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The Tradition Continues In Berea

BEREA, Ohio - In this fast moving, ever changing world, sometimes the “good ole days” is very refreshing. Such is the case with the Seventh Annual UPHA Chapter 13 Cleveland Classic. Held June 20-22 at the historic Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds just on the outskirts of Cleveland, actually just two exits from the Cleveland airport, the show takes exhibitors back to yesteryear when the focus of shows was fun. Make no mistake exhibitors were here to win. However, it was a great weekend of no pressure before the tense weeks of Lexington and Louisville arrive.

Members of UPHA Chapter 13 believe in this show so much they not only bring their horses, they bring resources and manpower to make this happen. Unlike other shows where when it’s over, it’s over, the early morning after the championship session found the likes of Jack Thrane, Jim and Jenny Taylor, Steve Demjen, Tom Ferrebee, Lindsay Lavery, Kim Gray, Chuck Hutchinson and others picking up trash, taking down tables, chairs and railings and everything else it took to put the show grounds back in order. There was no hierarchy here just a lot of sweat from professionals so their customers and others from outside the area could enjoy a nice show.

“Above all, we want people to enjoy themselves,” said manager Jack Thrane.

“This is a show for the exhibitors,” added Lonnie Lavery. “This show is run by horsemen and we try to go all out to provide a unique setting and give the exhibitors a show they will want to come back to.”

And not only do the exhibitors come out, but the local folks make their way to the fairgrounds as well. For the Friday and Saturday night sessions the bleachers were full and there was standing room only around the rail.

“We counted a couple of hundred people on the spectator side,” said Lavery. “This area is rich in Saddle Horse history and people still come out to watch.”

The centerpiece of the weekend is the permanent show ring in the middle of the infield. Looming in the background is the grandstand which was the backdrop for many of these exhibitors, both professional and amateur, when they were just cutting their teeth. Members of chapter 13 have taken that nondescript ring in the middle of the infield and turned it into a cozy place to show. While bleachers line one side of the ring for general spectator seating, or sunning, a tent occupies the length of the other straightaway.

Exhibitors can purchase tables under the tent for their “box seats.” A bar is set up at one end of the tent and with the generosity of local barns there was a pig roast, karaoke, and ice cream on Friday night, and a live band on Saturday night. The socializing under the tent following the evening sessions was just as much a part of the show as the action in the ring.

After the disastrous rains of last year, the show committee removed the dirt footing in the ring and replaced it with stone dust to be ready for any unpleasant weather. Of course, this year that wasn’t a problem as the days were bright and sunny and the evenings, just right.

Patty Kent was called on to judge all the Saddlebred, Hackney, roadster, Morgan, equitation, and academy classes. Shane Shiflet was brought in to photograph the event for the first time.

“I’ve really enjoyed this show,” said Shiflet. “The schedule is great and the exhibitors and trainers have been very nice. I got to shoot some good horses this weekend.”

Unlike a couple of the “major” shows which were held in the previous weeks, the Cleveland Classic wasn’t light on Saturday night entries as it featured seven horses in the Five-Gaited Grand Championship. No, they weren’t all world beaters but these exhibitors came to show and have a good time. Particularly the first way of the ring there were three or four entries in contention for the championship prize but by the end of the second way they had separated themselves. For the second year in a row Sena Bowling made the one-handed victory pass aboard Betcha By Golly Wow. Owned by Wes and Sena Bowling the Five-Gaited Grand Champion turned back a good group of challengers including open class winners Lindsay Lavery and Heir’s Heiress who finished as reserve grand champions for Gara Graham.

Just moments before the class was called into the ring, the annual $1,000 drawing was held and Bobby Murphy was this year’s lucky winner. He was feeling good when he came in and gave a good ride to No Excuses to finish a strong third.

Michigan trainer Tom Sworm greeted Nancy Churchill and Turn On The Heat in the winner’s circle of the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. The white faced gelding was racking up a storm to take championship honors over Collene Johnson-Hoge and Majestic Memories, reserve winners in the qualifier as well.

Richlon Farm enjoyed a great week and part of that success was Pocket Full Of Magic and Lindsay Lavery winning the five-entry Ladies Five-Gaited Class for Jerrilynn Demaree. Deborah Warns rode Dr. Bill Clem’s I’m Not Shy to the reserve title.

The best of the junior exhibitor gaited entries was Brandy Lokar’s One Night Only. They defeated Alicyn Oblinger and Prize Fighter for the blue prize. In the Junior/Limit Five-Gaited class Mary Waickman and Virtual Future were worthy of the top prize with Deborah Warns and Diana’s Treasure taking reserve.

One of the stars of the show came in the one-horse Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class. Mike Brannon rode Lakeview’s Rare-A-Phi, a son of Phi Slama Jama, to make a wild but entertaining debut performance. While the colt was a handful in his first trip to the bright lights he was a sight even when he wasn’t doing his gaits.

There aren’t many people who enjoy showing more than Steve Demjen and he was reared back to win the Three-Gaited Championship aboard Stacey Bare’s Caramac’s Norma Rae. It was their second victory pass of the week in front of the Cleveland Classic tent. Clyde Wilson and Harlem Treasure stepped up for the reserve championship for owners Mike and Shaun Lord. In the open class Favorite Things and Cindy Scoggin trotted out with the red prize.

Seven entries made for a good Amateur Three-Gaited Championship with Sharla Deuchle and SS Lies and Alibis leading the way in their debut show. The Richlon Farm trained team was a sight in both classes winning the qualifier as well. The closest competition in the championship came from stablemate Longshadows Two To Tango and Jill O’Hara, the blue ribbon winners of the ladies class in which Cathie Simmons and Picabo Street were the reserve champions. Reserve in the amateur qualifier went to another Cape Cod entry, Undulata’s Time To Shine with Abby Campbell.

Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited action featured the new combination of CH Elle and Meagan Hensler in the winner’s circle. Purchased this spring for Horizon Saddlebreds the multi-titled mare was all champion with Meagan showing under the Taylor Creek banner. Reserve to the winners in both the championship and qualifier was High Time’s Uptown Girl, an entry owned and shown by Jessica Klinkenberg.

Steve Demjen also had the winning bounce aboard Deja Vu’s Delight in the Junior/Limit Three-Gaited class. Pamela Boyers was the winning owner. Wendy Lewis rode Hit The Switch to reserve honors. As with the gaited division there was just one three-year-old walk-trot horse and that was Denise Bluell’s Debeers.

Three-gaited park competition found Erin Boggs and Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood up one notch from the qualifier to make the victory pass as the grand champions of the open division. The white-faced gelding was a sport with Boggs riding for Jessica Sexton. Trading places from the first round, Suddenly Summer was the reserve grand champion with Steve Demjen riding for Jean Triplett.

Demjen did direct the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Grand Champions. He was all smiles as Absolute Sensation and Danielle Loar made their second victory pass of the weekend in that division. Both times Linda Humpert and Symbol’s True Grit rode as the reserve champions for Al and Shelli DeVore.

It was great to see Mrs. Alan R. Robson in the buggy for another Cleveland Classic. Having made victory passes back in the 50s at the old Berea show, this is a fairgrounds filled with memories for the grand exhibitor from Pennsylvania. Showing one of the most beautiful mares in America, Mrs. Robson guided Lesley Anne to the Fine Harness Championship and amateur blue under the direction of long-time trainer Tom Ferrebee.

Switching divisions, Beringer Red was the reserve grand champion for Jenny Taylor and owners Fred and Phyllis Rhue. Taylor and Beringer Red were also reserve in the open class behind Mrs. Robson and the veteran CH Holy Fruit Salad. Reserve in the Amateur Fine Harness class belonged to Donna Greider’s Anniversary Edition.

Three entries competed for the Junior/Limit Fine Harness class and it was Lonnie Lavery and In The Line Of Fire returning to the barns with the blue. Charlene Roe and Wentworth picked up the red prize. Also in the harness division for youngsters, Wicked City Woman and Jenny Taylor won the UPHA Classic, while Mary Waickman and A Worthy Design carried home the blue from the two-year-old section.

Gary and Janet Altman have been ardent supporters of the Cleveland Classic with their ponies and they were back again this year to claim several awards. Gary drove Victory Express to win the Road Pony Championship. He had also won the open class with Kiss From A Rose. Corsair’s Comet and Sam Kearney, winners of the AHHS Youth Medallion were reserve grand champions. Lonnie Lavery and La Te Da had been reserve in the open class, while in the amateur class Sam Kearney and Windstar Intruder topped Gary Altman and Victory Express for the blue.

Jim Smith and Tiger Brian switched places with Lindsay Lavery and Happy Landings to take the Roadster To Bike Championship back to West Virginia. Lavery and Happy Landings had sped to the top of the class in the qualifier.

Switching divisions, Namesake’s Corsair was crowned the Cleveland Classic Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Grand Champion with Janet Altman at the whip. They were also victorious in the qualifier. BRS Mark’s Delight and Shirley Sanislow trotted off with the reserve ribbons in both sections.

Little Big Man was all that and more as the lone entry in the Harness Pony Championship and qualifier. Owner Becky Buhl made the winning drives under the direction of Memory Lane Farm. Likewise Matt Schuckert presented a pretty fancy pony himself in BRS Mark’s Memories, the solo champion of the cob-tail division for owner Shirley Sanislow. Sanislow was at the whip to drive Canadian Club to the amateur blue.

The best of the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship was Shamrock’s Entertainer, an entry owned and shown by Maribelle Granger. Allene Ketchledge and CH Token Favorite racked off with the reserve grand championship.

Mrs. Alan Robson enjoyed showing another of her home-bred stars in Show Pleasure Driving Grand Champion and qualifying winner Albelarm High Fidelity. They were stars every step of the way to defeat seven other teams for the title including reserve grand champions Celebrate Celebrate and Jan Henderson. In the qualifier Gary Black and A Lucky Guy commanded the red prize.

A huge class filled the ring for the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship. There were a host of contenders competing for the top spot but on this night none were going to beat Callaway’s Off The Record and Chris Spoonster. Representing owner Vicki Spoonster and Richlon Farm the grand champions turned back several challenges including one from reserve grand champions Preferred Investment and Cindy Scoggin. Scoggin and Preferred Investment turned in the winning performance from the qualifier where Sue Ebony and Nancy Jordan were the reserve champions.

There was also a good turnout for the Novice Rider Three-Gaited Pleasure class as eight teams competed for the blue. When awards were called out Kendra Fisher and Sky Lord occupied the winner’s circle. Next in line for a prize was Back In A Flash with Melissa Beckman.

Junior exhibitor riders mixed it up pretty good for their pleasure championship. Breeder and trainer of many champions over the years, Dick Kearney was on hand in the role of “horse show grandfather” as he coached Ross Kearney and Coach Ticket to the championship title. This expressive four-year-old mare was given a good ride by the younger Kearney who also won the qualifier. Lindsay Hensler is usually in the running for a top prize and she went home with the reserve grand championship aboard Denmark’s Risk Free, reserve winner of the qualifier.

Lindsay Lavery collected another blue for Richlon Farm as she rode Richard Chiachetti’s Heirresistable Charm to the the top of the Junior/Limit Park Pleasure class. Susan Lownsberry and Harlem’s Morning Glory garnered the reserve title.

Clayton Caldwell presented Callaway’s Mark Twain to the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic win for Craig and Kathy Hummel. Winning the Park Pleasure Driving class was Jon Horner with Dream Like. Susan LeValley and HV Who’s On Third were second.

Moving to the country pleasure division, Al DeVore and The Main Man bounced back from a reserve in the qualifier to take grand champion honors back to the Tom Sworm Stables. Diana Pistora and Three Ring Circus were the reserve grand champions following their blue ribbon drive in the qualifier.

With nine competing for the Country Pleasure Championship, Wes and Sena Bowling had another champion to their credit as Nancy Jordan and CF Chief’s Mood Swings captured both the adult qualifier and the grand championship with two picture perfect shows. Amanda Armenti and Assignment In Blue rode out as the reserve grand champions. Peggy Grogan and Starheart’s Best Man had been reserve in the adult qualifier. From the junior exhibitor competition, Cool Side and Lauren Chaves wore the blue followed by Meagan O’Connell-Carne and and CH Bi Mi Add Lib with the red.

Run and Shout was two for two in the Saddlebred Western Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Mtn Trails Cash On Delivery jogged to the reserve in both rounds with Ellen Vajda in the saddle. Pat’s Blue Angel and Dana Houpt were all alone in the Shatner class.

The Cleveland Classic also offered Saddlebred Hunter Pleasure and four entries competed in both the qualifier and championship. Mtn Trails Cash On Delivery claimed the top honors from the championship with Ellen Vajda riding. Qualifying winner Preferable Dreams was the reserve grand champion for Shelli DeVore.

Gearing up for Lexington, Louisville, and the Finals, some of Cleveland Classics’ equitation riders will be right at the top of those events. One such rider was Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion Shana Jo Brown. Teamed with CH Calista, this sharp riding young lady has been a consistent winner under the direction of Tom Sworm and they are back on track for more honors in 2002. Their first blue came in the 13 & under class.

Saddle Seat Equitation Reserve Grand Champion was Cape Cod’s Sarah Taylor who had been reserve to stablemate Jessica Sexton in the Good Hands class. Sexton had also won the UPHA Challenge Cup 14-17 class defeating, among others, stablemate and reserve champion Reese Richey. Kimberly Hayes was the lone rider in the 14-17 class.

Another rider with a world of promise, Tara Clifton topped the UPHA Challenge Cup 13 & Under class as well as the Pleasure Equitation event. She rides under the Cape Cod banner. Michelle Chaves was reserve in the challenge cup and Christina O’Connell Carne was reserve in Pleasure Equitation.

Cape Cod also coached the winner of the UPHA Adult Equitation class. A champion throughout her juvenile equitation days, Alison Montoya still has that same elegant look as an adult rider to claim the title. Piper Granger was called out second among the four riders.

Riding out with two blue ribbons from the walk and trot division was Richlon’s Kristen Meyers. The talented young lady topped both the UPHA 10 & Under Walk and Trot and the open 10 & under class. Jackie Koch turned in the reserve performances in both events.

The Morgan division has been a part of the Cleveland Classic and features some top horses and riders. There were five entries for the Morgan Equitation class in which Jessie Piatt was crowned the champion. Reserve honors belonged to Joelen Mikoch.

Shirley O’Gorman was aboard a very tasty Lookaway’s Fantasy to win the Morgan Park Saddle Championship for Jim and Linda Stewart. They also trotted down victory lane in the qualifier. Sandy Benko and HVK Beau Flaire provided the competition as the reserve winners in both rounds.

In a large and competitive Morgan English Pleasure Championship Marilyn Rutledge and Mikaela’s Enternal Promise led the way with an expressive performance for owner Linden Propane. Judge Patty Kent also thought they were the top team from the open qualifier. Sandra Benko rode up with King-Lehr’s Bravado to take home reserve grand champion honors after qualifying with a reserve ride in the amateur class. Tim Roesink and RKB Sizzle had been reserve in the open qualifier. KEW Bold Dragon was the blue ribbon winner of the six-horse Amateur Morgan English Pleasure class.

Junior exhibitors on Morgan English Pleasure horses also had a large turnout with 11 entries vying for the blue. Jennifer King and Stoneledge Stepaside made the last pass with the blue streamers attached to the bridle. Stephanie Skelton and Westenfeld Ben Leader commanded the red prize in the large class.

Competition for the Junior Morgan English Pleasure horses featured Jane Jarvis Comer and Big Buck’s No Whammy on top for Anna Nida Ruby, followed by Tim Roesink and The Bodyguard. The Bodyguard was more successful in harness where he was crowned the Morgan Pleasure Driving Grand Champion with owner Laura Braddock at the whip. They had been second to Linda Stewart and Lookaway’s Antoinette in the amateur class. Kathy Hummel and the veteran of many titles, Mikala’s Pocket Rocket, trotted from the ring as the reserve grand champions.

Big Buck’s No Whammy also pulled double duty winning the Morgan Junior Pleasure Driving class for Jane Jarvis Comer and owner Anna Ruby. Jenny Taylor presented King Lehr’s Countess for the reserve placing.

The title of Morgan Western Pleasure Grand Champion belonged to Shakers Impulse and Jane Comer. They moved up two notches from the qualifier in which reserve grand champion Aquila’s Beyond Courage and Cassandra Vujetch made the victory pass. Sandra Benko’s PKM Gamborian jogged out with the red ribbon in the open class. Gamborian was the winner of the Morgan Hunter Under Saddle class. They were followed by Holly Wybel aboard Banner Beware.

There were riding and driving classes offered for the Classic horses and Cape Cod’s Hy Court Of Appeal took both titles with Stephanie Skelton riding and driving for The Morgan Horse Farm of Lebanon, Ohio. Above and Beyond was reserve in the saddle section for Erin Koenig and Holly Linden. Jeremy Hummel and Above and Beyond took reserve in the driving class.

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