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The Tar Heel Classic


by Lauren Camp De Haan


STATESVILLE, N.C. - The 39th annual Tar Heel Classic Championship Horse Show kicked off with quality competition, fabulous friendships, complimentary crowds and lots of fun.


Show Manager Liz Holmes did an excellent job again this year making sure, despite the weather, that exhibitors, spectators and animals alike were well taken care of. The Kiwanis sponsored event, held at the Iredell County Fairgrounds, boasted quite a crowd that braved the rain on several nights to come out and cheer on the Saddlebreds. Many of the spectators came from nearby Troutman just to see the breed high-step their way around the ring. Troutman also boasts several fine restaurants including: Julia’s Talley House, which features down-home southern soul food, as well as a great little pizza place across from the show grounds, aptly named The Best Little Pizza Place In Town.


Judge Maria Gilman made the trip from Land O’Lakes, Fla., to judge the Tar Heel Classic while Sandra Hall captured the winning victory passes on film. Ringmaster Meg Irvin kept the ring safe while organist Jane Frye kept exhibitors trotting to the beat. Announcer Gene Frye did a marvelous job calling out the gaits, while show secretaries Betty Nellis and Sherri Lowe kept the office running smoothly.


As always at the Tar Heel Classic’s southern hospitality outshines the rainy weather with several events held during the show. On Wednesday night there was a welcome party for all early arrivals held at the show grounds. Of course on Friday night after the show there is the Exhibitors’ Breakfast held at the Holiday Inn, an annual Tar Heel tradition. Everyone who attended the Tar Heel Classic will look forward to next year’s event at one of the oldest and longest running shows on the Carolina circuit.



Making a striking show in the Open Five-Gaited Championship, Sir Attitude, owned by Jansal Saddlebreds and exhibited by Lewis Eckerd, were a real crowd-pleaser.

Shamrock’s Free Step and Janelle D’Amato took home the blue for Jansal Saddlebreds again in the Ladies Five-Gaited class as well as the red ribbon in the amateur championship.


The lovely Pick Me First and expert rider Donna Lockett were on top of their game in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship, pinning the tricolor up on the Boone’s Farm banner. This silver-tailed beauty and her rider were reserve in the qualifier behind the Mercer Spring’s entry of Callaway’s Four Leaf Clover and owner/exhibitor Karen Thornhill.


Bluebonnet’s Wild Thing and Cara Wolf went two for two in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship and qualifier. Morgan Feimster and Riva’s Periaptor took home the reserve in the championship, with SDRS Calypso Rhythm and Katherine O’Brien in reserve for the qualifier.



Haley Covert showed the Dwight Jenkins owned entry of Lunenburg’s Irish Storm to victory in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship and qualifier.


Megan Whitby and Let The Magic Begin were on top of their game in the Carolina Owned Three-Gaited class, taking home the blue ribbon as well as the Junior Three-Gaited class for owner Jeanne Frazer.


A thrilled Jenna Holland took home two blues in the Three-Gaited Pony Championship and qualifier aboard Highpoint’s Heart Throb for owner Sandra Brown.



The high-stepping entry of Caramaya and Nancy Troutman trotted their way into the winner’s circle for the Three-Gaited Park Championship and qualifier. This striking entry is owned by Danny and Nancy Troutman. Simply Attached and Daniel Glovier took home the red ribbon in the championship to Drowning Creek Farm, while Betsy Boone rode Sir Country into reserve in the qualifier for Irene Brock.


Karin Banks showed CH Callaway’s B Gratz Brown to the top honors in the combined Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Park Championship as well as the amateur qualifier. The blue ribbon in the junior exhibitor qualifier went home with Katie’s Dream and Britt Mitchell, while My Mountain Heirs and Rebekah Cloninger took home the red ribbon for Dr. and Mrs. Brian Outen.


Miss Kit Cat and Erin Bolster were in top form to claim the blue ribbon in the Junior Three-Gaited Park class with the Jansal Saddlebreds entry of Slick Sister and Robert Jones in reserve.


Fine Harness

Charles Semones drove the Charlotte Carter entry of Endolane Dreamer to the Open Fine Harness Championship ribbon. Mountain Magic Man and Marcelino Ramirez were in top form to claim the blue ribbon in the Open Fine Harness class for thrilled owners Clifford and Shelia Summers. Le Femme Nikita and Patience Ergish were the winners in the Amateur Fine Harness class.



Success Soleil and Gina Lail sped away with the top ribbons in the Roadster To Bike Championship for the owners Jansal Saddlebreds. The Dreamer and Sean Lassett were reserve under the direction of Steve Hanks. The Dreamer and Hanks claimed the blue ribbon in the qualifying class with Success Soleil in reserve.


Amateur drivers took center stage with their road horses as Eclipse and Steve Deutsch took home the blue ribbon. Diamond Hustler and Rebekah Cloninger were in top form to race away with the blue ribbon in the under saddle championship class under the direction of Lewis Eckerd. Vivacious and Dr. Holly Ackerman were reserve champions after taking home the blue in the qualifier.


Holly Gassen drove the all too cute Cappuccino to the top honors in the Road Pony Championship for thrilled owner Brenda Kelly. Vivacious EF and Harry Daughtry were reserve in that class. Stat and Dr. Robert Pugh took home the blue in the combined Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Road Pony Championship with ZZ Top and Becky Rankin in reserve. These two tied the same in their qualifier as well.


Steve Hanks showed the Steve Edwards entry of Doing Time to the top honors in the Junior/Novice Road Pony class.


The sporty Sugar Daddy and Crystal Case were in top form to claim the championship ribbons after taking reserve in the qualifier. The high-stepping entry of John Glenn and Morgan Feimster were reserve champions after winning the blue in the qualifier.



Rebekah Cloninger stepped into the buggy to show the Drowning Creek entry of Fitz’s Mademoiselle to the championship and qualifying blue in the harness pony division. DRS First Lady and Janelle D’Amato were reserve in the qualifier as well as the championship with driver Robert Jones.


Bo Lucas and Unique Rhythm high-stepped their way into the winner’s circle in the Hackney Pony Championship after taking home the red ribbon in the qualifier. Willowood Balladeer and Charles Leonard were reserve champions. This pair also took home the blue in the qualifier for owner Bill Weavil.


Saraday and Karen Hay were the Hackney/Harness Pony Pleasure Driving Champions as well.



The lustrous black gelding CH Callaway’s No Problem and Dustin Lassett were on top of their game, taking home the championship blue after Jean Meyers showed her faithful steed to the blue in the qualifier. Riverwood’s Duke Of York and Julia Mathis were reserve champions for owner Cathy Lee. The pair of Holy Hannah and Tony Miller were reserve in the qualifier.


First Survivor and Daniel Glovier won the blue ribbon in the Three-Gaited Pleasure Prospect Four and Under class for ecstatic owners Joe and Sherri Cook. The reserve belonged to Ditchline Dan and Christy Absher Johnson.


The lofty Emanating and Dr. Melinda Snyder were looking lovely in the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship class to pick up the top ribbon after finishing reserve in the qualifier. Reserve championship honors belonged to Buenos Noches and Dwight Jenkins Jr. for owner Connie Leonard. Fort Chiswell’s Spanish Music and Ashley Linkous claimed the blue in the qualifying class.


CH It’s Yabba Dabba Doo Time and Allie Wellington glided their way into the winner’s circle under the direction of the Drowning Creek Farm in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Championship. Reserve championship honors belonged to Attaché Allure and Meghan Toms for owners Tammy and Anna Grace Whitworth. This pair claimed the blue ribbon in the qualifier, with Rosewoood’s Hot Shot and Patience Ergish in reserve.


Spirit Of The Night Wind and Lauren Emerson stepped up for the blue ribbon in the Limit Rider Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class for owners Jansal Saddlebreds. Reserve in this class belonged to Loves Ta Dance and Casey Bright for George and Caleigh Bacogeorge.


CH Unforgiven and Karin Banks were too hot to trot in the Show Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier, capturing both blue ribbons. Reserve in both classes belonged to Stevie Nicks and Pat Yeatts for the Cherry Stone Farm LLC.


Taking home the Country Pleasure Championship ribbons were Inky and Rikki Borgheresi after taking the red ribbon in the qualifier. Spirit Of The Night Wind and Janelle D’Amato were reserve champions with Santana’s Montana and Dr. Holly Ackerman claiming the blue ribbon in the qualifier.


Undulata’s Man Of Hour Dreams and Hanna Norwood were two for two in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Reserve qualifying honors belonged to Thomas Edison and Stephanie Miller, with the reserve championship title going to Phantom Eyes and Natalie Penegar.


Showing off their versatility Santana’s Montana and Dr. Holly Ackerman took home the championship honors in the Country Pleasure Driving Championship. Reserve belonged to the qualifying winner Blue Right Through and Sharon Price. Reserve qualifying honors went home with Lisa Jordan Pearce and Mountainview’s Manhattan Viscount.


Country Western Pleasure Championship as well as qualifying honors belonged to Beaux’s Radiant Empire and Pat Yeatts, with Wezatease and Luanne Kilday in reserve in both classes.


A Piece Of The Roc and Lindsey Newsom showed off their hunt seat skills in the Country Hunter Pleasure class to earn the blue as well. Reserve honors belonged to Janelle D’Amato and I Walk Alone.


Santana’s Flaming Dawn and new owner Alexandra Ennis were a cute pair in the English Pleasure Pony Championship and qualifier for two blues.


Jordan Parham and It’s Night Time glided into the winner’s circle in the Walk/Trot Pleasure 12 and Under Championship after claiming reserve in the qualifier. Reserve qualifying honors belonged to Alvin Ailey and Harley Campbell. Star Standing and Anna Ergish were reserve champions.



Lindsey Bryan captured two blues in the Saddle Seat Equitation 17 and under championship and qualifier.



Gregor and Ashley Walker showed off their beautiful skills in the Friesian Under Saddle class. Always a favorite with the crowd the pair enjoyed much applause as well as admiration.



Academy winners included: Lauren Emerson, McKenzie Bryant, Carol Thompson, Christy Stovall, Aranna Torrens, Kayla Wilson, Jeanne Frazer, Alex Hamm, Dianne Espey, Laurie Trotter, Jessica Jones, Lorie Triplette, Alex Cedrone, Heidi Walker, Hannah Burton, Jade Schweickert, Caitlyn Anderson and Lillian Boyd.

This concludes the highlights from the Tar Heel Classic Horse Show. Complete results may be viewed and searched by clicking here.

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