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Mother Nature Cooperates at North Carolina State Championship Charity

by Leeann Mione

RALEIGH, N.C. - The 48th annual North Carolina State Championship Charity dodged a bullet the weekend of Sept. 14-17, 2005 and enjoyed great, if unseasonably warm, weather. Hurricane Ophelia had threatened the Carolina coast but changed direction and the bad weather never materialized.

The North Carolina State Championship Charity Horse Show has long been one of the fall highlights on the Carolinas circuit. Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Roadsters, Friesians and futurity babies joined equitation riders for four days of competition in front of judge Merrill Murray. Nancy Troutman judged the academy division, which was well filled, with many of the classes being split. Harry Sebring judged the Morgan division which enjoyed larger numbers this year with the arrival of new barns.

For 25 of the show's 48 years, Ray Cloninger has been the show manager. He was honored Saturday evening for his years of service at the state championship charity show. In addition to the presentation to Cloninger, two other special presentations were held.

Friday evening, Carolina amateur exhibitor Johnny Wellington was posthumously inducted into the Carolina Horsemen's Hall Of Fame. Saturday evening, trainer Ted Foreman was also inducted into the Hall Of Fame. (see separate news item posted on the web site.)

Horse shows on the Carolinas circuit have a long history of generosity to their various beneficiaries. The state championship show benefits the Raleigh Host Lions Club which performs many different services in the community.

Official horse show farrier David Herlocker performed his own charitable act Saturday evening. A group of trainers purchased tickets to win the opportunity to chop off Herlocker's long locks. The winning ticket belonged to Alice Shiflet which drew cheers and applause from the crowd. Shiflet however, wasn't present and another ticket was drawn. Rick Boose was given the honors of cutting off Herlocker's ponytail. Herlocker donated his hair to "Locks Of Love" which provides wigs for those suffering from hair loss due to a variety of circumstances.

Other fundraising events included the 50/50 raffle which raised money for the Carolina Futurity. Tickets were also sold throughout the week to benefit the horse show and those that purchased tickets hoped to win either a "Play Station" or a motorized scooter. Billy Jenkins was the lucky recipient of the Play Station which was given away Friday evening. Tom Rollins received the scooter Saturday evening.

A youth pizza party, sponsored by "Come Celebrate The Morgan" was offered after the last academy class Saturday morning. The evening before, everyone was invited to the exhibitors' party to enjoy the music of Billy Scott and The Prophets and The Carolina Beach Club. The party offered plenty of great food. Coffee and donuts were offered every morning, courtesy of Harry and Mary Daughtry of Daughtry Stables.

Great hospitality, gorgeous futurity babies and strong competition are some of the things that define the North Carolina State Championship Charity Horse Show and keep exhibitors returning year after year.

Saturday evening's Five-Gaited Championship was only one of several great classes in the gaited division. Five entries competed for judge Murray. Steve Hanks was up on Betty Lou Herter's stallion Warhawk's RoHo and was joined by Smith Lilly and Callaway's Four Leaf Clover for Hawley Tool Sales, former grand champion CH Breaking News and Peter Cowart for Megan McClure and Beth Arndt, Hollywood Material and Hollie Davidson for Sharon Price and Paul Boone with Jerry Horoschuck's Ima Star-Buck.

Only one other horse, in the 47 year history of the show, had won the championship three years in a row. That was the beloved CH Carolouise, who won the class with Lewis Eckard in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

In its 48th year, the spectators would witness another three-peat. Peter Cowart became the second trainer to win the class three years in a row. Breaking News was named the 2005 grand champion after winning in 2003. Cowart rode She's A Red Hot Chili Pepper to the title last year.

Paul Boone and Ima Star Buck were the reserve grand champions followed by Callaway's Four Leaf Clover, Warhawk's RoHo and Hollywood Material.

The Three-Gaited Championship featured a pair of competitors and their veteran trainers who have a long list of accomplishments between them. MJB High Fire, enjoying a successful season so far, captured the title with Bo Lucas on board for Hector and Carol Newton. Champagne Reve and Mary Jo Schmidt were reserve for Christina Shahum.

Jon Walker drove Joker's Wild to the Fine Harness Grand Championship to top the field for Bob and Jann Gunn. Phil Godsey drove Stuck On You to the reserve streamers for Dean Beam.

Fifteen weanlings competed in the Carolina Jackpot Weanling class to start Saturday evening's session. Just as was evidenced at Louisville, a stellar group of youngsters offered great promise for the future of the industry. Competition in the class was tough and the crowd definitely had their own opinions as to which weanling should take the money and tricolor home. When the card was turned in, it was I'm All In (Supremacy's High Time x Callaway's Briolette), owned by Steve Davidson, named the winner with J.D. Gardner showing. Fort Chiswell's Little Sister (Attache's Royal Assets x Last Farewell) was reserve with Bobby Dunn for Rae Lee Mills.

The ASB Yearling In Hand class was named the only Grand National class of the show and seven yearlings competed for the additional Grand National money. Jewell's High Spirit, with Jeff Shelley showing, took the top prize. The yearling, sired by Unlisted and out of Champagne High Spirit, is owned by Kenneth Wayne Spry.

Sharon Anderson's Royal Estate (Attache's Royal Assets x Callaway's My Estate) claimed the red ribbon with Steve Hanks showing.

Watch Out Now (The Irish Connection x Sink Oar Swim) was just one of several winners from Mercer Springs Farm. Leslie Tickle rode the full brother to recently crowned world's champion Golden Market to the winner's circle in the Carolina Futurity Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited class for Sue Nifong and Silverlin Farm.

Jeff Shelley went to the winner's circle with another promising youngster, but this time it was in the Carolina Futurity Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class. My Blues Brother, sired by Burning Flame and out of Callaway's Maiden Blue, topped a pair of competitors for the title.

Paradise Delivery (Supreme Delivery x Paradise's Katrina) won the Carolina Futurity Two-Year-Old In-Hand class with Jon Walker showing for Sam and Anne Pratt.

Laura Byrd and Allison Gann, both from Forever Farm and instructed by Liz McBride-Jones, captured every equitation win offered at the show. Byrd went home with the blue ribbons from the 17 and under class and NHS Good Hands class and also earned the tricolor in the Equitation Championship. Gann was the 10 and Under UPHA Walk and Trot Challenge Cup Champion and 10 and under walk and trot qualifier champion.

The Morgan division showcased talent across the board and several different barns went home with top ribbons. Kathy Gutting and CBMF Undeniable captured the Morgan Park Saddle Championship under the direction of Mike Goebig and Dwayne Knowles of Broadmoor.

The Heartbeat and Kerrie Beth Fersch won the Morgan English Pleasure Championship under the direction of Myra Williams and Paige Joyner Owen of Heads Up Academy.

These are only a few of the competition highlights. Complete results can be seen, searched and printed out by clicking on Show Results.

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