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Saddlebred Ball Ends ASHA Convention In Style


by Leeann Mione

(photos by Susan Harris)

LEXINGTON, Ky.Keeneland Entertainment Center was the site of the Saddlebred Ball which was the final event in an action packed ASHA Convention held Feb. 15-17, 2007.

Todd Miles, Scarlett Mattson, Tandy Patrick, Smith Lilly


The gala event began with cocktails then went straight into the first awards of the evening. ASHA Secretary Alan Balch served as the evening’s host and was joined by Scarlett Mattson and Tandy Patrick to present the Saddlebred Ring to 2006 Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion trainer Smith Lilly. Todd Miles, winner of the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship in 2005, received his ring at Louisville this year and he joined the group for the special presentation.

Fred Sarver, Scarlett Mattson, Tandy Patrick


Tandy Patrick and Scarlett Mattson took the stage to present ASHA President Fred Sarver with a check for $100,000 from the Kentucky State Fair.

Fred Sarver, Lynn Via, John Jones


Fred Sarver then presented the ASHA Saddlebred Horse Of The Year Award to owner Lynn Via and trainer John Jones for CH Callaway’s Copyright. Both Via and Jones took the podium to give acceptance speeches. Copyright earned his sixth and final Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship in 2006 with Jones driving for Fox Grape Farms and now retires to a life of leisure.


A video was shown on the big screen overhead to pay tribute to the sponsors of the evening and to recognize the 2007 Saddlebred Sweepstakes winners and ASHA Award winners. The theme song from “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” accompanied the video.

Emily Abbott & her mother Kathy Conflenti    
Kaelyn Donnelly


Emily Abbott and Kaelyn Donnelly each received the Frank Ogletree Youth Award. Dressed to the nines, both young ladies gave eloquent acceptance speeches.

Alan Balch and Cheryl Lutring


Cheryl Lutring was presented with the Gordon Jenkins International Award for her efforts to promote the American Saddlebred in Great Britain.

Sandy Lilly


Sandy Lilly had already watched her son, Smith, receive his prestigious Saddlebred ring at the beginning of the evening when she was called up on stage to accept the Lurline Roth Sportsmanship Award.


Ross Drake


Ross Drake was inducted into the UPHA Horseman’s Hall Of Fame at the UPHA/AHHS National Convention and he was honored at the ASHA Convention with the Meritorious Service Award.

Alan Balch and Bill Becker


Bill Becker joined his wife, Nancy, on the list of 2006 awards winners. He was presented with the C.J. Cronan Sportsmanship Award. Nancy Becker had received the Helen Crabtree Equitation Instructor Of The Year Award at the UPHA/AHHS convention earlier this year.

Alan Balch and Tony Weldon


Tony Weldon accepted on behalf of Callaway Hills when they were named the ASHA Breeder Of The Year.

Brenda Newell, Charles Crabtree, Alan Balch


Charles Crabtree took center stage for his induction to the Breeder’s Hall Of Fame.

Marjorie Fergusson, Donna Pettry-Smith, Tom Pettry


Marjorie Fergusson, Tom Pettry and Donna Pettry-Smith were up next to accept the Paul and Dorothy Gillenwater Family Award which was established in 2005 in honor of Paul and Dorothy Gillenwater.

Bill Munford, Melinda Moore, Julian B. Thomas   


Donna Moore, William Munford Jr. and Julian B. Thomas were each presented with the first ever Wing Commander Medal for their service to the ASHA and efforts to promote the Saddlebred to the public. Melinda Moore accepted the medal on her mother’s behalf.

Alan Balch, Rebecca Crabtree, Brenda Newell


Jean McLean Davis received the Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of her contributions. Her granddaughter, Rebecca Crabtree, accepted the award on her behalf.

Dinner and dancing to the music by an 18-piece orchestra helped make the evening a hit and despite the snow, the large crowd stayed to the end to close out another successful ASHA Convention.


Nelson Green, Scarlett Mattson, Josie Forbes

Lynn Via, Owen Weaver, Nancy Trent

Amy Haller and Susann Strayer

Vicki Gillenwater and Walt Robertson, Jr.

Bill and Nancy Becker

Nika Cornell and her dad Jack lit up the dance floor

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