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Tar Heel Outshines the Carolina Clouds

STATESVILLE, N.C. -- The 37th Annual Tar Heel Classic Championship Horse Show stood out among the clouds. Each day of classes provided quality competition, great camaraderie, and tons of fun!

Liz Holmes, show manager, did an outstanding job of organizing the Kiwanis Club sponsored event, making sure all exhibitors, horses, and spectators were accommodated. Many complimented her on the improvement of the ring from the previous year and stated that they'd be back again for more in 2006.

There is a real sense of family and friendship at the Tar Heel Classic; everyone cheers one another on whether you are from the same barn or not. Exhibitors attend Tar Heel because they enjoy showing horses.

A strong crowd of junior exhibitors was evident, proving that Tar Heel is going strong as well as the interest in Saddlebreds among the youth of the Carolinas. From lead line to amateur park, the young folks were making themselves known.

The traditional “Breakfast for Dinner” was held after the show Friday night at the nearby Holiday Inn where many turned out to dine on grits and mingle after a damp, yet successful night at the Iredell show grounds. All in attendance had a marvelous time at the 37th Annual Tar Heel Classic Championship Horse Show and will look forward to the next installment of one of North Carolina's oldest Saddlebred shows.

Five-Gaited Callaway's W J Bryan took home the Five-Gaited Championship and top honors in the Open Five Gaited Stallions and Geldings class with Kim Cowart riding for owner, Doris Crumpler. Watching Cowart put this gallant horse through its gaits during the championship was a real crowd-pleaser. Kathy Cook and the jet black Callaway's New Day worked hard for reserve under the direction of Mountainview Stables. They also took home reserve in the Ladies Five-Gaited class. In their only appearance, Nancy Troutman put Callaway's State Senator to the test to earn the reserve ribbon in the Open Five-Gaited Stallions and Geldings for owner Bill Banks, who is preparing to take over the reins and show next at Bonnie Blue National.

Kim Cowart was again the champion in the Ladies Five-Gaited class with Howling Wolf for owner Brenda Pulis of Florence, S.C.

The new combination of Check This Out and Dr. Christine Johnson, who rides under the direction of Johnny Lucas and Sons, racked their way to the winner's circle in both the amateur qualifier and the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. Julie Grubbs riding Topaz Taz earned the reserve ribbon in the qualifier as well as the reserve grand championship.

The one entry in Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship was a thrill! Sage Schweickert rode Shamrock's Free Step like she'd been racking in the show ring for years although she is fresh out of the academy division. She directed the large chestnut like a pro and rode her way to the winner's circle in the qualifier and championship with the crowd cheering her all the way. Schweickert, and the rest of the crew at Jansal Saddlebreds, also donned a helmet instead of a derby.

In the Junior Five-Gaited class, Quintus VanderSpuy expertly guided Attaway's Mystified for the blue bringing back one of many top ribbons to the newly opened Lenux Stables tack room. Christy Johnson of Deerfield Stables rode Irish in Platinum for the red ribbon. Johnson continued to show more young stock, like The Cash Connection for owner and her proud father Harold Absher to victory in the Three-Year-Old Five Gaited class.

Betty Herter was pleased with her Carolina-Owned Five-Gaited winner Warhawk's RoHo, who was ridden by Steve Hanks. This gaited horse is by Sultan's Warhawk, who Herter owns as well. She believes in the quality of this line and wants to make sure more champions bear this sire's name. Reserve honors went to Heirs Cotton Candy ridden by Mary Lou Greenwell for owner, Marian Doss.

Three-Gaited Trainer Brooke VanderSpuy, with the help of husband Quintus VanderSpuy, at Lenux Stables in Huntersville, N.C., guided the big bay CH Man on the Run to the win in the Open Three-Gaited class in their only performance. The red ribbon went to Heathermoor's Prince of Anadon with Kim Cowart in the irons for owner, Connie Hess.

The exciting Hollywood Scandal's number was called first in the Amateur Three-Gaited qualifier with Morgan Berger riding in their only appearance. Peri's Wild Whisper and Sarah Miller picked up reserve honors. This sparkling team went on to win the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship Saturday evening.

Janelle D'Amato and Irish Estate wore blue in the Three-Year-old Three-Gaited Class for Jansal Saddlebreds. D'Amato made many top ribbon appearances during the three days of Tar Heel.

Bernie's Spirit and Kim Williams made an elegant picture as the Ladies Three-Gaited Champions as they marched to the winner's circle.

Park The park division was hot at Tar Heel, drawing many to the rail to watch. The powerful My Mountain Heirs with Louis Eckard up for owner Denise Outen was crowned Open Park Grand Champion and Open Park Champion. Highpoint's Heart Throb with Sandra Brown earned reserve in the qualifier while My Forgotten Favorite and Samuel Allred finished reserve in the open stake.

Amateur Three-Gaited Park made for an exciting Friday evening. Rachel Stroud, dressed in her midnight blue, was right on target for the blue ribbon riding Callaway's Exempt. Janelle D'Amato gained another ribbon with An Irish Sensation as reserve champion. The Junior Exhibitor Park class was also intense with six young women riding hard to win the blue. Taylor Church riding Whispers of Moonlight earned the title. Lindsay Newsom rode A Piece of the Roc to reserve. The Championship was a combined amateur and junior exhibitor effort that really brought the crowd to its feet. Horses and riders were all competing for the best spot on the rail and a chance to make their pass in front of the judge. When all was said and done, the grey beauty, Whispers of Moonlight and Taylor Church were announced as Amateur/ Junior Exhibitor Park Stake Champions. Callaway's Exempt and Rachel Stroud earned the reserve grand championship in the deep class.

Another crowd draw was the Three Gaited Pony Championship and qualifier as the winning team in both was Allie Wellington and Highpoint's Fantasia. CH Callaway's Career Girl with Suzanne Kinzler were reserve in the qualifier.

Fine Harness CH Unforgiven made two unforgettable showings, winning both the Fine Harness Championship and Open Fine Harness class. This attractive horse was driven by Karin Banks. Broadway Carousel and Bob Bratton made owners Dr. and Mrs. Ron Miller proud as they earned reserve in the Fine Harness Championship and the blue ribbon in the Amateur Fine Harness class. Manhattan's Rambo with Dora Huie at the lines received reserve ribbon in the qualifier.

The top entry in Three-Year-Old Fine Harness was Lady O'Lydia, out of Worthy's Prodigy and Lite Switch, with Steve Allred at the lines.

Pleasure Five-gaited pleasure like its three-gaited counterpart was a well stacked division. In the Thursday evening qualifier, seven horses were put to the test. Endolane Genius and Luanne Kilday rose above the rest to earn the blue ribbon. Callaway's No Problem and Dustin Lassett came in reserve. In the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship, Endolane Genuis returned to the winner's circle while Bet The Bucks and Sherri Newquist Gray moved up several notches with an outstanding performance to earn the reserve grand championship.

Janelle D'Amato seemed to be inside the ring more often than she was outside of it. She drove Waiting Heir to her first Show Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier win. Waiting Heir looked at home making both victory passes in this division. Who's that Guy with Jeanna Lassett at the lines came in reserve both classes.

The popular 18 and Over Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class was chock full of contenders. Sometimes Gold trotted into the top spot with Jill White in the irons as Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Grand Champions and Champions. Shamrock's Versace and Heather Dudley came in close behind as reserve grand champions and reserve champions in these large classes.

Master Gold Card and Kerrie Beth Fersch put in two priceless performances as Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Grand Champions and Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Champions. Simply Panache and Lake Dailey emerged from the pack and claimed reserve both times out.

The Novice Rider Three-Gaited Pleasure class gave new combinations a chance to strutt their stuff. In this case, Red White and Beautiful and Erin Belton were pleasure perfect for the blue ribbon win. Double Your Fixx and Jessica Brown were a sporty combination for the reserve.

Santana's Flaming Dawn and Camille Cowart made two victory passes as both English Pleasure Pony Stake Champion and qualifier champion. Camille, daughter of Kim and Peter Cowart, made her parents proud showing her pony at its best in the Tar Heel ring. Candace Lovell riding Corrina's Star trotted in for the English pleasure reserve ribbon in the qualifier while Cara Wolfe showed Percy to reserve in the stake.

The Walk/Trot Pleasure Riders 12 years and under champion was All Heired Up with K. Boysen in the saddle. Reserve went to CF Chief's Red Hot Girl ridden by Harley Campbell. In the Saturday morning Walk/Trot Pleasure Championship, Bronwyn Frank had a comeback ride to win the tricolor with Albelarm Anchorman. Harley Campbell remained solid aboard CF Chief's Red Hot Girl to pick up the reserve tricolor.

Fairfield's Cheerleader with Pam Quick in the irons made the Amateur Trained Three-Gaited Show Pleasure victory pass. Dream To Remember and Debbie Palmer were on their heels for reserve.

Pleasure Prospect Horses Four Years and Under winner Manhatten Ave is a young star proving his champion status. He scored his fourth blue ribbon this season with Louis Eckard riding for Susan Orton. The bold horse Dickie D came in reserve with Andrea Cline riding in their first appearance together.

Country Pleasure Blue Right Through was indeed blue right through the Country Pleasure Driving class and championship with Marcy Van Gerven at the lines. Reserve honors went to the team of Rocky's Wild Flight for Nancy Shrader.

In the Country Pleasure Riders 18 and Over, CH Bonnie Santana was ever the champion with Debbie Palmer in the irons, winning the qualifier and championship. Elaine Conklin and Rex's King David earned reserve in the qualifier as well as the reserve championship.

The Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure section had a full ring. These horses were breathing hard in the lineup on Saturday night, steaming after some serious trips around the ring. Kaitlin Whatley was thrilled to sweep the division winning the championship aboard the ideal country pleasure mount, Carolina Clay. The pair also won the qualifier. Bankshires Davy Jones and Nikki Lawing carried home two well-earned reserves.

The Western Pleasure contenders made a strong impression this year at Tar Heel Classic. Beaux's Radiant Empire and Pat Yeatts won the Western Country Pleasure Championship. Excitor's Lady Di and Debbie Palmer finished reserve.

Beaux's Radiant Empire was also the winner of the Saddle & Bridle ASB Shatner Western Pleasure qualifier and reserve also went to Excitor's Lady Di. In the Country Western Pleasure qualifier, Debbie Palmer guided Excitor's Lady Di to the win. The reserve ribbon went to Bounty Promise and Luanne Kilday of Greenville, Tenn.

The Saddle and Bridle Working ASB Western Pleasure title, which included an intricate workout, went to Decoy with Jenni Smith aboard. Irradiate with Luanne Kilday exited with the red streamers.

Lisa Jordan-Pearce made a trip to the winner's circle with Toluca in the Hunter/Sport Horse Pleasure class.

Roadster The Roadster division was a highlight at the Iredell Fairgounds in Statesville. The crowd was as animated as it cheered on the horses, ponies, drivers, and riders. In the Open Roadster Horses to Bike class, Sour Grapes turned in a sweet performance to place first in a class of five with Steve Hanks on the lines. Diamond Hustler with Louis Eckard in the blue silks zoomed in for the red ribbon. It was a repeat result for the championship.

Janelle D'Amato scored another blue in the Amateur Road Horse class with Spatz and returned Saturday morning for a quick trip to the winners circle aboard Spatz to win the Road Horse Under Saddle class.

For the Open Roadster Ponies class, Let's take A Chance and Paige Joyner-Owen for Kathy Humphries sped into the winner's circle with Twin Willow's North Star and Chad Chandler for Renee McCall in reserve.

The Amateur roadster Pony 50”and Under was another thriller with Renee McCall and Twin Willow's Storm Warning making the victory pass. Conqueror's Curly E Cue and Pam Shupe drove in for reserve.

The Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony class was a blur with Dustin Deaton and China Princess coming out as champions once the dust settled. John Glenn with Morgan Feimster driving landed as reserve champions.

Despite a storm looming, classes continued on Saturday morning allowing for John Glenn and Morgan Feimster to win the Roadster Pony Under Saddle class. Heartlands Precious Jewels and Jenna Holland came out with the reserve under saddle. The junior exhibitor/ amateur championship winner was Twin Willow's North Star with reserve Championship going to John Glenn.

In the Roadster Pony Championship, Dustin Deaton drove China Princess to beat out the older competition in this competitive class. Let's Take A Chance and Paige Owen were Reserve Roadster Pony Grand Champions. Junior/ Novice Roadster Pony champions, Jodie's Jazz with Ed Harper driving for Emerald Ridge Farm, rounded out the full division.

Hackney/Harness Pony Hackney Pony Championship and open winner was the high stepping Breezeland's Moon-N-Stars driven by Charles Leonard. Leonard's victory pass was even more eye catching as he was joined in the carriage by his granddaughter, Lilly Boyd, who would have gladly taken over the lines.

In the Open Harness Pony qualifier, Shelia Lail drove Fitz's Mademoiselle into the winner's circle for Drowning Creek Farm and Mrs. Landon Eckard drove the pony to the Harness Pony Championship title.

Equitation Dominique Ramirez-Berijano and her horse, Alvin Ailey, won the Walk and Trot Equitation Riders 10 and Under Championship and qualifier. The talented youngster, wearing her light beige suit and riding her high-headed Alvin Ailey, made a striking picture. Five-year-old Dominique Ramirez-Berijano rides under the direction of Calibogue Stable.

Friesian The Friesian division had one beautiful under saddle entry winning the qualifier and championship, Tjibbe and Jackie Leon.

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