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Crowds Keep Bringing Exhibitors Back To Roanoke Valley

Judge: Renee Lavery
Ringmaster: Bill Whitley
Announcer: Richard Morgan
Photographer: Doug Shiflet
Ringmaster/Hornblower: Vern Serex
Organist: Jane Frye
Executive Director: June Camper
Manager: Glenn Petty
Assistant Manager: Andrew Ellis
Office: Scarlett Mattson, Sue Tallon, Jane Labyack and Becca Mispel
Videographer: Horse Videos, Inc.

by Katherine Hansil

SALEM, Va.- The Roanoke Valley Horse Show is something that should be experienced by everyone. If you ask why you would drive all that way to show in what some consider a small but air conditioned ring and be stalled in only temporary stalls, you will get the same answer over and over…because you get to show in front of a crowd. And it is not just an exhibitor/trainer/owner crowd, it is a crowd from the community and over 25,000 people come during the week to watch.

The Roanoke Valley Horse Show now in its 35th year was held June 19-24 and is an event for the area. Benefiting area charities including the Bradley Free Clinic, it provided an education for spectators during the week showing them various breeds from Saddlebreds, roadsters, Hackneys, hunters and jumpers, Quarter Horses, racking horses, walking horses, Friesians and more. Every evening from Tuesday to Friday the jumpers began the session which drew the crowd in and also allowed the Saddlebreds, roadsters and Hackneys to show once the summer heat had cooled off. On Monday and Tuesday the speed demons of barrel racing showed off their talents. On Thursday tons of little ones came to race their stick horses and on Friday one of the most favorite events, the Jack Russell Terrier races, were held. Friday evening closed with a scrumptious breakfast for exhibitors sponsored by Leatherwood Stud. Saturday evening was a little different as the Saddlebreds, roadsters and Hackneys showed first and then the $50,000 Grand Prix was held and was an event not to be missed.

For the past four years, Aaron Vale has won the event and this year it looked to be the same as the he was in the lead with one rider to go in the jump off. But as most know it is not over until it is over. The last rider, Mary Lisa Leffler, entered the ring aboard her white horse Gerona 92. As she began her round the tension mounted as the crowd watched the clock and this team going with a clean round. When Leffler pulled up, to everyone’s astonishments she finish two tenths of second ahead of Vale, winning the top prize and bragging rights in the Grand Prix.

That was excitement but then so was the show for the Saddlebreds, roadster, Hackneys, equitation and Friesians as well. In the Five-Gaited Championship the crowd got a thrill as the teams dueled compared to the likes of CH Sky Watch and CH Imperator. What was even greater to see was the proven sportsmanship shown because when the battle was over Matt Shiflet and Roger Meade shook hands while still in the saddle. Top quality horses filled the full schedule of classes from stables from Kentucky, New Hampshire, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Even in the middle of the show season new teams emerged victorious and old favorites found new ways to wow us. After it was all said and done on Saturday evening, Meadow Wood Stables hosted their annual party with yummy food and a chance for everyone to catch up on the week’s worth of competition.


In the Five-Gaited Championship the crowd, which was made up primarily of the community, got a treat as three exciting entries made the gate call. As each team found its gear the crowd got behind their favorites. Then Leatherwood’s Encore with Matt Shiflet and Champagne Property with Roger Meade began their duel as they went side by side, racking the straightaways with the applause from the crowd getting louder and louder. Not to be left out Latté, who has really blossomed in her new division, with Steve Gassen also made super passes for owner Brenda Kelly. As in the qualifier, the judge’s nod in the championship went to the handsome Leatherwood’s Encore for Diamond View. Reserve went to the flashy Champagne Property for Jan Frame. Latté rounded out the ribbons in the championship. This elegant mare also earned a competitive reserve ribbon in the novice qualifier. The blue ribbon in that class went to the sporty Major Starbuck with Bret Day aboard for Coe and Bill London.

Diamond View continued its success in the amateur division as well. Kami Kazi and Hayden Bracknell garnered the tricolor in the competitive championship. Earlier in the week this team earned the red ribbon in the ladies qualifier. Winning the ladies qualifier was the tried and true Margaret Rose with her owner Peggy Gillenwater in the irons. This team returned in the amateur championship to take home the reserve title with yet another consistent performance. Winning the amateur qualifier was the Roger Meade-trained Star Dreamer with Darlene Rose aboard. The West Wind team of All Stirred Up and Stefanie Sanchez earned the amateur qualifier red ribbon.

Harlem’s Worldly Lady topped the competitive Virginia Owned Five-Gaited with Ronnie Graham presenting for Fish N’ Fun Farms. Reserve honors went to the new team of Talk About Attitude and Kathie Constable.

Grant Shiflet had quite a week and it all started with his performance aboard Callaway’s Cover Page. This is another new gaited horse that Grant has teamed up with and presented with expertise. Aboard this handsome horse Grant swept the junior exhibitor division. Reserve in the championship went to the Diamond View team of I’m Fantabulous and Elizabeth Rhoades. Reserve qualifying honors went to the new team of He’s The Man and Allison Combs. In their only appearance they had a dynamic performance proving they are a team to keep an eye out for.

It is hard to describe the performance turned in by Platinum’s New Look other than to say wow. This flashy, compact horse just kept getting bigger and bigger with each pass but then never seemed to move his high headset at all. With Smith Lilly expertly presenting this Platinum Stock-owned entry he won the Junior Five-Gaited. Not to be left behind though was another talented horse, Stonecroft Sundial. Fresh off a reserve title at Asheville this horse continues to grow with Bo Lucas aboard for Heck Newton.

Worthy’s World To Know topped the competitive UPHA class with Rob Turner in the irons. This talented horse, now at his second show, is coming into his own. He is owned by Rob Turner and Holli Esposito and is out of the same dam, Worthy’s Sightline, as Esposito’s beloved Sightline. However this grand colt’s sire is For What’s It’s Worth. Reserve honors went back to Sue Nifong’s breeding program as Watch Out Now and Smith Lilly garnered the red streamers.

Kate Spade and Mia Wilson turned in two outstanding performances to sweep the five-gaited pony division under the direction of Desiree and Adam Clauson. Reserve in the championship went to the bold Little Lord Huntley and Andrea Wolkoff. Camille Cowart was all smiles as she presented Small Packages to the red ribbon in the qualifier.


Rob Turner turned in quite a show with the elegant, high-stepping Mild Emotion to win the Three-Gaited Championship for Sandra Provanzano. The newly trimmed Joker’s Wild earned the reserve championship honor with Jon Walker. Earlier in the week this team won the
Virginia owned qualifier for owners Jan and Bob Gunn. Reserve in the Virginia owned class went to Periaptor’s Dancing Star and Dr. Teresa Miller. In their only appearance You Move Me and Smith Lilly won the open qualifier for Robin McKenzie Vuillermet.

MJB High Fire and Phyllis Brookshire were reunited this season going two-for-two for owner Heck Newton. This team not only won the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship but earlier in the week won the ladies qualifier for the Johnny Lucas and Sons Stables banner. Reserve in the championship went to the toppy Sightline with Holli Esposito in the irons. This team also earned the reserve in the amateur qualifier. Esposito had a busy week as she also presented Mild Emotion to the red ribbon in the ladies qualifier. Winning the amateur class was Stonecutter with Sarah MacKenna presenting for Alexa Martini.  

Whitney Bennett expertly presented Powerful Tango to the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship win for Dr. Merrell Magelli and under the direction of Scott Perrelli. Earlier this team was reserve in the 14-17 qualifier. Winning the 14-17 qualifier was the elegant CH Absolutely Exquisite and Tara Grom. Reserve in the championship went to the new team of CH She’s An Asset and Jackie Hyman. Teamed together by Susi and Bret Day they had a terrific first show together proving they are contenders in this division. Another new team, Tipitina and Michaela Evans, topped the 13 and under qualifier in their only performance appearance together. Lady Latte and Lexi Rueff earned the reserve ribbon in the 13 and under qualifier and returned for a strong third in the combined championship.

The newly trimmed Tres Chic and Bret Day continued Hy Horse Farm’s success as they topped the Novice-Three-Gaited. Reserve went to Gypsy Diamond and Harrison Shiflet. Kid Durango and Bill Shiflet garnered the win the junior class with Absolute Splendor and Doug Wooten in for reserve. In the UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited, the Catalyst-bred Heads Will Turn with Smith Lilly presenting earned the blue for T & T Saddlebreds.

The Attaché Orchid and Holly Wilson earned their first sweep together as they had two bold performances in the three-gaited pony division. S.S. Catch My Act and Taylor Young earned both red ribbons under the direction of Betsy Webb.


Perfect Vengeance had two perfect performances with trainer Michael Richardson in the irons. This talented and flashy liver chestnut garnered the tricolor and the qualifying blue in the open park division for Kim and Bob Grom’s Revelation Farms. Phinest Heirloom had a comeback performance with David Cater earning the reserve championship title for Donna O’Keefe. In the qualifier, hometown favorite CH Callaway’s B. Gratz Brown with Nancy Troutman received the red ribbon for owners Karin and Bill Banks.

Mystery Guest and Diane Tambussi continued the success from L.M. Turner Stables as they had two flawless performances to sweep the amateur park division. Force Majeure and Julie Simmons marched down the rail earning both reserve titles.

Last year in this very division Anna Stoddard earned the win the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park with Native Kat. This year she repeated that feat but this time with Callaway’s Forever Young and she returned to win the championship too. She presented this awesome entry for owners Grace and Danny Boone under the direction of Johnny Lucas and Sons Stables. Reserve championship honors went to Central Park West and Sarah Bennett. In the qualifier Swoosh and Marli Dabareiner received the red streamers for Stephanie Tamn.

My Minuet and Ronnie Graham topped the Junior Three-Gaited Park for Fish N’ Fun Farms. Mountainview’s Steel My Heart received the reserve honors with owner Leslie Tickle in the irons.

Fine Harness

The Social Butterfly and Candy Hyman were elegant and refined as they paraded around the arena with The Social Butterfly’s legs floating. This team swept the open division under the direction of Susi and Bret Day. Shamrock’s Asagi and Andre Fourie earned both red ribbons for the ownership of Graham/Keatley.

In their only performance Mother Mary and Lora Johnstone put together an outstanding show to win the Amateur Fine Harness. Reserve in this class went to Callaway’s Whirligig with Sue Spann on the lines.

Anadon’s Ruth and Matt Shiflet earned the blue in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness for Monty and Carl Hess. Reserve went to Roseridge’s Take It Slow and Michael Richardson for Revelation Farms. Winning the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness was Transformer and Ronnie Graham for Fish N’ Fun Farms with Hang A Left and Art Stafford earning the reserve for Ted Graham.


Ronnie Graham earned another title for Fish N’ Fun Farms as he presented Postmaster Mike to the win in the Roadster To Bike Championship. Jesse James and David Cunningham received the blue ribbon in the qualifier for Harry Chapman. Reserve in both the championship and qualifier went to Joanna’s Lost and Rae Lee Mills for Jason Stoltzfus. GCH Kentucky Wildcat and Jon Dabareiner put on a fast-paced show to win the Amateur Roadster To Bike.

David Cunningham was back in the spotlight as he swept the open road pony division with Jubilee’s Power Play. Bali Hai and Jack Richards earned both red ribbons. Cappuccino and Brenda Kelly were in top form to win not only the amateur qualifier but also the amateur championship under the direction of Steve Gassen. Both red ribbons went back to Fish N’ Fun with Lisa Dabareiner presenting Sweet Impression. Normally Dabareiner’s daughter Marli presents this proven pony but this week she turned over the lines as trainer Ronnie Graham loaned her the lines on Heartland Special Special. With Marli at the helm this thrilling pony added junior exhibitor to the list as they swept the division with great speed and style. Miss Scarlett and Anna Hudson took home both reserve titles for Bent Tree Farm.

In the novice class Radiant’s Spitfire added another title to the Beaver Brook logo as David Cunningham presented for the wins. Night Predator and Lee Hudson earned the red ribbon for Bent Tree Farms. These two trainers flip-flopped in the junior class with Lee Hudson earning the blue with Aragron, and David Cunningham receiving the red with Radiant’s Spitfire.

Caitlin Leith was on hand to catch ride Bagheira to the win in the AHHS Road Pony Under Saddle Medallion for Bent Tree Farm. Rolex and Leigh Kauffelt earned the reserve title.

Crystal Creek’s Commander had two flawless performances winning the Harness Pony Championship and the junior qualifier with Carl Nichols on the lines. Reserve in the championship and the amateur qualifier went to Psycho and Jack Richards. Winning the amateur qualifier was Rhett with Anna Hudson presenting for Bent Tree Farm.

Lee Hudson was on the lines to sweep the Hackney division with Mark In Time for Bent Tree Farm. In the competitive pleasure driving pony division, Heartland Parade Time and Tamra Arndt added two more wins to their list as they swept the championship and qualifier. Portrait Of A Lady and Barbara Pippin were picture perfect earning both red ribbons. SRT’s Ho Beau won the AHHS Medallion with J.W. Jackson, with Boxford Grand Expectation and Anna Hudson in reserve for Elizabeth Kuykendall.


Brooke Jacobs had a comeback ride aboard Callaway’s English Toffee to win the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship. Winners of the qualifier, I Found My Champagne and Sarah MacKenna, returned to receive the red ribbon in the championship for the West Wind banner. Oscar De La Hoya and Stacey Allen had a solid ride for the reserve title in the qualifier.

Grant Shiflet was in the irons to win the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship with Callaway’s Up A Creek. Wild Wonderful and Suzanna Crews turned in two great rides to earn both red ribbons. In the qualifier the blue went to the new team of Callaway’s New Day and Megan Graham in their first blue ribbon in this division. They ride under the direction of Mercer Springs.

Winning the Open Three-Gaited Park Pleasure was Co-Ed’s Impressive Lady. This talented mare was presented in her only appearance by Rob Turner for Mrs. Paul Rice. Coming from the Leatherwood breeding program, Leatherwood’s Sassafras earned the red ribbon with Scott Perrelli presenting.

Rob Turner was back in the winner’s circle, this time in the Junior Three-Gaited Park Pleasure with Erika Faulkner’s Charm’s Choice. Starshine’s Golden Harvest and Ronnie Mullins earned the red ribbon for Darlene Mannix. Lenore’s Geronimo and Smith Lilly topped the UPHA Three-Gaited Park Pleasure for Lenore Farms. The Turner/Esposito entry Charm’s Top Cat garnered the red streamers with Jessica Savinelli in the irons.

The striking Horace Taft presented by Janet Sterba had two outstanding performances to sweep the 40 and over three-gaited show pleasure division. In the championship Ann Jones presented Nothing But Class to the reserve title. In the qualifier the reserve title went to Emanating and Dr. Melinda Snyder. In the 18-39 division My Southern Charm and Brooke Jacobs moved up a notch to claim the win in the championship with a solid performance. The Royal Lad also moved up a place to earn the reserve title in the championship. Winning the qualifier was the team of CH In Neon ERB and Jamie Hitchin for the Clover Leaf banner.

The team of Holy Grail and Brittany McNamara have really come together over the past several shows. Fresh off a championship win at Chattanooga, they began their week with the reserve in the 14-17 qualifier. In the championship they returned to garner the tricolor for the Betsy Webb Stables banner. Another new team, Thomas Edison and Stephanie Miller also turned in a super ride to claim the reserve championship honor. Winning the qualifier was Callaway’s Torch Bearer and Tara Grom in their only appearance.

Maggie Camp may have had first-time jitters but in the championship she overcame them to have a comeback ride aboard Lenore’s Royal Flush to win the 13 and under championship for the Shadow Run banner. Tori White and Salute To Champagne also had a comeback ride moving up several places to garner the reserve championship title. Memories Of Memphis, the young four-year-old star of the group, was the winner of the qualifier with Caroline Rose in the irons. Callaway’s By Gosh By Golly and Karly Morgan earned the reserve in the qualifier.

Affair Of State and April Dunn were the winners of the Virginia owned class with Touch The Clouds and Jennifer Crozier in for reserve.

Santana’s Flaming Dawn and Camille Cowart had two first-rate rides to win the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Pony Championship and qualifier. Will’s Princess and Kendell Stuart earned both red ribbons.

Native Kat and Madison Cheatham had two great rides to sweep the 12 and under walk and trot pleasure division under the direction of Jon Walker. Reserve championship honors went to Law Me and Holly Hein, with The Chesapeake Bay and Austin Hazelwood earning the red in the qualifier.

Candle Dan continues to dominate the show pleasure driving division and this week was no exception. This fabulous horse added two more titles to the list as he was expertly presented by Carl Nichols. Reserve championship honors went to Stevie Nicks and Pat Yeatts while their stablemate CH Unforgiven, catch driven by Carol Reedy, earned the reserve in the qualifier. CH Highpoint’s Coming Attraction and Kaelyn Donnelly won the ASHAF Youth Show Pleasure Driving Challenge class as they prepare for the finals.

Country Pleasure

Co-Star’s Irish Blend had a busy week as she proved her versatility in both the adult and junior exhibitor divisions. This gifted horse from the L.M. Turner string is owned by the partnership of Libby/Hight. The first sweep came in the junior exhibitor division as Emily Bovenzi was in the irons to win the 13 and under qualifier and then returned to win the age combined junior exhibitor championship. Holly Tumiel had her turn in the irons to sweep the adult division with two flawless performances. But the titles did not stop there for the L.M. Turner group as Callaway’s One More Round and Vicki Wyman earned the reserve title in the adult championship. In the adult qualifier the reserve title went to Shamrock’s Rebekah and Stephanie Gonyaw.

Winning the 14-17 qualifier and returning for the reserve in the age combined junior exhibitor championship was the Diamond View team of Lucky Curve with Whitney Bennett for owner Marie Campbell. L.A. Gulf Breeze and Jenna Norton captured the red ribbon in the 14-17 qualifier under the direction of Harrison Shiflet. Micaela Evans was aboard Prodigy’s Pride to earn the 13 and under qualifying reserve title for RSM Farms LP.

Terry Wilson was thrilled with her performance and win in the Virginia Owned Country Pleasure aboard her beloved By Design. No Heirrors and Karly Morgan took the reserve title.

Really Worth It and Anita Simpson debuted in their new division, country pleasure driving, capturing the championship tricolor under the direction of Mercer Springs. Earlier they earned the qualifying reserve. Winning the qualifier was Crystal Creek’s Strawberry Jam and Kathryn Nichols in their only appearance. Blue Right Through and Marci Vangerven received the reserve championship title.

The American Flag and Suzanne Bradshaw had two magnificent performances winning the Western Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Reserve championship honors went to Callaway’s Son Of A Son and Alicia Patrick. In the qualifier the red ribbon went to Heir Cooled and Sallie Turner-Tonguet. Pat Yeatts added another belt buckle to her collection as she and Beaux’s Radiant Empire won the Saddle & Bridle’s Shatner Western Country Pleasure. Reserve honors went to The King Of Wishful Thinking and Melanie Carroll.


Kahla Buthlay returned Saturday evening to win the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship under the direction of Cricket Hill. Aboard Maximillian’s Court she also earned the reserve title in the Pleasure Equitation. Winning the Pleasure Equitation was Anna Hormann aboard Jabez. Instructed by Shadow Run, Hormann also won the USEF Medal and returned for the reserve title in the championship.

In her only appearance Cheyenne Mabey topped the 13 and under qualifier under the direction of Cardinal Farms. Kerry Jeffries from Windy Hill captured the reserve ribbon. Tara Grom aboard CH Absolutely Exquisite topped the UPHA Challenge Cup.

In the UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup Hannah Knapp earned the win under the direction of Mercer Springs, after accepting the red ribbon earlier in the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation. Winning the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation was Alexa Flint instructed by Diamond View. She returned to take home the reserve in the UPHA class.


Ashley Walker thrilled the crowd with her fabulous performance aboard Tessa Van De Zuiderwaa to sweep the under saddle championship and qualifier for Pam Jackson’s Shady Nook Farm. Another entry from Shady Nook Farm, Gregor Vom Eichenhof Oldenburg, earned both reserve titles with Jocelyn Brock presenting.

This concludes the highlights from Roanoke Valley. Complete results can be found by clicking on SHOW RESULTS.

Special Presentations at Roanoke Valley
(Editor’s note: The following two presentations were made by show manager Glenn Petty on Friday evening.)

Doug Shiflet Honored For Years Of Service

This evening I am honored on our 35th anniversary to acknowledge a family member of the Roanoke Valley Horse Show. You have seen this person in every class for 27 years. His work gives us memories of a lifetime. Please give a warm welcome to Doug Shiflet.

Roanoke Valley Hall Of Fame

Lowell Gobble came to
Roanoke in September 1960 as the VA Tech 4-H Extension Agent. In 1962, he established the Roanoke Valley 4-H Horse program with much enthusiasm among its youth and their parents. By the late 1960s it seemed that everyone wanted to become part of the exciting horse world, but few adults were knowledgeable about horses. This is where Lowell Gobble took the lead. The VA Tech Extension Service sponsored a series of six clinics on successive Tuesday evenings during March and April in 1969 at Hollins College, Lakeland Stables, Lauderdale Stables and three sessions at the Salem Civic Center. During those six weeks, the Roanoke Valley Horsemen’s Association was also organized with Jack Mautsby serving as an appointed chairman. From its conceptions in 1969 until 1998, Lowell Gobble served as the Educational Advisor for the Horsemen’s Association. In September 1991, Lowell retired from Extension with 32 years of service. He remained active with RVHA and was elected to its board in 1998. He has served every year since then and now serves as the RVHS President.

Lowell has not only dedicated himself to the Roanoke Valley Horsemen’s Association, but he has been a committed part of the Roanoke Valley Horse Show since before its beginning. Along with Dr. Rice, Lowell was there when the idea of an indoor horse show in the Valley was discussed. And he was there to negotiate with the city of Salem on the details of obtaining enough land space to accommodate all the stalls. Lowell has only missed one horse show in the past 35 years, and you will always find him on the show grounds weeks before it begins, the entire week of the show and the week after, taking care of various details and work crews.

When asked where he’s from, Lowell has been known to say, “I’m from the Roanoke area – maybe you’ve heard of our horse show!” This show is as big a part of him as it is to the Roanoke Valley!

I’d like to present this year’s
Roanoke Valley’s Horse Show Hall Of Fame Inductee: Lowell M. Gobble.

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