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The Sun Shines On The Dixie Cup

by Diana Davidson

CONYERS, Ga., - The Dixie Cup welcomed exhibitors back to the Georgia International Horse Park on May 6-8. After taking place a week earlier last year, The Dixie Cup returned to its usual place on Mother’s Day weekend. The turnout was strong with stalls and entries up from last year in spite of a handful of barns that were entered but unable to attend due to the floods in Tennessee and other areas in the southeast the previous weekend. The weather was picture perfect for the show with warm temperatures to start followed by a cool and clear weekend.

This marked the tenth year since Saddlebred, Hackney Pony, Roadster and open classes were added to the 27 year old Dixie Cup Morgan Classic to form The Dixie Cup. In these years, the show has seen its list of new stables and exhibitors grow by leaps and bounds. A strong contingent of stables from throughout the southeastern states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky as well as Pennsylvania were joined by more new stables once again this year. The Dixie Cup show committee and its many volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that Dixie Cup exhibitors enjoy a full complement classes along with plenty of fun.

Southern hospitality and volunteerism continue to set The Dixie Cup apart from many other shows. The exhibitors from all breeds enjoyed the camaraderie and made new friends and renewed acquaintances. One of the highlights of the show was Friday’s Ladies Night, which was created to allow exhibitors from all disciplines to ride in support of cancer research. The all-breed ladies classes in open western and open hunter in addition Morgan Ladies English Pleasure and ASB Ladies Five-Gaited brought everyone together for a great cause. In addition cancer survivors, class sponsors and those riding in honor of friends and loved ones were recognized on this special evening.

The Dixie Cup has been conscious in its effort to make a difference. Its donations to and efforts on behalf of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Rockdale Special Olympics, Georgia Horse Council, and Georgia International Horse Park have certainly made a difference over the years. This year's show was held for the benefit of Horse Rescue support services in Georgia and the Rockdale Special Olympics with many of their members in attendance during the show. The vendor area behind the ringside tables was also the location of a book sale and silent auction that were organized and run by the Simply Southern Morgan Youth Club to raise money for community service projects.

The show featured two action-packed sessions a day plus a third session for academy on Saturday afternoon. In spite of some long days of showing, everyone still found time for visiting, working horses, golfing, shopping, and dining at many of the local restaurants or those in nearby Atlanta.

In addition to some world-class competition in the show ring, The Dixie Cup also featured many other highlights. Friday night featured the always-lively Exhibitor's Party at the Cherokee Run Golf Clubhouse with a large crowd in attendance. There were also numerous stable parties held during the show including several birthday parties and impromptu celebrations.

The management triumverite of Barb Goda, Tony Lee and P.D. May were justifiably proud of this year's show and the strong support they have received from the ever-expanding list of Dixie Cup exhibitors. Rick Adams, Dot Atchison, Jill Bertolani, Mike Bertolani, Pat Borders, Hariette Dye, Sarah Gallant, John Goda, Jr., John Goda III, Jill Kreider, Evelyn Kuschell, Carol Martin, Shirley May, Sid Perryman, Rachel Scott, Taylor Vickers, Tricia Waclena, Allison Wright, Bob and Paula Yeska, and Diane Wright round out the great group of committee members who volunteer their time to help make The Dixie Cup the successful and enjoyable show that it is.

The list of Dixie Cup show officials also included; Dodd Vickers (announcer), Casey McBride (photographer), Patrick Hawkins (videographer), Paula Yeska and Patti McDonald (secretaries), Diane Ayers and Marion Schultz (office staff), Jane Blue (USEF steward), June Brune (organist), John Medicus (paddock), Stanley Orr (farrier) and Dr. Ray Wright, DVM (veterinarian). The show ring judging duties were handled by Renee Lavery and Sammi Hazen, while Scott Thacker officiated in the academy classes.

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