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Pro Am On The Move

by Christy Howard Parsons
coverage by Tiffany Gribben and Christy Parsons
On its 25th Anniversary, the Pro Am Benefit Horse Show moved its location to the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Ga. The move inspired a return of the Florida barns and despite a first year date conflict, many loyal exhibitors continued to support the show some coming from as far north as Indiana as Delovely Farms has always done. With five horse shows on this same weekend, including J.D. Massey in Clemson, S.C., show management expected to see a decline in entries. However, the tremendous support of the Florida barns, particularly Don Judd Stables and Ruth Gimpel Stables, ensured that every class was competitive with many world class contenders.

Next year’s date will return to the traditional Pro-Am weekend, April 2-5, 2003. With the favorable reaction to the wonderful facilities at the fairgrounds, the loyal following behind Pro-Am, and the return to a “non-conflicted” date, one can expect to see a huge turnout for the 2003 version of the show. While many members of ASHAG and UPHA Chapter 17 were strongly opposed to moving from Atlanta’s Henderson’s Arena, the problems with that facility, specifically when affected by rain and weather, forced the two groups to make a tough decision.

The quality of the Georgia National Fairgrounds facility turned out to be the primary reason for the move. Large spacious stalls in an airy covered main barn feature covered walkways to the huge work arena (where many shows are actually held at the fairgrounds) which leads to the large, wide show ring. The roadster horses and ponies in particular appreciated the wide turns and the footing was well received by exhibitors and trainers alike. The facility has 480 stalls under one roof with the capability of using all 1250 stalls by using the adjacent barns as well.

Charlie Byron, show manager, was pleased with the move. "We were really pleased with the turnout, and with the quality of the horses at the show. All of our friends, owners and trainers really supported Pro Am in this year of transition. We were very pleased with the facility and we hope to make it our permanent home. We have already confirmed our April 2-5 dates for next year."

Buck Davis, co-chairman of the show with John Goda, was also pleased with the show. “A lot of people had an emotional attachment to Henderson's Arena - it had been the home of Pro-Am for so long. But once we moved and we saw how well this facility worked for us, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and we had a great horse show."

As one might expect in the deep South, hospitality was everywhere. From coffee and home made goodies in the show office every morning to parties every day, Southern hospitality was on display. ASHAG sponsored the welcome party on Wednesday. The Georgia barns participated in a terrific progressive aisle party following the show on Thursday evening. And Myrt Canady’s world famous southern feast followed the show on Friday evening. Throw in a little Delovely celebration on Friday night to celebrate Todd Miles’ fortieth (yes, that’s 40) birthday and you had food and fun everywhere you looked.

It would be hard to find a more courteous and professional show management staff. Charlie Byron is well-known for his fair and friendly management of any horse show. Beth Snider keeps a show office better than anyone and she actually got to enjoy being at the show with husband Scott who was paddock master and entertainer as well. Abbott Wilson served the judging duties and was ably assisted by the show ring staff.

Doug Shiflet moved with Pro Am this year to Perry. He has shot 24 of the 25 years, and in fact, it was his first professional show. (He started VERY young.) Richfield Video recorded the special victory passes and with vendors like Carl Meyers and Richard’s Jewelry, there was always plenty to admire outside the show ring as well as in.

Both Friday and Saturday night, a demonstration by the Reece Center for the Handicapped entertained the crowd and reminded them of the worthy cause that benefits every year from the show.

The show ended with a bang this year in a Five-Gaited Stake that brought exhibitors to their feet. Anne Judd’s South African mount Studcor Donatello attracted a great deal of attention in the Five-Gaited Open qualifier. Horse and rider made a beautiful team, but the horse’s muscular power was what won the audience over. A roar went up from the crowd when they reentered the ring on Saturday night.

Bob Vesel raised the stakes when he rode Callaway's Banner Headline into the arena for the open stake after being qualified by Janet Kellett in the amateur division.

There were five talented entries in the ring that night, but it was hard to match the enthusiasm when Vesel and Judd headed down the rail side by side. Vesel rode out of his hat and his horse’s momentum seemed to soar from there. The horse’s feet barely touched the ground throughout the victory pass.

The amateur championship was also a terrific class. Ladies winner CF Private Night Out and Janet Kellett and amateur qualifier winner Callaway’s Holy Moly and Rachel Seifert duked it out with five other entries to the delight of the crowd. When it was over Kellett made the tricolor victory pass and Seifert collected the reserve in the championship after repeating her 2001 amateur qualifying win.

Shanna Goodwin and The Magic Hour earned the junior exhibitor championship under the guidance of Marvin Ward. The talented team bested Jessica Anderson and Winterthur who had claimed the junior exhibitor qualifying win.

Hillary Allgood showed off her young horse’s talents in the junior class. Santa Cruz is owned by Andy Allgood of Martinez, Ga.

Connie Hodge owns the three-year-old winner In Your Face, ridden to the winners circle by Brian Reimer. Reimer also directed the novice winner Dartmoor for Mary Alice Gall.

Previous show chairman Clara Krause Flor was in the irons of her Shelby of York to claim the Georgia Owned Five-Gaited Class, besting a field of four.

Only one five-gaited pony was on hand, but the smart little S.S. Kentucky knows how to put on a show. Andres Herrera rode the entry owned by Herrera and Blair Reynolds and trained by Reynolds to both five-gaited pony titles.

The walk-trot was more plentiful in the amateur ranks, but J.D. Gardner directed She’s A Mystery to the solo win the Three-Gaited Stake after earlier winning the Georgia Owned Three-Gaited Class. This pretty mare is owned by the Quail Hollow Farm.

Carla Ritzie’s entry, Worthy One’s Rhythm, took the qualifying win in the walk-trot division with Joe Lavery in the irons but did not show back as the horse was purchased by the Herrera family with Blair Reynolds.

Kelly Perez added to the many blue ribbons adorning Don Judd’s tack room with the blue in the ladies class aboard CH Deliah Rose.

The well-known CH Biras Creek and owner/rider Kristian Taylor were at the top of their game to claim the amateur stake as well as the amateur qualifier. Elsa Hackett and her Premier’s Elisabelle were reserve in both competitive classes.

Topping a field of nine entries, Laura Dozer and her CH Stage Talent made a lovely presentation in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Stake. The talented team also claimed the 14-17 qualifier under the direction of Delovely. Kimberly Reinhardt and CH Mogul were reserve in both classes under the direction of Don Judd Stables.

Another Delovely winner, Sarah Wood, didn’t let mom have all the fun. She directed Callaway’s Dubonnet to the 13 and under junior exhibitor win to the delight of fellow exhibitor and mom Sally Wood.

Becky Teater showed off some of the young stock at Crockett Springs with a win in the Three-Gaited Novice Class. Simbara’s Stars and Stripes won the class for owner David Crockett. Laura Dozer and Julie Henderson went head to head twice in the five-gaited pony competition. Julie directed Vouvray to the win in the stake for owner Amanda Moorehouse and Laura was in the irons to take Simbara’s Audacity to the win in the pony qualifier.

Besides putting many outstanding competitors into the winners circle for Don Judd Stables, Maria Gilman made two trips herself aboard Man In My Life for owner Barbara Woods. The outstanding duo topped the Open Three-Gaited Park Full Mane and Tail Stake as well as the open qualifier followed both times by Marvin Ward and Our Spittin Image for Richard Katz.

Crystal Harmon is often seen behind fantastic ponies; it was nice to see her in the saddle on a victory pass as well. Harmon topped a field of six in the Amateur Park Full Mane and Tail Stake aboard Sea Drifter. Georgia Shannon and Callaway’s Prime Rate followed in second in both the stake and in the amateur qualifier.

Three beautiful fine harness horses returned on Saturday evening to show off the best the division has to offer. Janet Kellett and her Crystal Illusion were a beautiful presentation to win the honors following their win in the amateur qualifier. Erik Kirsch and the sharp Nic Nac Caramac followed in reserve after their win in the open qualifier. James Rosburg rounded out the beautiful trio of entries with By Honor Bound.

David Cunningham made a fine solo presentation of Uptown’s Irish Flash to earn the junior horse honors for owner Dr. Gene Aaby. Ruth Gimpel directed the youngster Long Vue’s Sophisticat to the three-year-old title for Pixie Dust & Steel.

Adding another win to the Ruth Gimpel stables banner, Kim Boros and I’m The Real Deal were hitting on all cylinders Saturday night to earn the Park Pleasure Stake win. Brian Reimer and Best Day Ever earned the reserve honors for Mary Ann Railey. Brian was second in the qualifier to wife Susan Reimer aboard Sandra Justice’s entry, Mi Star Search.

Brian was back in the winners circle in the Junior Park Pleasure Horse Class aboard Rock Ripper. This talented young horse is owned by Carole Downs.

More up and coming youngsters for Pixie Dust & Steel include The Next Best Thing, their three-year-old entry to made his trip to the winners circle with Gimpel in the irons for the Park Pleasure Three-Year-Old title.

Elsa Hackett jumped down from a reserve performance on Saturday night to watch her entry Absolutely Exquisite top the Adult Show Pleasure Stake with Paula Frenette in the irons. The pair also won the adult qualifier earlier in the week. Debbie Koning was poised and confident aboard What A Keepsake to earn reserve in both classes.

Jessica Anderson and Bitters were two for two in the 14-17 show pleasure division. This team made two victory passes under the Judd Stables banner. Kristin Piery and Tut’s Gold earned the reserve in the stake for John Piery

The 13 and under ranks also featured a repeat winner. Abby Case directed Champagne Supreme Spirit to the 13 and under show pleasure titles for owners and trainer Rick and Valerie Adams and Fairhope Stables. Brittany Fox and Just Stylish earned the reserve finish in both classes for Anthony and Sandra Fox.

Terry Rehbein and Daylight’s Prince Charles topped the six entry Georgia owned class.

You’ve got to give credit where credit is due. She’s A Poptart was without a doubt the most consistent and most honored horse on the showgrounds. Whether it was in academy or in the pleasure pony division, She’s A Poptart was in the ring and often in the winner’s circle. It was Reagan Huguley’s turn in the pleasure pony division and she earned the top prize in the stake for the Heathermoor Farm Riding Academy. Whitney Parker and The Boardroom Brawler were reserve in the stake for owner Paul Lockyer under the direction of Chan Sutton.

Shelby Reimer won two classes nearly back to back. Her perfect smile and winning ride earned her the three-gaited pleasure pony title for owner Alex Bell. Plus she made a winning solo performance in the Equitation 10 & Under class.

Judd Stables claimed two for two in the show pleasure driving division. Lois Vartanian and her CH Callaway’s True Grit swept both classes. Jenna Vannoy and CH Stuff and Nonsense earned the reserve honors in the stake. Bobbye Six and her Callaway’s Feature Story earned the reserve ribbon in the qualifier.

Sally Wood was two for two in the five-gaited show pleasure division. A Touch of Heir was picture perfect to claim the win in both classes with daughter Sarah and the entire Delovely fan club cheering them on. Cheryl Sotrop and Bright One had their own fan club in the Don Judd Stables crowd when they claimed reserve in both eight entry classes.

Imaginary Lover and Michelle Maynard would not take no for an answer on Saturday night. After finishing in reserve in the country pleasure qualifier, the team claimed the win in the class of 11 for owner Cathy Blank.

Melissa Scrushy and her multi-titled CH Mr. Gary Cooper won the Country Pleasure Adult qualifier and earned the reserve honor in the competitive adult stake.

Caitlin Pumpelly just keeps on coming and coming into that ring, each time with a bigger smile on her face. She obviously loves to show! After earlier making a beautiful solo presentation to win the Amateur Owned and Trained Country Pleasure class, Caitlin earned the win in the eight entry Country Pleasure Junior Exhibitor Stake aboard Storm on the Rise. Stephanie Fox and Attitude Matters were pretty happy as well with their second finish in both junior exhibitor country pleasure classes.

Ali Rosburg and Somersby earned the qualifying win in the division earlier in the week for Pixie Dust & Steel. Ali spent time in the hospital later in the week, but she was back on hand at the show on Saturday night on the rail to enjoy the show.

Kristen Keown had her winning smile on to start the show off right for Chan Sutton’s Oak Lane Farm. She teamed Santana’s Belle to the Georgia owned win for owner Christie Carroll. Lois Vartanian took home lots of blues from Perry. Two more were earned in the country pleasure driving classes. Vartanian and Drama were well-matched to earn the victory passes under the Judd Stables banner. Patricia Bonati and SS Success were reserve in both classes under the direction of Ruth Gimpel.

Jean Johnson and Galahad’s Goldmine virtually swept the western division. The team topped it all off Saturday night by winning the Western Country Pleasure Stake, besting a field of five. The colorful team also won the western country pleasure qualifier and the Saddle & Bridle Shatner Western Pleasure Class.

Elizabeth Dupell and her Ticket to Win made the solo presentation in the Saddle & Bridle Working Western Pleasure class.

Cathy Hackney has nerves of steel and she was full of herself Saturday night. She drove Eyes Wide Open all out to claim the Roadster to Bike Stake for her Star Quest Farm in Franklin, Tenn. Her eyes may have been wide open, but mine were shut about half the time. The talented team also topped the open qualifier earlier in the week. Harry Chapman and Posseman were well-timed to earn the reserve in the speedy stake after winning the Novice class earlier in the week. Buck Davis also drove like he had something to prove. The roadster competition down South is excellent. But Davis and Dragster left no room for doubt. They nabbed both the Amateur Championship and qualifier for the Quail Hollow Farm. Well-known daredevil Arlie Fiveash helped to make it a great class with Jack Rabbit Flash earning the reserve in the stake for coowner Aann Reeves.

It must run in the family - Deidre Davis took home another blue to the Quail Hollow Farm with her solo performance with Amos Moses in the Youth Roadster to Bike class. Brother Justin also likes to get in on the act in the Road Pony division with his pony Kodiak.

Brandon Ford stepped into the saddle of well-known roadster Detonator. Ford earned the Roadster Under Saddle title for owner William Ladner.

Karon Brooks was not on hand to witness daughter Melissa Scrushy’s wins nor her own Oliver Twist’s two victory passes with Kathy Barlow driving, but the team went on without her. Mike and Kathy Barlow had Oliver Twist in top form to claim the two cobtail classes. The Buffalo Creek crew also had Heartland Firefly, perhaps as good as she has ever been, in the harness pony classes. Bobbye Six was in the viceroy for a beautiful solo performance to capture the Harness Pony Stake. She was also reserve in the qualifier to Helen Rosburg and Heartland’s Heiress. This multi-titled pony is owned by Pixie Dust and Steel and prepared for the ring by Ruth Gimpel. Another sharp Buffalo Creek pony entry, Melissa Scrushy and Cherry’s Dream Motion, put on one heck of a drive to earn the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Stake. Crystal Harmon and the former World Champion Heartland Supremacy were reserve in the eight entry class after earning the trip to the winner’s circle in the qualifier earlier in the week.

Ali Rosburg and her Rumor Has It were at the top of their game to earn the title in the Pleasure Driving Medallion class for Pixie Dust & Steel.

The Delovely crowd was vocal in their support of Frank Durand’s pony Dunhaven Grandiose. The talented speedster captured the Roadster Pony Stake in a very competitive class after earning the open title earlier in the week. Ruth Gimpel drove Ali Rosburg’s pony Free Willy to the reserve finish in the Open Stake as Ali was still not feeling well Saturday night. Ali herself teamed with Free Willy to capture the junior exhibitor roadster pony qualifier.

Dad, James Rosburg, also had Desert Prince in top form to cross the finish line first and earn the amateur roadster pony title for Pixie Dust & Steel.

Scott Songer has grown a foot over the winter and he was more than ready to jump back into the buggy and take So Irresistible across the finish line. The speedy duo won the junior exhibitor stake as well as the Roadster Pony Medallion class.

Sherri Cobble directed Miss Bell to the novice win for the Beaver Brook Stables.

Hillary Allgood stepped aboard Blue Grass Cash and made a strong solo performance to earn the Roadster Pony Under Saddle title.

The equitation championship featured four young riders. Kristen Thomas earned the victory pass under the direction of Anne Judd riding Bi Mi Champagne Tate. The two qualified with a solo performance in the 11-13 year old qualifier.

Claire Karst and her beautiful grey CH Diamond Asset were the reserve grand champions under Maria Gilman and Don Judd’s direction. They also earned the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup title with a beautiful workout.

Shelby Reimer showed in the cantering Equitation 10 & Under Class with a flawless solo performance aboard By The Fire.

Stablemates Brittany McGinnis and Ellen Wright were arm in arm following the Walk and Trot 10 & Under Equitation Class. The Delovely teammates were first and second respectively in this class as well as in the UPHA 9 & 10 Challenge Cup qualifier.

Michelle Chauvin's new equitation mount, Future Treasure, was not quite feeling up to par, so stablemate Ellen Wright lent the tried and true Beguiled for Michelle's equitation classes. With much style, Chauvin made a solo performance in the UPHA Challenge Cup and bested a field of three in the NHS Saddle Seat Event.

Lindsey Landrum just got her first Saddlebred for her birthday and it's obvious that Attache's Magic Asset and Lindsey are going to learn lots together. Lindsey's winning smile thrilled her family and friends along the rail as she earned the UPHA 8 & Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup title.

James Huguley, son of Courtney Huguley of Heathermoor Farm, and Kendall Adams, son of Rick and Valerie Adams of Fairhope Stables, were picture perfect leadline winners.

The academy division is very popular in the Georgia area with most area barns having active lesson programs. Entries from Oak Lane Farm, Heathermoor, Star Quest Farm, and Sea Island Stables all walked away with blue ribbons.

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

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