Skip to content

Roanoke - What a Difference a Year Can Make!

by Katherine Hansil

ROANOKE, Va. - The Roanoke Valley Horse Show celebrated its 38th anniversary June 15-10, at the Salem Civic Center. The show is hometown favorite for the local spectators, drawing huge crowds. Last year, the show was plagued by long and late sessions for the Saddlebred, roadster and Hackney exhibitors. But even last year, show management was looking for ways to improve and draw back current, previous and new exhibitors. Longtime exhibitors and trainers were unsure if they would return, but with promises of change most did return and new barns came bringing the show up a good bit in quantity and quality.

New manager Peter Fenton worked with the committee to cut the schedule by a day including some of the less filled classes but when entries demanded it, for instance in the 17 and under show pleasure, splits and additions were made. The evening show begins with the hunter/jumper classes, and in 2008 there were nights when it seemed their class might never end. This year, scheduling ran smoothly and timely. While changes were made for 2009, management and committee members are still looking for improvements, to draw more exhibitors and to bring Roanoke back to its glory. With such an improvement in just one year, imagine what next year could bring.

One of the big draws for the exhibitors is the local crowd and it is always at its largest during the Saturday evening championships since the Grand Prix follows the performance. The Five-Gaited Championship is always a thrill for the crowd as the athleticism and the beauty of the American Saddlebred shines through. Just like in the qualifier, the powerful Worthy’s World To Know captured the coveted tricolor with Rob Turner in the irons for Riverdreams LLC while reserve honors went to the up and coming star Heir To The Moon with Steve Demjen presenting for Lisa May.

The gray beauty Callaway’s Born For This took command of the ring with Allison Combs to win the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship after an earlier ladies qualifying win. Fox Grape’s Dauntless and Owen Weaver picked up a pair of reserves in the same classes with two solid performances. Fresh off a win at Asheville, the West Wind trained Twilight Maxamillion and Josh Wall turned in another bold ride to top the amateur qualifier with consistent Star Dreamer and Darlene Rose claiming the red streamers.

West Wind added to their banner in the junior exhibitor division with teams CH What’s The Whoopla and Caitlin Leith and Captain Roseridge and Camille Cowart packing the one-two punch in the qualifier and then swapping spots in the championship with Cowart and Captain winning their first career tricolor.

Peter Cowart earned the spotlight with the fancy Fort Chiswell’s The It Girl winning the novice class for Little Cahaba Properties with Catalino and Phyllis Brookshire garnering reserve. Matt Shiflet was aboard Radiant Rhapsody for the junior win for the Williams/Frank partnership. Smith Lilly was in the irons for Cross Timbers Saddlebreds Inc winning the three-year-old class with the flashy Thunder’s Fair Lady. Matt Shiflet picked up the reserve with Julia Patton’s Night Of Fun.

Cagle James swept the pony division with her dynamic Little Lord Huntly. The fairly new team of Roseridge Many Tears and Tiara Terra captured both reserve titles for the Harrison Shiflet banner.

Saturday night was quite a night for Rob Turner as he also captured the tricolor in the Three-Gaited Championship aboard the majestic CH Sightline for Holli Esposito. Robin McKenzie Vuillermet opted to show back for the big money, after a reserve in the amateur qualifier, earning the tricolor reserve aboard the energetic Callaway’s Born With Style. In the qualifier, it was the bay beauty Leatherwood’s All Smiles and Bill Shiflet taking the top honor for Anne Holmes, with Lady Avalon and Phyllis Brookshire accepting the reserve.

Owen Weaver had a busy Saturday evening showing three different horses. Her first trip out was aboard the toppy Madeira’s Love to win the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship. Earlier in the week they also captured the amateur qualifier. Reserve championship honors went to the ladies winner Spool’s Top Star RHF with Carol Reedy in the irons. The Mercer Springs-trained You Move Me and Michelle Ducworth made their first appearance of the season for the ladies qualifying reserve.

Mercer Springs added to its banner in the junior exhibitor championship with Karly Morgan confidently presenting the multi-titled CH Yes It’s True to the tricolor. Qualifying winner First Shot and Jordan Banner picked up the reserve while the qualifying reserve went to Willie Stop and Sarah Allred.

Elly Berman was aboard the high-headed Bebop Lady to win the junior class for Edmund Perwien. Reserve honors went to the Fish N Fun Farms-owned and bred Dance On The Inside with Greg O’Kelley in the irons. Rob Turner had SJ The Smart Lady in top order for the novice win for Holli Esposito.

Caroline Anderson and CH Cameo’s Carte Blanche swept the pony division with two outstanding performances, with Drew Taylor Hewitt presenting Faizah to both reserves for Linda Weber.

Lewis Meadows had Ooh Yes I Can tuned up for the Park Championship win for McDaniel Saddlebreds. Callaway’s Cinnamon Bay also came back ready as Leslie Tickle presented the bold moving beauty to the reserve for Joe Woeppel. Winning the qualifier was the flashy Cat Attack with Rick Felder in the irons while Fox Grape’s Limitless and Andre Fourie earned the reserve for Sharon Ellington.

Holli Esposito didn’t let Rob Turner have all the fun as she swept the amateur park division with the dynamic Reggie’s Indigo Jim. Danielle Loar and Brookhill’s Tom Tom had a solid performance to move up for the championship reserve. In the qualifier, Cat’s My Daddy and Cheryl Hawley garnered the red steamers.

In the junior exhibitor division, Camille Cowart triumphed with CH Justa Rascal to sweep the division. The elegant Milady A La Lucie, with Holly Wilson, captured both reserve titles.

Suzy Shiflet presented the toppy Jazil to the junior win, with Sandra Currier accepting the reserve title with Edmund Perwien’s Bluebonnet’s Great Scott.

Anita Simpson seems to have the time of her life every time she drives the magnificent Mother Mary and Saturday night was no exception when she presented the grand mare to the Fine Harness Championship win after a qualifying victory earlier in the week. Patty Milligan was on the lines to earn a pair of reserves with Tony Ricker’s Heir’s Treasure.

For the fourth show in a row, Matt Shifet presented the bright Tribeca to the win in the junior class for Gaited Inc. Kim Stewart was on the lines for Glenda Voger for the reserve with Mr. Napoleon Dynomite. Catalyst Merry Lee marched to the winner’s circle in the three-year-old class with Lewis Meadows presenting for the Crum/Johnson partnership. Reserve honors went to Chardonnay’s So Fine and Sandra Currier for Chardonnay Farms Saddlebreds.

For the second year in a row, Cosmical was victorious in the Roadster To Bike Championship. This year, Jon Dabareiner was behind the bold moving speedster for Fish N Fun Farms, also winning the amateur qualifier. Dabareiner earned a third title in the division as he presented Postmaster Mike to the open qualifier win. Anna Marie Dempsey was on the lines for a pair of reserves with Geronimo in the championship and amateur qualifier, while Rae Lee Mills picked up the open qualifying reserve with Joanna’s Lost.

Drowning Creek dominated the road pony division as Lewis Eckard swept the open division with Karl Bridgeman’s Sha-Boom while Rebekah Cloninger swept the amateur division with Smackdown. Rae Lee Mills garnered the reserve in the open championship with the Dickey Davis-owned Magical Mysterys, while Sherri Surface carried out the qualifying reserve with Stanley and Sharyn Lang’s Black Jack. Amy Roberts picked up the red streamer with Joyanna in the amateur championship after topping the novice qualifier for Kismet Ventures Inc. Anna Marie Dempsey drove Long Time Gone to the amateur qualifying reserve title while Danny Troutman carried out the novice reserve title with Regal’s Citation.

The eye-catching chestnut Heartland Funny Girl topped the UPHA Road Pony Classic with Peter Cowart on the lines for Caitlin Leith while the high-stepping Giselle garnered the red streamers with Lee Hudson presenting for Bent Tree Farm.

Kevin Berman had Albert Kaponey in top order with speed and form to win the junior exhibitor championship and AHHS Youth Medallion qualifier. John Paul Jones was behind Heartland High Alert to earn both reserves for Rae Lee Mills. In the AHHS Youth Medallion Under Saddle, Bagheira topped the class with Willow Kearns in the irons for Bent Tree Farm, while Gracie Burnett presented Dun-Haven Big Time to the reserve for Alyssa Burnett.

Under the direction of John Whalen, Katherine Whitlow swept the Hackney Pony division with Heartland Twice As Nice with two nice performances. Mark In Time and Lee Hudson picked up the qualifying reserve for Bent Tree Farm.

Tamra Arndt had quite a week as she swept the harness pony and pleasure driving pony divisions with It’s Showtime and Heartland Parade Time, respectively. This marked the fourth year in a row Arndt has directed Heartland Parade Time to the sweep. The consistent Cover Story captured both reserve titles with Brenda Rappaport on the lines for Wireless Valley Farm.

The wins kept coming as CH Stonewall’s Stargate and Stefanie Sanchez had two dynamic performances to sweep the adult five-gaited show pleasure division. The flashy Desert Supreme Kid, with Jenna Norton, captured both reserve titles.

Gary Altizer topped the open park pleasure division with Perry Huffer’s Breaking Vegas with a solid performance. Jamie Mullins presented Breezy Nite to the reserve title for Betty Smith. Rob Turner was back to the winner’s circle with Debra Faulkner’s Celebrity Son in the Junior Park Pleasure. For Windy Hill Farm, The Blues Singer picked up the reserve with Kelly Grubb in the irons. Grant Shiflet was aboard Joan Sonnabend’s young star, Yes By Golly, to win the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic, with Sandra Currier presenting Sudoku to the reserve for Edmund Perwien.

Megan McClure had two nice catchrides aboard the black beauty Sassy Dawn, sweeping the adult three-gaited show pleasure for Brenda Pulis. Janet Sterba presented the expressive My Stiletto to both reserve titles for her daughter, Katy Sterba.

CH My Grande and Cagle James continued this successful season by winning the junior exhibitor pleasure championship as well as the 13 and under qualifier with two solid performances. Kaitlin Morrison earned the championship and 14-17 reserves aboard the beautiful Cape Grace for Roger and Stephanie McMahon. Topping the 14-17 qualifier was Uncut Jewel and Avery Bul for Edmund Perwien, and in the 13 and under qualifier, it was The Chesapeake Bay and Austin Hazelwood garnering the red streamers.

From Cash Lovell Stables, Carver Semans was all smiles as she swept the walk and trot division aboard her flashy grey Heir’s Intoxication. Sarah Ann Fourie carried out both reserves on the consistent performer Irish Hill’s Mountain Star.

The Admiral’s Genie and Ashley Stewart had a comeback ride to win the Pleasure Pony Championship under the Cash Lovell banner. Winning the qualifier and returning for the championship reserve was The King’s Fizz and Austin Hazelwood for Lori Ingram. Reserve in the qualifier went to The Salem Caper and Kelsey Moore.

Cash Lovell was on a roll as he also directed the Show Pleasure Driving Championship winners Breath Of Heir and Sharon Anderson to the winner’s circle after a qualifying reserve. Winning the qualifier and returning for the championship reserve was CH Callaway’s B. Gratz Brown and Karin Banks in their new division.

Lesley Cox had a comeback ride aboard Curly Day to win the Adult Country Pleasure Championship. Candace Bennett moved up to capture the championship reserve aboard My Chesapeake Bay for Debbie Dyson. Winning the qualifier was Mr. Tahiti and Sondra Hodgson for Debbie Grier, while Shady Creek’s Sensation and Linda Redding had a great ride for the qualifying reserve. My Chesapeake Bay was back to the winner’s circle, this time with Debbie Dyson for the Country Pleasure Driving blue in their only driving appearance.

Mahvalous Guy was pleasure perfect with Randi Barnes sweeping the junior exhibitor country pleasure division under the direction of Patty Milligan. Turn On The Heat and Lindsay Jones moved up for the championship reserve while the sporty She’s All That County and Karly Morgan claimed the qualifying reserve.

Magnolia Morning was in top form to win the Western Pleasure Championship and qualifier with Suzanne Heizer. The stunning Noir Amie, with Synnova Hayes, earned the championship and Saddle & Bridle Shatner Western Pleasure reserve. The team had an extra fan in the crowd as longtime friend Mary Cockriel made a surprise visit to cheer them on. Winning the Shatner qualifier was Shamrock’s Versace with Anna Hudson presenting for Rebecca Tobey. Ronan and Melinda Warden picked up the qualifying reserve.

Sarah Martin rode to victory with two polished performances aboard CH Hayden Fox in the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship and qualifier. Also from Cash Lovell Stables, Chloe Martin and Cashlyn Lovell earned the top two spots in the 10 & Under Walk & Trot Equation respectively. In the UPHA Challenge Cup, the two would switch titles with Lovell taking home the blue.

Sisters Hannah and Haley Hirschhorn dueled in the Friesian under saddle division aboard their majestic horses. Topping the championship was Watse with Hannah aboard, while Haley captured the qualifier aboard Floris Van Nienke.

For the second year in a row, academy has been offered and just to show you how willing the breeds worked together, the hunter/jumper Saturday morning performance agreed to postpone its start time so that the academy division could be held in the Civic Center immediately following the performances classes. One change made which varies differently from the norm in the Carolinas was that classes were run back to back. For instance, the 9-10 Walk & Trot Equitation was held and immediately following it was the showmanship for the same group of riders. This eliminated most of the dreaded holds that makes academy sometimes a suffering event that can run into the Saturday evening performance. The change seemed to be well received and maybe it will catch on throughout the region to see if will work for other shows.

Earning titles during the academy session were: Sidney Cearley, Sarah Parez, Carolyn Eanes, Katie McCray, Audrey Stephenson, Megan Schultz, Catherine Horne, Kathy Hall, Ally Hibbitts, Dee Kegley, Lisa Horan, Sarah Beth Moore, Kamilla Muhammad, Elaina Bullard, Telisha Coulter, Cassidy Bennett, Jamie Houck, Stella McCauley, Gracyn Mansfield, Rena Frazier, Tatum Tucker, Felicia Elliot, Payton Nicole Shiflet, Jozy Unal, B.J. Fourie, Madison Moorehead, Rachel Sanchez, Ainsley Marion and Sadie McCauley.

More Stories