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Mercer County Fair and Horse Show... Steeped in tradition



by Christy Howard Parsons

HARRODSBURG, Ky. - Mercer County is steeped in tradition. Townspeople are serious about protecting their architecture, their history and their horse show. The Mercer County Fair and Horse Show is the longest continuous-running horse show in the United States. To celebrate this fact, this year four members were inducted into the inaugural Mercer County Horse Show Hall of Fame.

Saturday night a touching presentation to the families of Garland Bradshaw, Earl Teater, Tom Moore and the Freeman Brothers (Edwin and Marshall Freeman) was a fitting tribute to the history of the American Saddlebred. Much of that history is centered in Harrodsburg, Ky. (See separate edit for this presentation.)

Another tradition at the show is the Racking and Pacing class. This year’s class on Saturday night was the largest ever causing the class to be split into two divisions with 10 entries returning for the final face off. Hooting and hollering from the crowd made each entry go faster and faster until finally judge Billy Greenwell had seen enough. Each entry left the ring to the applause of the crowd.

In addition to the horse show, the fair features the traditional rides, fair food and livestock shows. This year there was also the addition of the motor sports arena where monster truck pulls and demolition derbies took place every night. It was big time in Harrodsburg!

Six hundred and thirty-five entries were on hand for what turned out to be a very competitive horse show. With 83 classes on the four-day schedule, the classes averaged eight entries each. The adult show pleasure class had 28 entries and had to be split into two sessions of 14.

Longtime photographer, the late John Alexander each year sponsored the Samuel Davenport Award to recognize the most competitive and cooperative barn at the show. In keeping with this tradition his wife Sue Alexander continued the award this year and Adam and Desiree Clausen’s Cardinal Farm was honored in center ring.

Another time honored tradition at the show is the crowd standing to sing My Old Kentucky Home as each five-gaited championship entry is announced into the ring. Many of the Kentucky faithful brought an entry for the class with Debbie Foley, Larry Hodge, Melinda Moore, Mitch Clark, Tammy DeVore, Clark Clouse and others filling the class. Foley has prepared Undulata’s Georgie Girl for Louisville’s five-gaited competition with recent wins at Rock Creek and Lexington, but on this night she brought her own chestnut stallion It’s More Than Likely. It was one more trip to the winners circle for Foley. Mitch Clark earned the reserve ribbon in the good class with Laurel Nelson’s beautiful chestnut Catamaran.

Ladies five-gaited competition was also strong with Jackie Stred showing CH Tigerlee to the winner's circle. Melinda Moore and Cisitalia won the red ribbon for the Burning Tree Farm.

Amateur competition was even tougher if you can imagine. Fresh off a win at Lexington, Elizabeth Shatner and The Full Monty were on their game on Saturday night to top the amateur championship under the Sunrise Stables banner for the Belle Reve Farm. The pair was reserve in the qualifier behind Barbara Manilow and Time Well Spent, another Silver Brook Stables team familiar with the winner's circle. Lisa Holt and Endolane Admiral earned the reserve honors in the championship followed by Katie Raque and Prolific Memories.

Mike McIntosh prepared Leah Rexroth and Cara Clara well. They were on the money to take the eight-entry Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited class for owner Mark Rexroth. Will Harris and his new mount She’s Bedazzled are putting it all together. They earned the reserve honors. Look for more to come from this Infinity prepared team.

Larry Hodge had a strong performance aboard Katie’s Leading Lady to win the junior five-gaited class for owner Paul Rice. George Knight kept things tight by earning the reserve tie with Georgia Baker’s entry Along Came A Spider.

Deborah Butler could not hide her excitement ringside as she saw her beautiful new gray youngster Macy Grey win the UPHA Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic. Steve Wheeler made the beautiful presentation for the Nelson Green Stables. Wyatt DeHart and Hartfelt Legacy were another strong entry to earn reserve honors in the five-entry class for owner Robert Shields.

A class full of novice horses really got the blood going. Tammy DeVore did the honors in the winner’s circle with New York Showtime, a beautiful chestnut gelding by I’m A New Yorker, owned by Theresa Walker. George Knight piloted Princess Shalimar to the reserve honors for Kim Skipton.

Dakota Willimon was on fire all week at Harrodsburg with many trips to the winner’s circle on horses from many different barns. She did the honors for the Platinum Stock Farm and trainer Todd Graham aboard Callaway’s Exception To The Rule in the Five-Gaited Pony class. Talented young rider Maguire Hall did a good job to earn reserve honors aboard Little Lord Huntley.

Three-gaited competition was equally competitive with a full range of classes offered. Seven beautiful walk-trot entries were on hand for the Three-Gaited Championship on Saturday night. Renee Biggins and the bright bay gelding CF Burn Out made a lovely picture for the victory pass for owner Rita Wheeler. Melissa Moore rode Caramar to the reserve honors followed by Melinda Moore riding Rich Moore. Biggins Stables also claimed the ladies walk trot title. Missy Hughes rode Simbara’s Cara Mia to the Ladies Three-Gaited honors for owners David and Shirley Ellenberg. Michelle Hartman posted a red ribbon on the Delovely tack room with a strong ride aboard Supreme Inheritance.

Sally Groub Gayeski successfully fended off the field to keep the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship title after winning the qualifier earlier in the week. Gayeski directed Callaway’s Abigail Adams to the two wins for the Double G Farm under the direction of Rob and Sarah Byers. April Richardson and Mo Motlick earned the reserve honors in the championship class under Dena Lopez’s direction. Chris Nalley and CH Nightly Affair won reserve honors in the qualifying class for Jean and Chris Nalley.

Stable mates Betty Cox and Sarah Wood topped the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship. Cox was aboard a horse trained by her father, Carter Cox, for the Jean McLean Davis Trust. Cox made a great ride aboard the beautiful chestnut Man And Mystery to win the championship after earning reserve in the qualifier. Sarah Wood and her Callaway’s Dubonnet took their red ribbon back to the Delovely tack room after the championship ride. Chelsea Ruxer and Send Her Roses topped the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited class held earlier in the week.

Todd Miles topped the Junior Three-Gaited class with Linda Roos' new entry Time For Glory. Rob Byers and Lady Cabernet earned the reserve honors for owner Edna Dix. Chantel Loetzer rode Tableaux to the Novice Three-Gaited title for the Happy Valley Farms and Kalarama. Brian Chappell and Valhalla’s King of Hearts took the red ribbon in the four-entry class for Terri Kearney.

The park horses had a competitive class on Wednesday evening. John Biggins topped this five-entry class with Brennan Baumer’s entry Another Bay. Steve Wheeler and Naughty earned the reserve honors for owner Cindy Maloney.

A large three-gaited pony class featured the lovely Lauren Stone and her Royalty in Black in the winner’s circle. This talented young team is prepared by Tammy DeVore’s Devore Stables. Melissa Milligan and Sarah Katherine were the well-deserved reserve winners riding for Pam and Bruce Milligan.

Already having a fantastic season with wins at Asheville and Lexington Junior League, Simbara’s Sweet Lorraine and Nelson Green put another notch on their belt winning the Fine Harness Championship for Cismont Manor Farm. Dena Lopez and Sass With Class earned reserve honors for the New Millennium Equine Endeavor Inc. Raymond Shively directed a stretchy Doubletree's Class Design to a well deserved third for Don Deardorff.

Only one amateur fine harness entry was on hand, but Kaye Bowles-Durnell never disappoints. She and My Paramour were elegant and made a beautiful solo presentation.

George Knight swept the young fine harness classes with three winning drives. First, he directed Would You Believe It to the junior fine harness title for owner David Osborne. He also directed the Three-Year-Old and Under winner Dancing Men to the winner's circle for the Jean McLean Davis Trust. Finally it was the team ownership of Jean McLean Davis and George Knight that presented He’s The Man to the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness title. Knight may have his hands on junior competition for some time to come.

All three classes for the young harness horses were quite competitive. Melinda Moore and Celtic Storm earned the reserve honors in the junior class for Paula Cline and the Peggy Richardson Estate. Joe T. Smith presented Miss Rare Flare to the Three-Year-Old and Under reserve tie for owner Paula Barr. This talented youngster won the Asheville Lions Club Charity three-year-old title earlier this year. Raymond Shively and River Bat earned the red ribbon in the Two-Year-Old Harness class for the Glasscock family ownership.

Delovely may not be one of the “Kentucky” faithful, but they are certainly faithful to Harrodsburg and the Mercer County Fair. Each year they bring a top string of horses to support the show. This year was no different and Mr. Roadster Raymond Shively did his part to delight the Mercer County crowd. Fresh off two wins at Midwest, Shively directed Invincible Summer to the Open Roadster to Bike and the Roadster to Bike Championship titles for owner Judy McNeish. The Harrodsburg crowd loves roadster competition and they were on their feet to support their favorites.

Danny Bugg and Geronimo earned reserve honors in the eight-entry championship. Debbie Foley and The Dark Side earned reserve honors in the open class for owner Bill Hemminger. Judy McNeish had another Roadster winner in Free Agent. The dynamic duo topped the Ladies Roadster to Bike competition as well as earning reserve in the Roadster to Wagon class. Misdee Wrigley and Guess Who earned the red ribbon in the four-entry ladies class. Danny Bugg made three trips to the winner's circle. First, with amateur winner Gingerbread Man, an entry owned by Melinda Moore. He also directed The Secret’s Out to the Roadster to Wagon title and Bunker Buster to the novice title. William Shatner and Spill The Ink earned reserve honors in the amateur class under Sunrise Stables direction for the Belle Reve Farm. Danette Musselman and Valiant were reserve in the novice class for Alliance Stud.

Dakota Willimon catch drove The Secret’s Out under the Sunrise Stables banner to win the Youth Roadster to Bike title. Delovely’s When & Where earned the reserve spot for the new Crumlell House ownership.

Elizabeth Shatner was back in the winner's circle again after wins at Kentucky Spring Premier, Asheville and Lexington with All Glory, her Roadster Under Saddle champion. Mark Turner followed with a reserve tie aboard When & Where.

Road pony competition attracts almost as much attention from the Harrodsburg crowd, who is obviously hooked on speed. Chris Gantley earned his own fan club with an exciting drive of Mankato on Saturday night for owner Christy Weaver. Brooke Jacobs and Fit To Be Tied were on their heels for a reserve finish after winning the amateur qualifier. Laurel Nelson and Lamborghini also looked good to leave with the yellow ribbon in the championship. Debbie Gabbert and Amadeus were reserve in the amateur class for the Silver Brook Stables.

Marilyn Macfarlane’s consistent pony Broadway Joe did the honors in the Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony Medallion class with Syndney Huntown in the buggy. Caroline Kamer and Heartland Flirtation earned the reserve ribbon in the medallion under the Infinity Stables banner. The talented team also topped the Junior/Limit Road Pony class followed by Chuck Herbert and Heartland’s Fly Away, an entry owned and trained by Herbert.

Two cob tail classes featured some nice ponies. Dinwiddie Lampton directed Johnny to the Hackney Pony Championship on Saturday night. The announcer revealed that Lampton’s first ride at the Mercer County Fair had been when Lampton was eight-years-old. Susan Johnson won the Open Hackney Pony class with General Mills for Elise Johnson under Chris Gantley’s direction. Betty Featherston and Patent Pending earned reserve honors in both classes.

Elise Johnson’s Old Memories topped the Open Harness Pony class. Sandy Carss did the honors with the pony, who spent his first few years in training with Sandy and her late husband Lawrence who developed the world's champion. Dinwiddie Lampton and Carried Away earned reserve honors in the open class. Jerry Cummins’ Wait & See’s Whiz Bang topped a six-entry Harness Pony Championship, which was a very good class. Christy Weaver and Nacho Mama had a great drive as well to keep it interesting and earn the reserve honors.

Alyssa Lopez topped both pleasure pony driving classes with her consistent winner Goin My Way. After a difficult few weeks following the attack at Double D Ranch, it was nice to see something good happening for the Lopez family.

Betty Jarrell and Bristol Fashion earned reserve honors in the six-entry championship. Dylan Hutson was in the buggy for Tom Caisse to earn the reserve honors in the open class with The Joker.

Pleasure classes were typically huge with 14 of the original 28 entries returning in the Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship. Bill and John Field prepared Bella Belle and Sharlett Krutz for their winning ride for owners Dr. and Mrs. Don Petit. Mary Jane Fredrickson posted another red ribbon on the Delovely tack room with her consistent winner Fame’s Preferential Treatment.

The first split of the earlier class also featured Fredrickson in the reserve spot. This time it was to Elsie’s Heir and Andrea Stodd much to the delight of mother and owner Tina Stodd. Sharlett Krutz was reserve in the second split to Mary Lou Koran and Top This, an entry of the Premier Stables.

The new team of CH Born To Be Blue and Thea Ervin have had an outstanding season already under Chuck Herbert's direction with wins at the May Classic and Indianapolis and a reserve at UPHA Chapter 5. They won the 10-entry Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Championship and the under 14-year-old class in Harrodsburg.

Laura Dozer and her new mount Lookin’ Yonder were reserve in the championship after winning the 14-17-year-old class under the Delovely banner. The handsome Joel Dorignac earned reserve honors in the 14-17 class with Callaway’s Fox Jackson. Lindsay Haupt and Vida Eraser won the red ribbon in the younger age group under the direction of Jo Cornell.

Five talented show pleasure driving entries were in Harrodsburg. Misdee Wrigley and her Harlem’s Proud Mary topped the excellent class with Dr. Randall Finken and River Dance earning the second spot. Kalarama prepares Wrigley for competition and George Knight trains River Dance.

Billy Greenwell had his work cut out for him in a competitive country pleasure championship. Thirteen top entries answered the gate call. Elizabeth Lawrence was the lucky lady to make the victory pass aboard What’s My Line with Kelly Mount pushing all the way with Prince Town BH to earn reserve honors. The earlier qualifier featured two different riders – this time it was Andrea Blackston and High Times Bayroma in the winner’s circle with Chris Koenig and Wild Lolita earning reserve honors.

Cardinal Farms won the competitive and cooperative award at the show – Lindsay Taylor certainly did her part to represent the barn’s competitive side. Taylor and her talented country pleasure mount Spice Queen topped both country pleasure classes with two excellent rides. Kristen Keown and Santana’s Bell earned reserve honors in the juvenile championship for owner/trainer Chan Sutton. Sara Mitchell and Piano Man took reserve honors in the earlier juvenile country pleasure class.

Dakota Willimon was back in the winner’s circle in the country pleasure driving division with two outstanding drives with Sweet Intentions for owner Ashley Hallock. Eddie Lewis and Hit Man’s Special Delivery earned reserve honors in the championship. Joan Adler and Sultry Heiress were the reserve winners in the earlier class in their only appearance.

Chris Nalley was at the top of his game to top two competitive five-gaited pleasure classes. Callaway’s Rockaway is the property of Nalley and his mother Jean Nalley and is prepared for competition by Nelson Green. Teresa Vonderschmitt stayed right on his heels with her standout entry Callaway’s Capitol Reporter. This talented team earned the reserve honors in both classes.

A huge open park pleasure class featured Rob Byers and Buckeye’s Fancy Pants in the winner’s circle for owner Tina Stodd. Mark Utoft and Cry Me A Rainbow earned reserve honors for Ruxer Farms.

Consistent western pleasure winner Linda Beltz and Bullet Proof did it again. Bill and Kris Knight prepared this talented team to win the Western Pleasure class for Dr. and Mrs. Homer Beltz. Casey McConnell and Call Me Buck earned the reserve honors for Rolling Hills Farm.

Joe T. Smith always presents beautiful babies and the ASB Yearling class was more proof of this fact. Barbara VonBorries’ youngster The Cream of the Crop topped the six-entry class. Linda Wheeler’s Kaw-Liga earned reserve honors in the first class of Thursday night’s performance.

There may have only been two senior equitation riders competing in the championship at Harrodsburg, but the competition was fierce. Betty Cox topped both the Equitation Championship and the 14-17 qualifier with flawless performances aboard Amandari. Clinton Jury also had two excellent rides aboard Pinstripe Dancer to earn reserve honors. Both of these teams look forward to many more successes.

Clinton Jury was honored on Saturday night with the Junior Exhibitor Sportsmanship Award for his outstanding attitude regardless of the competition. Jury also won the NHS Good Hands class which featured six top entries each performing the workout. Tasha Rose Sandler and Spirit Stuff earned reserve honors in the NHS class.

Gabriella Flynn mastered her first workout with ease in the NHS class to earn third place honors among the more senior riders. She also made her own victory pass in the Equitation 13 and Under class aboard CF First Light of Dawn. Amber Lynn Lowry and Maximum Bow earned the reserve honors in the junior class. Cindy Nicole Bowers made a beautiful solo presentation to earn the UPHA Challenge Cup honors. Micaila Evans won the UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot class followed by Christina Collis.

Seasoned young rider Katelyn Elizabeth Crabtree topped the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Medallion class aboard Heirrelevant as well as earning reserve honors in the Pleasure Equitation class to Lindsay Haupt and Wizard’s Icon. Emily Williams and Norma Jean Baker earned reserve honors in the medallion.

These are the highlights of competition from the Mercer County Fair. For complete, searchable results, see the results section of our web site

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