Skip to content

Tom Bass Classic Makes Its Debut

By Karen W. Coup

COLUMBIA, Mo., -- Named in memory of the famed Missouri trainer, the first Tom Bass Classic Horse Show made its debut May 22-25 at the Midway Expo in Columbia, Mo.

Show manager Lenard Davenport hates to see horse shows die, but if one does, as the long-time Good Samaritan show in Springfield, Mo., did, he goes the extra mile to replace it and liked the idea of honoring Tom Bass. Aided this year by the Janian Show Series organization, the infant show had light entries, but Davenport is already enthusiastically planning the 2004 event, possibly to be located in Springfield rather than Columbia. "We did this one to get it on the calendar, and have great expectations for the success of next year's show," said Davenport.

Missourians revere the memory of Tom Bass. Born in 1859 into slavery in Boone County, Bass trained horses for Theodore Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill Cody. A trainer noted for his kind methods, he invented a humane curb bit, still produced today as the Tom Bass Bit. (Its image appeared on the show's ribbon rosettes.) Bass helped organize the show that became the American Royal, and was so widely respected in the early Saddle Horse industry that he was allowed to show with white trainers, even though segregation was the norm during that time.

Judge Tom Scott of Princeton, Minn., took charge of a full range of classes for Saddlebreds, road horses, ponies and saddle seat equitation. Western and hunt seat classes, Morgans, Arabians and Sunday’s Academy classes were judged by Cheryl Manahan of Wichita, Kan.

Exhibitors enjoyed four Exhibitors Parties (two featured ice cream--cake and fruit—cheese), a well decorated ring and experienced officials, all thanks to the professional management of Davenport's team. “I especially want to thank my staff for always doing a great job,” he said, noting that those behind the scenes seldom receive adequate acknowledgment.

Davenport titled some classes after famous Saddle Horses, and the fine harness class named for the Lemon Drop Kid drew the attention of one special show attendee, gracious Glenna Utz of Independence, Mo., whose late husband, Jay, showed the famous harness horse.

This show was a big family affair, with several 2nd and 3rd generation families showing, including the Osburgs and the Kaplans from Mike Roberts Stable. Kirk Osburg and daughter Alison took home the Five-Gaited Stake and Academy Walk-Trot-Canter Championships, respectively. Chris Kaplan didn't show, but helped coach son Max to a win with his pretty pony Seamair’s Dear Sir.

Jennifer Simmons won the Park Pleasure Stake and reserve in the Park Stake with horses that could have passed for a matched pair, Lydian and Choclatier. Three generations of the St. Louis area Phelps family enjoyed the show, with tiny Abigail Mutrux winning the Walk/Trot 10 and Under Equitation and the Walk/Trot Championship. Her mom, Jean Phelps Mutrux, won the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic with the big and showy Brush Creek’s The Patriot, owned by grandmother Marjorie Phelps.

Ollie Mae Knipp was on the rail supporting daughter Anna Marie as she won the Country Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship with their Jimmy Miller-trained and co-owned Ollie By Golly. Kelly and Mark Hulse brought daughter Megan for the Academy show and she took home several blues. The Wessels had both daughters at the show. Makayla Wessel won AHHS Under Saddle Pony class with Outa The Blue. R.S. Palmer and daughter Rhonda Sue Dickerson won high ribbons, with Ruth on the rail as always. Stacy Swalla's Bright One took the blue in the Ladies Five-Gaited, and Linda Hollett of Chavez Stables won the Five-Gaited Amateur Stallion-Gelding with Shamrock’s Return. Her stablemate Carol Friel and Burlington Northern topped the Park Pleasure Junior class. CH Bazooka Joe, sporty as ever with Cydney Cutchall up, won both five-gaited pleasure classes.

Instructed by Brenda Benner, elegant Christina Sloan double-qualified for the two adult equitation finals by winning the USAE Medal and the UPHA Challenge Cup. Young Scott Pisarik qualified for Kansas City with his USAE Junior Medal class victory and also won his Saddle Seat Equitation 13 and under age group for instructor Maggi Montgomery of Wild Venture Stables in Wentzville, Mo.

More Stories

  • **Updated Event Cancellations

    Saddle Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse events. Read More
  • A Blast From The Past

    Saddle Horse Report is pleased to bring you a series of past feature stories on some of the greats of our sport. Please enjoy this walk down memory lane. Read More
  • Future Forum: The Up and Coming of Young Trainers

    Enjoy the first in a series on young trainers! Read More
  • 2020 World's Championship Horse Show Update

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA), along with the WCHS Advisory Committee and Joint Leadership Council, have been working with the Kentucky State Fair Board and World’s Championship Horse Show to ensure that our industry’s voice is heard and concerns are being addressed, while acknowledging that much could change between now and late August. Read More
  • Mid-Ohio Memorial Trotting Sale Roadster Challenge

    Robert Hershberger and his group have been busy gearing up for the Mid-Ohio Memorial Trotting Sale, which was supposed to have been held May 22 but has been postponed to June 26... Read More
  • Wisconsin Futurity Extends All Futurity Nominations To August 1st

    Wisconsin Futurity Board of Directors has extended all 2020 Futurity Nominations to August 1 due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Nomination forms will be mailed in late June. Additional forms may be requested by contacting Nominations Secretary, Emilee Healey by text at 262-825-8424 or Read More
  • Deadline Extended On Horse World People's Choice Of The Decade

    We have had some inquiries about the Horse World People’s Choice Horse Of The Decade (2010-2019) voting. The paper ballots were in the February (ASB) and March (Morgan) editions of Horse World. We were planning to start the online balloting on April... Read More
  • ASHA Statement on KY State Fair Proposal

    “Due to the effects of COVID 19, the Kentucky State Fair Board is tasked with presenting to the Governor for approval social distancing and safety options as it pertains to the Fair and the horse show. However, no final decisions have been made. ASHA and the JLC are working with the State Fair Board to develop a viable plan based on the guidelines offered by the USEF.”  Read More
  • Ten Years Ago - Devon

    We miss all of the traditions of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. While we can’t be there this year, let’s take a look back at some of the memories we have from Devon 2010. Read More
  • Class of 2020 Yearbook

    Saddle Horse Report presents the Class of 2020 Yearbook. We are proud to feature some of the 2020 graduates who are and will be a major force in the show horse industry. We know their talent and perseverance will help carry them on to many successes ahead. Read More