challenge Cup.

Three 10 and under riders performed in their walk and trot championship. Hanna Norwood took the tricolor, followed by Kate Lovejoy from Chestnut Lane. Lovejoy also won the 10 and under qualifier. Laura Byrd won the 17 and Under Pleasure Equitation class under the Forever Farm banner.


Rhett, with Christie Van As, won the Southeastern Hackney Futurity (SEHF) Two-Year-Old Stallion and Gelding class for Bent Tree Farm. Miss Scarlet, also from Bent Tree, won the mare class with Lee Hudson showing. Aragron won the yearling stallion and gelding class for Bent Tree and Carolina Girl won the yearling filly class with owner Larry Crisco.

Overnight Success was the weanling stallion and gelding champion with Lee Hudson. Renan Carter showed Fork Creek Star Search to the blue ribbon in the weanling filly class for Renn Brook Farm. James River Rogue took the win in the MASF Weanling In-Hand class with Bob Bratton showing for Dr. and Mrs. Ron Miller.

Morgan English Pleasure

The Morgan division was well supported by several different barns, many of which just returned from competing in Oklahoma at the Grand National and World Championship Horse Show.

Krista Dent rode AKM Manhattan to the grand championship title in the Morgan English Pleasure Championship after having won the ladies' class. Dent rode for owner Sally Lawing. AFF Elusive Dream was the reserve grand champion with Jason Harrell up for Randy and Cynthia Flynt. Tristanne Weber teamed Flintlock's That Girl to the blue ribbon in the open class for Pete and Gail Jaeger. AFF Rooster Cogburn and Mary Cannon had a busy weekend and they left the ring in the Amateur English Pleasure Stake with the tricolor ribbon. Sally Lawing rode her AKM Manhattan to the win in the amateur qualifier.

Josh Miller, directed by Scott Thacker, won the Junior Exhibitor Stake with JW Masquerade Miss for Whistle Stop Farm. AFF Elusive Dream, with Chelsea Flynt on board, was the junior exhibitor reserve grand champion after winning the qualifier.

LaMirage Stables trainer Jason Harrell took the winning trip in the Junior/Limit English Pleasure Stake with Merriehill Local Talent. Harrell rode for owner Simply Southern. RGR Reality Check finished with the reserve tricolor with trainer Chris Nelson up for Mary Moore. Reality Check claimed the blue ribbon in the five-entry junior/novice qualifier with Nelson.

Morgan Classic Pleasure

O.H. Relentless and owner Jo Nell Harrison won both the Classic Pleasure Stake and qualifier and topped five other teams for both victories. CHR Artistry In Motion and Mary Cannon finished in second place in the stake and won the ladies qualifier and limit class.

JAJ Capriole's Sir Walter had a long list of top ribbons for the weekend including Emory Sykes' wins in both the 12 and Under Walk and Trot Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Sykes was directed to her wins by Martha Perry. Rebecca Jones rode FCL Just A Miracle to the reserve stake ribbon.

Jo Nell Harrison went back to the winner's circle with her versatile O.H. Relentless. Harrison won the Classic Pleasure Driving Championship and open class. Repeat Offender and Sharon Davis were reserve in the classic driving stake.

Pleasure Driving

Junior/Limit winner Captivation Of Fox Ridge, owned by Patricia Wyatt, won the Pleasure Driving Championship with Chris Nelson in the buggy. Mary Daughtry and Hollybrook Indian Brave teamed up to take the reserve tricolor after having won the open class.

Leslie Minard and Castleridge Simply Above, in their final show ring appearance, won the Amateur Pleasure Driving Championship for 21st Century Morgans. As Castleridge Simply Above took the victory pass, it was announced to the crowd that he was being retired. Jason Harrell directed Minard and Simply Above to their previous win in the open class. Hollybrook Indian Brave was the amateur reserve grand champion.

Hunter Pleasure

JAJ Capriole's Sir Walter went back to the winner's circle, but this time with Susan Sykes in the irons, when judge Bill Parker named them the winners of the Hunter Pleasure Championship. They also won the amateur stake, amateur qualifier and the open qualifier. HVK Hard Rock was the Hunter Pleasure Reserve Grand Champion with Tristanne Weber showing for Marilyn North.

Kelly Michael teamed Mr. Brioger Bombey to the reserve title in the amateur stake. T Towne Tiara added another blue to the LaMirage total with the win in the junior exhibitor class with Kelsey Moore. Krista Dent and Providence First Command closed out the ribbon count in the hunter division with their win in the Junior/Limit Horse class. First Command topped six other entries on the way to the winner's circle.

Western Pleasure

Jo Nell Harrison continued her winning streak with her W.B. Enticement mare. Harrison and Enticement won the Western Pleasure Championship, amateur class and amateur owned class. GVF Radiant Command, with Joe Anne Jones up, was the winner of the eight-entry open class before returning to take the reserve title in the open stake under the direction of Jason Harrell. Jones also rode to the tricolor victory in the amateur stake. Savenac's Commodore won the ladies' class with owner Shelia England riding. DAF Amazing Grace was the amateur reserve grand champion with Carlette Hunt riding. Swan's Genuine Trust took the final ribbon in the western pleasure division with the blue ribbon ride in the junior exhibitor class. Fran Williford rode for owner Kay Williford.

The North Carolina State Fair Horse Show featured top competitors from the Saddlebred, Morgan, Hackney and Roadster divisions. The show always allows the Carolina show season to conclude on a high note and after a season of strong competition and tough battles on the Carolinas circuit exhibitors now wind down to start preparing for next year.

This highlights the North Carolina State Fair Horse Show. Complete results follow and they can also be seen, searched and printed out from our web site at

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