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The Tampa Charity Horse Show
Wraps Up The Sunshine Circuit In Great Style

by Diana Davidson
Posted March 20, 2002
TAMPA, Fla., - March 5-9, 2002 marked the dates of the 69th annual Tampa Charity Horse Show. This venerable show has been a mainstay on the Sunshine Circuit throughout the years with many different formats and venues. Since 1993 Tampa Charity has called the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa its home. The show which is sponsored by the Tampa Horse Show Association, Inc. once again this year benefited The Scottish Rite of Florida, which provides clinics for the treatment of childhood language disorders. Of major significance in the history of this show has been its long established tradition of supporting Tampa's charities. Not only has this show been a major and colorful sporting event, it has also provided additional resources for many fine causes. Over the years, the Tampa Charity Horse Show has contributed over $350,000 to local charities.

The storied history of Tampa Charity would not be complete without the many dedicated volunteers who have helped the show earn so many accolades throughout the horse show community and the local community. Tampa Charity is also richer for some of the great people and horses who have attended this fine show. This year's show was dedicated to the memory of one such man, Jimmy Glidewell.

The following excerpt was written in the show program, "He was never too busy to say a kind word, to admire a horse and a rider, to pass on the things he learned through 60 years of training Saddlebreds.

"There are few men who loved their careers more than this 79-year-old. His official obituary listed him as a 'retired horse trainer'. 'Actually he was showing horses eight weeks before he died.

"The Saddlebred world, and the Florida horse shows have lost a number of stalwarts the last few years. Their lives made ours richer just because they passed through them." In addition to the dedication to Jimmy Glidewell, Tampa Charity also honored the memories of longtime Tampa Charity exhibitors and legends of the Saddlebred world Helen Crabtree, Tom Moore and Sally Wheeler.

Tampa Charity show manager and chair Becky Buffington was pleased with this year's show, "I think our hospitality and friendly atmosphere is what sets Tampa Charity apart. We give out welcome fruit baskets to each stable as well as official's baskets; we serve coffee, donuts and fruit each morning; host a ringside pizza party and a great Friday night exhibitors party. I would like to thank all of the trainers, exhibitors and vendors for their support. This show has been around for 69 years, and there are not a lot of shows that can say that. We are delighted that so many people come back year after year and some stables travel a great distance to be with us when they can. I think the numbers in the classes were strong this year and the Trainer's Jackpot helped with numbers and promoting the show to the Morgan and Saddlebred barns. The weather worked up to a great Florida finish!"

In addition to Becky Buffington the list of show officials included judges Johnny Lucas (Saddlebreds, Roadsters, Hackney Harness Ponies), Fern Bittner (Morgans and Equitation), and Steve Old (Academy). Beth Snider maintained an efficient ship as show secretary and Scott Snider as grounds manager for the second week in a row. While Howard Schatzberg and crew remained as official photographer, Richfield Video as official videographer and Stanley Orr as farrier, a host of new officials filled the lineup for the second week on the Sunshine Circuit. Peter Fenton (Announcer), Mary Lynn Whitley (USAE Steward), Marion Vande Wall (Ringmaster), Lee Mendel (Paddock Master), and Dale Stone (Organist) were welcomed as Tampa Charity officials. Although both of the Sunshine Circuit shows are held at the same location only days apart, there are many changes in the cast for the Tampa Charity Show. While some stables shipped out on Sunday, a new group of stables joined in for the second week of competition. While the weather was less than ideal in the Tampa Bay area in the days between the shows, exhibitors still found plenty of things to do and area attractions to pass the time. The First Sunshine Circuit Golf Tournament was held at the Walden Lakes Country Club and was organized by second place finisher Howie Schatzberg. The three-man team scramble was won with a score of 64 by the team of Marion Vande Wall, Cal Wright and sandbagger Brad Kurtz. Donated equine themed prizes were awarded to all of the competitors.

The Saturday evening session of the horse show also featured some special award presentations. Becky Buffington honored James and Helen Rosburg for their contributions and support of Tampa Charity with a center ring presentation. Tampa Charity is famous for its great sportsmanship and the show annually rewards winners in that category as Don Judd was presented the Director's Cup For Good Sportsmanship by a professional, and Betty Valenti added her name to the impressive winners on The NCNB American Sportsmanship Award for amateurs. A large group of youngsters took part in the third annual Junior Judging Contest with Andres Herrera earning top honors.

Hospitality is also a large part of the Tampa Charity Horse Show. Beginning on Tuesday afternoon trainers and grooms were treated to a welcome pizza party sponsored by the Tampa Horse Show Association. A well received progressive barn party followed Thursday night’s performance. The Tampa Horse Show Association sponsored a very entertaining exhibitor's party on Friday night with authentic Cuban food, music and casino-type games. The casino dollars were then used to bid on fantastic items including; a vacation in the Bahamas, airline tickets, a TV/VCR, and a vacation in Long Boat Key.

For complete show results, see the printed edition of Saddle Horse Report dated March 18, 2002.

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