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Tradition Calls Champions to Rock Creek


Nestled among the tree lined streets of Rock Creek Drive and the friendly neighborhood park lies the heart of the American Saddlebred. Rock Creek Horse Show is steeped in tradition as one of the best showcases of talent the breed has to offer. The horse show has had its misfortunes due to the weather, including Wednesday night's session which had to be canceled this year, but as much as the rain is a part of Rock Creek's tradition, so are the incredible performances of current and future world's champions.

This year the judging panel of Nancy Troutman, Armon Effinger, and Terry Stephenson witnessed World's Grand Champion Callaway's Copyright, World's Grand Champion An Heir About Her, and numerous world's champions and world's grand champions in other divisions.

Once again it was a storied year. In addition to competition, there was also question. It seems the five-gaited stake featured a true two-way tie between Debbie Foley aboard Barbara Manilow's Time Well Spent and Jerry Hutson with Dr. and Mrs. Louis Johnson's Your Eminence. With each of these performers receiving a 1-2-4 vote count, the computer system tabulated to determine Foley the winner. She was announced and honored in the Rock Creek winner's circle. Later the tabulation of the results were brought into question but the Johnsons and Infinity Stables agreed that the show should stand by the decision of the current computer program.

"The results stand as is," said manager Scarlett Mattson. It was obvious after watching this judging panel work in sync all week, and 58 of 97 classes resulting in unanimous ties, the last class was one competitive display of talent. With several horses making championship worthy performances and with slightly sloppy conditions, it was an exciting close to what was one of the best Rock Creek shows in recent memory. Hutson and Your Eminence did finish as the reserve grand champions. "This was one of the better shows we've had in some time," continued Mattson. "I'd like to thank everyone for their support. The quality was tremendous and even with the weather, people still showed and supported us. We couldn't have done any of this without our great office staff and the guys that worked endlessly on the ring." The final class on Saturday night featured seven entries; earlier in the week, there were 10 contenders for the Five-Gaited Open title. Kris Knight defeated the other nine contenders aboard Feel The Thunder, an entry owned by Sam and Vicki Reed. Don Harris and Lucrative earned the reserve honors for Karla Kucera in the deep class. The five-gaited amateur division was a real treat for the Rock Creek audience who was filled with a Who's Who of Saddlebred owners and trainers. Mary Gaylord McClean brought out her new contender I'm A Treat. Another new team with only a few months additional seasoning, Carol Hillenbrand and Swish were the team to beat. But you can't fail to mention Amy Rock and Amusing, Luanne Kilday and Already Famous, and other riders like Jan Attinger, Bill Walsh, Sarah Crane and Lori Mitchell. It was a great championship. Actually the stallion/gelding qualifier was equally deep and the results were the same in the two classes. Hillenbrand and Swish made the unanimous victory pass in both classes with McClean and I'm A Treat earning reserve honors. It was ringmanship at its best! Amy Rock and Amusing claimed third in the championship after unanimously winning the mare class earlier in the week. Rock was followed by Laurel Nelson and Song In My Heart and a talented field of four other teams. Another treat for the Rock Creek crowd was to see Callaway's Born To Win in two classes. Gayle Lampe's smile is always bright, but you just can't touch it when she's riding Born To Win. She won both the ladies qualifier and ladies championship with two unanimous performances. Vicki Reed and Olympic Fire were the well-deserved reserve grand. Mary McClean and the athletic Take Me Away claimed a solid reserve in the ladies qualifier. Kelsey Price and Tate Bennett are the best of friends. They set that aside when they enter the ring, but it is obvious that they bring out the best in one another. Price and CH Fox de Jour poured it on in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship to claim the top prize with Bennett and Callaway's Inspiration settling for the reserve finish in the 10-entry class. The results were exactly reversed in the qualifier amid a class of 12. A really nice crop of young gaited horses featured Don Harris at the top of the cards in both the junior championship and the junior stallion/gelding class aboard It's All About Me. Jean and Chris Nalley own this talented standout. Following in the ribbons in both classes was John Biggins and Knock Knock Who's Heir, a smart young property of James and Judy Skinner. Debbie Foley made a nice solo presentation of the Five-Gaited Junior Mare Thunder Beauty, owned by Cross Timbers Enterprises. Nine entries vied for the judges' attention in the Five-Gaited Three-Year-Old competition. Steve Wheeler headlined Walterway's Headline Material to take the top prize for J. C. Pierce. Tre Lee and She's In Style were in top form to earn the red ribbon for John T. Jones. A huge class of 22 novice horses were all over the ring. Despite a shoe being lost and a lengthy class, Redd Crabtree and Wild Wonderful maintained the wonderful without being too wild to top the class to the delight of Ann Tierney Smith for her Leatherwood Farm. Chris Reiser directed Willowbank's Cloudburst to the reserve honors in the huge class. The gaited pony competition was deep, deep. World class CH Sammyshine and a grown up Cydni Simmons showed their expertise by mastering both classes with unanimous performances. Renee Zubrod catch rode Callaway's Exception To The Rule to two strong reserve performances for the Platinum Stock Farm amid classes of nine and 10 entries. The three-gaited division was also strong with World's Grand Champion An Heir About Her looking every bit the champion. Chris Reiser showed the history- making Supreme Heir daughter to a unanimous win in the Three-Gaited Open class for Steve and Ellen Hanes but did not return for the championship. CH Rejoice and John Field were reserve to the world's grand champion for Dr. and Mrs. Don Petit and returned on Saturday night to claim the Three-Gaited Championship. Always at the top, Renee Biggins and CF Burn Out were the reserve champions for owner Rita Wheeler. Desiree Clauson and Simbara's Sweet Lorraine made a beautiful combination to take the ladies three-gaited title for David and Kelly Mount. Rosemarie Fernandez and Pas de Deux were in prime shape to earn reserve in the small but talented class. Chris Nalley enjoyed two unanimous victory passes at Rock Creek aboard CH Nightly Affair. Together they won the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship as well as the over 15.2 qualifier. Kristian Taylor and her perennial star Biras Creek earned reserve in the championship after also tying reserve in the under 15.2 qualifier to Sally Gayeski and Callaway's Abigail Adams. Brooke Jacobs and Sky High Money earned the red ribbon in the over 15.2 qualifier. Renee Zubrod captured the Three-Gaited Junior Exhibitor Championship with a unanimous decision aboard Wrapped In Roses WRF, an entry owned by Fair Island Farm. The talented team was reserve in the qualifier to Melissa Milligan and Callaway's Buttons and Bows. Alexa Martini and Stonecutter earned the reserve tie in the championship. Despite mourning the loss of their beloved Heartland Lilac, Wendy Winstead and Kathy Capsuto were at Rock Creek on Tuesday night to showcase their nice young walk-trot mare, Sue She. Owner Carl Holden was on hand to witness her unanimous winning performance. Jerry Hutson directed Evoq to the reserve honors in the junior class for owner Andi Bittker. Smith Lilly topped a field of 10 entries to earn the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic title with Broadway's Mamma Mia for owner Bill Beckley with a unanimous decision. Carter Cox and Amberwood's Bobby McGee earned the reserve honors in the deep class. An exciting novice class saw nine entries vying for the judges attention. Melinda Moore unanimously got the nod with a strong performance from A Great Day's Coming, an entry owned by Peggy Whitley and Danny Bugg. Chris Reiser earned a reserve ribbon for Olivia Weber with her talented young horse, Cloudsplitter. Once again, world class competitors Yasmin Wazir and Shelby Gregory were showcasing their talents in the three-gaited pony division. Wazir won both classes unanimously aboard Lost Token with Gregory twice the reserve champion aboard CH Highpoint's Fantasia. Park competition saw Rob Byers unanimously topping a field of five to earn the Three-Gaited Park Championship aboard Nurse Goodbody, an entry owned by Pam and Bruce Milligan. John Field and Go Baby Go were also on fire to earn the reserve tie in a really exciting class. Byers also won the qualifier earlier in the week. This time it was John Biggins aboard Another Bay, Brenne Baumer's mount who made four top performances this week at Rock Creek. Luanne Kilday was in the ribbons at Rock Creek in English and western competition. She and her world class CH A Step Of Time earned the unanimous title in both big amateur park classes. Chris Nalley and 98 Degrees had to settle for reserve despite outstanding performances in the classes of 13 and 10 entries respectively. World's grand champion Callaway's Copyright wowed the Rock Creek audience with a unanimous victory in the Fine Harness Open class. The Fox Grape Farm entry did not return in the championship, but Danette Musselman was more than happy to take over. She directed Dances On Air to the Rock Creek winner's circle for the Misty Hills Farm. Mike Roberts and Tornaado's Tidal Wave earned the reserve in the championship for Simone Sorenson. Mike Hylton and Romanov were the red- ribbon winners in the qualifier. William Shatner and Call Me Ringo topped a field of four to unanimously claim the Amateur Fine Harness title. Mia Blevins Morris and her Mercer Raceabout were a beautiful reserve team. Ali Judah loves those Rock Creek victory passes and she made several. In the harness division she directed CH Radiant Success to the ASHA Foundation Junior Exhibitor Fine Harness Driving Challenge honors. Rebecca Salley and A Ticket To Ride earned reserve honors in the class for Rigby's Green. Ten junior horses vied for the judges' attention, but Nelson Green and The Great Gaspar unanimously took the title for the Stonecroft Farm. Rob Byers and Our Fallen Angel, an entry owned by Cheryl Friedman Allison, earned reserve honors in the deep, deep class. Always on ready with great young stock, Carter Cox took the UPHA Fine Harness Classic and the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness titles. Sugar Pine, an entry owned by Mary McLellan Williams, earned the unanimous decision in the UPHA Classic, followed by Todd Graham and Supreme Platinum. Haute Heir Balloon and Cox captured the two-year-old title for Charlotte Wrather followed by Melinda Moore and Joe Fabulous, an entry of Spencer Mains. There were 14 contenders for the Adult Show Pleasure Championship but qualifier winner Malissa Welke and He Walks on Water turned back all challengers yet again. John and Renee Biggins prepared this entry for the competition. Kendra Fisher and her Broadway Tune earned reserve honors in the championship, while Lindsey Alberts and CH Highpoint's Coming Attraction earned reserve honors in the qualifier earlier in the week. The 2004 team of Meagan Kucera and The Bess Yet are hard to beat, but CH Riva Diva and Ali Judah did just that in the junior exhibitor qualifier. Returning to the championship Kucera was ready to ride and that she did to unanimously win the class followed by Amy Rives and her kind mount Samuel Adams. Tara Duff showcased novice winner Valley's Santana Shamrock to the Rock Creek winner's circle for owner Margo Baird. Chris Spoonster and HF York's Coppertone earned reserve honors for Charla Crook. Garry McBride and Heir's Curtain Call unanimously topped both show pleasure driving classes with Tara Duff and CH Tamarack's Lightning Strikes earning the reserve finish in both classes for Tamarack Farms. Rebecca Salley was giving it all she had with Foxy's Delight to earn a reserve finish in the junior exhibitor show pleasure driving challenge. Tate Bennett and New York Rebel unanimously topped the class of three talented entries. A large group of adult country pleasure contenders saw Carol Hillenbrand and Callaway's Blue Agate add two more notches to their belt with two unanimous wins. Holli McDowell and Carolina Clay earned the reserve title in both classes for owner Kim Linke. McDowell and Carolina Clay were also reserve in the novice class behind Vicki Reed and Callaway's Hail Liberty. Kerri McDaniel also took home two blues in the country pleasure junior exhibitor competition. McDaniel directed Harlem's Half Moon to two unanimous victory passes followed both times by Renee Zubrod aboard Callaway's CH Hardin for the Platinum Stock Farm. Donna Smith couldn't be in town to show her country pleasure driving champion Heirithmatic, so good friend Heidi Bowie did the honors and earned the championship victory pass for good measure. Jennifer Makem and She's Ezquisite bested the Bowie team in the qualifier. Moe Anson and By All That's Holy earned reserve honors in the championship. Two Biggins-trained entries topped the gaited show pleasure competition. Jenna Vannoy and National Champion Hear The Music earned two unanimous titles in five-gaited pleasure competition with stablemate Chris Nalley and Callaway's Rockaway close on her heels. Also from the Biggins camp Pepper Baumer and Rock The Jukebox unanimously won the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Show Pleasure title followed by Ashley Dickinson and Admiral's Gifted Miss. Pam Milligan and High In The Sky earned the Novice Five-Gaited Pleasure title followed by Kate Ryan and CH LA Wing Victory. A bright young Callaway's Torch Bearer had Eddie Cockriel beaming in the lineup after an outstanding performance to best a field of 10 entries to earn the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic title. Bob and Betsy Pankey own the talented youngster. Pat McConnell directed Bungalow Bill to the reserve finish for delighted new owners Dr. Paul and Liz Warfield. Suzanne Bradshaw recovered from a fourth place finish in the Western Country Pleasure qualifier to come back and unanimously win the championship aboard her perennial favorite The American Flag. Luanne Kilday and Rum Tum Tigger had to settle for the reserve finish after winning the qualifier ahead of Arlys Solein and Gunsmith. The Junior Exhibitor Walk/Trot Pleasure class featured two McConnell riders at the top of the cards. Hannah Whitfield directed Franklin M. Edwards to the win for owner Darlene Mannix. Sarah Bushell and her In A Blue Moon were in top form to earn reserve honors. Pony competition was light but interesting. Richlon's Kathy Buente and Heartland Elegant Dancer topped the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship followed by Tom Biederman and Gifted Love. Earlier in the week Buente and Elegant Dancer were reserve in the Open Hackney Pony class to Jeff McClean and Heartland Newsmaker who it with a unanimous decision. Heidi Bowie and her National Champion, Heartland Triple Crown, won the Harness Pony Amateur Championship followed by Christy Gantley and Nacho Mama. Bowie and "TC" were reserve in the Open Harness Pony class to unanimous winners Mary McClean and Shake Don't Stir, last year's UPHA Harness Pony Classic Grand Champion. Holli McDowell and Miss Fuente topped both pony pleasure driving classes with Walker Lee and Highlife's Pride earning reserve honors both times out. Golden Creek Farm topped another division with World's Grand Champion Heartland Production unanimously winning the Roadster Pony Championship as well as the open class with Mary McClean at the lines. Brandy Johnson and Spirit's Echo earned the reserve finish in the championship. Lindsey Lavery and Heartland City Boy were reserve in the open class. Jeff McClean made another victory pass in the pony division, this time with Sis taking the unanimous decision in the Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony Championship. The hard to beat team did have to settle for reserve in the amateur class earlier in the week when Laurel Nelson and Lamborghini earned two of the three judges'‚ nods to claim the title. Ann Fitzpatrick and Buckwheat were reserve to Sis in the championship. Richmond DeHart showed off his pony Seamair's Nobility both in harness and under saddle and won both times! Dylan Hutson and Tijuana Souvenir followed Nobility in the Roadster Pony Junior Exhibitor Medallion. Megan Ryan and Truly So Lovely were the reserve winners in the Under Saddle Medallion. Danny Bugg and Geronimo weren't taking no for an answer. They topped both roadster to bike classes unanimously with Danette Musselman and Muddy Waters constantly closing in on them in both classes. Melissa Moore and All Glory unanimously took the Roadster Under Saddle title. Once again the world's champion had a strong battle with Danette Musselman and Valiant, another entry of Alliance Stud, taking reserve to All Glory. Bill and Lisa Waller had lots to celebrate at Rock Creek. Besides their assistant Chris Brannon being honored by the horse show, they had talented riders at the top of virtually all of the equitation classes. Jessica Saft was in top form to win the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship and the 14-17 qualifier as well as the 14-17 UPHA Challenge Cup. Blair Barrett earned reserve honors in the championship and the challenge cup. Joel Dorignac earned reserve honors in the 14-17 qualifier. Another Clover Leaf entry, Rachel Machamer, earned the equitation 11-13 title as well as the 13 and under UPHA Challenge Cup. Chelsea Jo Roby earned reserve honors in the 11-13 class. Olivia Weber was honored with the reserve title in the UPHA Challenge Cup. Kelsey McDonald was precious to top the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Championship class followed by the darling Christina Collis. Collis also earned reserve to Nathan Stein in the UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup class. The 10 and Under Equitation class featured Jessica Northcutt in the winner's circle followed by Carolina Skinner. Tate Bennett bested a field of six to top the NHS Saddle Seat Event. Sarah Taylor earned reserve honors in the national qualifier. Emily Garten took her blue ribbon in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal competition back to the Cape Cod tack room. Tate Bennett was reserve in this class of six. Brooke Jacobs made a nice solo presentation to earn the USEF Saddle Seat Adult Medal. Pleasure equitation saw Rachel Kelly topping the championship followed by Lindsay Haupt. Haupt earlier won the pleasure equitation qualifier amid a field of seven entries where Sarah Anderson earned reserve honors. Erin Lykins made a nice solo presentation to the Saddle and Bridle's Pleasure Medallion. Complete results follow or can be viewed at

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