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Shelbyville Heats Up In and Out Of The Ring

by Leeann Mione

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. – For four nights each year in early August, an extremely dedicated group of volunteers from throughout the community including the horse show board of directors Jean Matthews, Pam Ray, Jean Logan, Tim Sanderlin, Jeff Hagerman, Dr. Michael Barnett, Nancy Crabtree, Bridwell Terhune, Mary Smith, Lucy Long, R.H. Bennett, Redd Crabtree and Edward R. "Hoppy" Bennett, see the culmination of their year of work play out at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.

For 21 years, that week in early August has most certainly made all involved in its success very proud. There are so many reasons to come to Shelbyville, Ky., the "Saddlebred Capital Of The World" for the show. It is one of those events that you just have to experience for yourself in order to appreciate how special and unique it is.

Showing at Shelbyville presents some challenges to even the most seasoned equine or exhibitor. This isn’t a show where you perform in front of a few trainers and fellow exhibitors sitting in the mostly empty seats in a very quiet arena. This is a show were knowledgeable horse show fans come to watch and they bring their friends. They bring their neighbors. They bring their co-workers and they bring their families.

And they are ready to party. The social nature of this show is one of its biggest draws. The crowd is huge and for the teams that come through the gate, many in anticipation of showing at Louisville, the opportunity to actually show in front of a loud, boisterous and enthusiastic crowd is a great one. Having a huge crowd around the rail or up in the double decker "Horseman’s Club" can be intimidating. Many a horse has taken one look at something unfamiliar outside the ring and turned around to go the other way.

The beauty of this show, however, is that the ring itself is beautiful and more often than not, the crowd is beautifully dressed, the weather is fantastic and the short evening schedule allows for plenty of time to do other things besides show your horse or get ready to show your horse. With Louisville fast approaching, any free time that can be spent doing other things, even those that are related to getting ready for Louisville, is a welcome relief.

Manager R.H. Bennett, along with secretary Beth Snider, office staff members Sandy Backer and Peggy Henry truly work like dogs in preparation for the show and along with all the committees, volunteers and sponsors, put on a terrific show year after year.

Robert Gardiner made the trip from St. Charles, Illinois to judge the Saddlebreds, Hackney’s and roadsters and he did a great job of keeping the classes moving along quickly. Shelbyville has a reputation for keeping a tight timeline for each evening’s session. Gardiner made quick work of things, even in the biggest classes. The quality at Shelbyville is always outstanding as it affords a last opportunity to show that entry that’s heading to the green shavings of Freedom Hall.

We’ll no doubt be seeing the four teams that came through the gate for the Five-Gaited Championship again soon. They put on a great show to close out the 2010 show but when Gardiner turned in his card, it was Walterway’s What About Me scoring another impressive grand championship for owner and breeder Larry Hartsock. Zombie Stomp and Tammy Devore left the ring with a big ovation for their reserve grand championship effort on behalf of owner Lucinda Hartley.

The ladies class featured a very strong group but it was the decorated team of Rosemarie Fernandez and I’m Royalty Too named to take the blue from the stellar group. Let’s Roll and Jannie Giles were right there to take the red ribbon for Jennifer Pitt.

Seven entries came back for the Amateur Five-Gaited Stake and the class was full of champion contenders but none could top Lynn Williams on Gardiner’s card. He named Mary Gaylord McClean to take the victory pass with her homebred mare. Janet Kellett and CH Callaway’s Banner Headline have numerous titles to their credit and they turned in a powerful team effort for reserve from DeLovely Farm.

In the even bigger qualifier, Break On Through and Laura Dozer Elliot were unstoppable on their way to the winner’s circle and they bested 10 other teams for the impressive win under the direction of Steve and Tiffany Wheeler. Lynn Williams and McClean exited with the red streamers in this class.

In the junior exhibitor division, the top two ribbons were split among the top two numbers. Stonecroft Rumor Has It, winner of last week’s Five-Gaited Championship at Mercer County Fair with Rob Byers, headed down victory lane with Alexa Williams riding for Cynthia McWilliams. They were reserve in the qualifier behind the team of Fight Night and Andrew Slater who have also been having a banner year showing from Kalarama Farm. Fight Night and Slater claimed the reserve tricolor for Pamela Slater.

Our African Violet racked her way to victory in the junior class with Tiffany Wheeler. The powerful young mare earned her share of fans with her performance and when it was announced after her win that it was dedicated to the memory of long time trainer Patty Milligan who lost her battle with cancer Aug. 2, 2010, she no doubt gained even more fans. More Than A Memory showed off with Brian Chappell and they were the first ones out of the class as the reserve grand champions. Chappell rode for owners Bob and Tonya Brison.

The Next Big Star may be just that. Tre Lee had the winning ride on board Kristen Bagdasarian’s entry in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class. Novella, owned by Mary Jane Meanor, exited with the red ribbon with Steve Wheeler up.

Faith Brickzen and The Rest Of The Story won the Five-Gaited Pony class for Ann Marie Brickzen.

The Three-Gaited Stake hosted five elegant, high stepping contenders and they put on a good show for the big crowd. Callaway’s Clemency, owned and shown by Elisabth Goth, trotted out with the tricolor. Renaissance Reveler and Clark Clouse kept Harold Denton’s good show going with their reserve grand championship finish.

The lady riders faced an incredibly deep class and they pulled out all the stops in an effort to take the blue. Directed by Willowbank, the team of Heavenly Thunder and Nancy Leigh Fisher stepped up to accept the blue ribbon after their picture-perfect performance for the third consecutive year. Majestic’s Jackie O and Amy Dix Rock have been having a great season under the Premier Stables banner and they were right there to take the red ribbon.

With Style And Grace, teamed with Tara Grom, was every bit of her name when she took the victory pass in the Amateur Three-Gaited Stake for Bob and Kim Grom. He’s A Jim Dandy and Harold Denton stepped up for the reserve streamers for Bullet Concrete Materials under the direction of Clark Clouse.

You Move Me moved to the top of Gardiner’s card in the nine-entry qualifier. Jennifer McGowan rode for owner Bruce Williams. Rick Cook directed the winning team. Grom and With Style And Grace took the red ribbon back to the DeLovely tack room.

Lynda Norman’s flashy CH Enough About You had two different riders in the junior exhibitor three-gaited division and they took the win and reserve in the championship and qualifier respectively. Tyler Miles rode to the tricolor and Callie Smith took the reserve behind qualifier winner Gypsy’s Say When and Maggie Camp, also from DeLovely. CH Nelmar Tango 4 Ever and Natalie Sams represented Signature Stables with their reserve grand championship effort for Terry and Anne Sams.

Twice Nightly and John Biggins turned back all challengers in the Junior Three-Gaited Stake. They topped a very nice group for the win for owner Chris Nalley. Trainer Keith Harger rode Cosmic Charm to second place for owner Jonelle Scott.

A trio of nice three-year-olds handled the crowd and the noise in good order and Gardiner named Thunderstar the winner with Darrell Case riding for Judith Swartz. Extra Belle and Merlin Farm assistant trainer Chris Brannan claimed the reserve for Kathy Capsuto-Walker.

Janet Kellett’s talented two-year-old bested a nice field to earn the blue with Johanna Kapioltas showing under the Undulata Farm banner. Crystal’s American Idol was also bred by Kellett. Vladimar carried John Biggins to the red ribbon for owner Dr. Bill Clem.

Manhattan’s Irish Cream and Dylan Hines added another win to their resume with the blue in the Three-Gaited Pony class. CH Lost Token and Ashley Biggins were next in line for a ribbon for John and Renee Biggins.

Imperiaptor with Mitch Clark and CH Kalarama Shiraz with Drew Taylor Hewitt battled it out and they finished one and two respectively in the Three-Gaited Park Stake. Results were the same in the open class, but Clark Clouse showed Shiraz. Clark rode for owner Laurel Nelson.

The amateurs and junior exhibitors combined for their class and a really nice group came through the gate to take on the challenge. Tara Grom continued her great week by heading to center ring to pick up the blue on board CH Perfect Vengeance. Show Baby Show and Christina Collis made it a DeLovely one-two punch with their reserve for S.A.B., Inc.

Legend Of Troy and Melinda Moore bested the field to exit as the Fine Harness Stake Champions for Poser Farm. Voulez Vous, with Nelson Green driving, turned in a strong effort and exited with the reserve title for Chris Nalley.

James and Misdee Miller had a great show under the Kalarama Farm banner including James’ win with Heir’s Treasure in the Amateur Fine Harness Stake for Hillcroft Farm. Linda Beltz drove her homebred Steel The Moment to reserve under the Biggins Stables Banner for Dr. and Mrs. Homer Beltz.

Roberta Belle and Kathy Capsuto-Walker added the blue to the Escalade Stables tack room with their victory in the junior class for Kathy Capsuto Trust.

Alde-Mar’s Crystal Pistol, shown by Edward "Hoppy" Bennett won the three-year-old class which hosted a nice group. Their win added yet another victory to owner and breeder Janet Kellett’s total. If The Tiara Fits performed like royalty and she was reserve with George Knight driving for Kim Skipton and George Knight.

Andre van Schalwyk teamed Simbara’s Cup Of Sugar to the blue in the two-year-old class for Mike Hylton.

Melinda Moore was back in the winner’s circle but this time she had the pedal to the metal behind Belle Starr. They were named the Roadster To Bike Stake Champions. Mommasbobalou and Mike Felty won the open class and returned in the stake to take the reserve streamers for Ben Fisher.

Trio Bolero G and Misdee Miller entertained the crowd with their win in the amateur class as did Rum’s Last Shot with Jennifer Robertson. They exited with the red ribbon and plenty of crowd support.

Lots of great ponies made the trip to the Shelbyville fairgrounds and their efforts were definitely appreciated by the knowledgeable crowd.

Twice world’s grand champion Beulah Jean and Jeff McClean sailed to the Roadster Pony Stake for Golden Creek Farm. They were followed in the ribbon count by Heartland Rich and Famous with Holli Hayes. She drove under the direction of Rich and Maureen Campbell for owner Linda Hendricks.

Fellow Majestic Oaks exhibitor Patrice O’Brien took her turn in the winner’s circle when Gardiner named Mr. Lucky Man the winner of the amateur class for Joe and Patrice O’Brien. Regal’s Trademark LF and Mary McClean took the reserve.

Nobu and John Scheidt, also showing from Majestic Oaks, won the blue in the Open Harness Pony class and they were followed in the ribbons by Art-O-Matic. Karen Frickey drove for Frickey Farms.

Heartland Elise and Jeff McClean added another win to Golden Creek Farms’ total with their victory in the Open Hackney Pony class.

According to Gardiner, none could catch Lauren Mathewson and Catch Me If You Can on their way down victory lane in the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony class. Mathewson showed for owner Karen Frickey. High Life Pride and Delaney Webb were reserve for Morgan Rieser Stables LLC.

The Five-Gaited Pleasure Stake showcased a strong group of six and they racked and trotted their way to the lineup to await Gardiner’s decision after a good class. He named Divine Renaissance the winner for Judah Saddlebreds. Nick Maupin handled the catch ride. As impressive as their win was in the championship, it was even more impressive perhaps that they topped an enormous group of 15 to win the qualifier.

Linda Beltz and teammate Top Recruit keep getting better and better and they stepped up to take the reserve tricolor back to Biggins Stables. What About Phil and Sarah Crane turned in the red ribbon effort from Autumn Hills Farm for Mike and Sarah Crane. CH Full Spectrum and Martha Keck continued their summer tour of Kentucky with the top three finish in the qualifier, showing from Premier Stables.

Opus Forty-Two and Walden Bullard were the top team in the Junior Park Pleasure Stake. They won for owners True Blue Saddlebreds LLC. The Perfect Man and Mike McIntosh had a great go to finish with the reserve for owner Marilyn Moores.

Nicolle Beltz Tolliver and CH Lightnin’ Lil have won numerous titles for the Beltz-Tolliver family and they did it again at Shelbyville. They won the very competitive 11-entry Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship after a very respectable reserve in the adult class. Quinlan and Peggy Coucilman had a great show from Kalarama Farm. Not only did they finish as the reserve grand champions, but they won the largest class of the horse show, the 16-entry adult qualifier. Stefani Hanes teamed Pola Negri to the top three finish in the huge qualifier for Steve and Ellen Hanes. Hanes rode from Reiser Stables.

Dakota Reiser topped the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship with a strong team effort with Santana’s Gypsy Gal, owned by Chris Reiser to keep his wins coming. CH Royal Messenger and Caroline Skinner exited with the reserve tricolor for Mr. and Mrs. James Skinner.

Undulata’s Sugar Coated and Katherine Harmon won the qualifier for Sandi and Kady Harmon. They showed under the direction of Patty Wooters. Mary McWilliams rode The Grand Master to a second place tie in the qualifier under the direction of Linda Gahwiler.

Christine Broder has been a huge supporter of the Shelbyville Horse Show and her efforts were rewarded when she was presented with the Roberta "Bert" Eddington Award Friday night during the show.

She was also rewarded when CH Callaway’s Halley’s Comet was named the Show Pleasure Driving Champion and Grand Champion under the direction of Undulata Farm. Worthy’s Alright Son and Meagan Hensler were the reserve grand champions and reserve champions for owner Fred Hensler.

Red Shirt Freshman and Rachel Seifert, showing from Premier, made it two for two when they won the Adult Country Pleasure Championship with a strong team effort. They had already won the big, competitive 11-entry adult class for Long Hollow Farm LLC.

Rocky Bay and Catie Ray Clark followed in the ribbon count in the championship for Jessica and Glen Carter and they showed under the direction of Wyatt DeHart. Kim Grom teamed CH Callaway’s Torch Bearer to the reserve in the big qualifier to add another top ribbon to the DeLovely count.

Tremendously Charming has numerous wins to her credit in the country pleasure division with owner Kathy Capsuto-Walker, but Shelbyville marked the mare’s debut in the junior exhibitor division. Mollie Kregor did a great job in her debut with Tremendously Charming to win the qualifier and they then returned to do it again in the championship. Sir Andrew and Dakota Reiser turned in two good rides to finish in second in both classes for Chris Reiser.

Periaptus Infinitus and owner Kay Marschel moved up from their red ribbon finish in the Country Pleasure Driving class to take the tricolor and victory pass in the championship under the direction of Dena Lopez. Dr. Randy McBride drove Ed and Ada Perwein’s Ipod to the reserve tricolor. Sandy Currier directed the reserve grand champions. Moe Anson drove Irish Cappuccino to the win in the qualifier under the Signature Stables banner.

Kregor added to her success at Shelbyville with the win in the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship under the direction of Premier Stables. Payton Walker has a bounty of blues this season in the 10 and under division and she won the UPHA Walk and Trot 10 and Under Challenge Cup, showing from Devore Stables.

Showing like a horse half his age, Abe marched down the rail to win the Friesian Walk and Trot Pleasure Stake with Karen Frickey riding. At the age of 18, Abe has become an ambassador of sorts of the Friesian breed and despite a heat index over 100 degrees on the night of the qualifier, he won that class too. Karen Frickey showed Abe under the direction of Randy and Denessa Harper.

The Shelbyville Horse Show turned 21 this year and proved that she’s all grown up and only gets better with age. Horse shows around the country could take a lesson from the way this show works to involve the community, raise money and make owners, trainers and exhibitors feel appreciated and welcome.

The road to Louisville has almost come to an end. In not much more than a week many will be heading to Freedom Hall to get things ready to show at The Big Dance. Shelbyville Horse Show may well have been an indicator of just how fantastic the competition promises to be.

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