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UPHA Over-Under Fall Basketball Classic Fundraiser


by Merritt Pryor

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Fall was in the air, which meant one thing; basketball season is right around the corner. Basketball was also on the minds of many horse trainers Saturday night, Oct 28 after the TSE Tattersalls Sale. Back by popular demand was the UPHA Over-Under Fall Basketball Classic Fundraiser! Even though the first-ever classic was just recently played, there was a full slate of trainers waiting to take the court to prove they were not only horse trainers but basketball players as well.

Throughout the sale, there was much anticipation for the basketball game. The young trainers were seen walking around the stands during the sale, selling tickets for the game as well as tickets for the 50/50 raffle.

On the night of the game, held at the Lexington Christian Academy, an excited crowd filled the stands ready to see a fast-paced and action-packed basketball game. The teams consisted of professional horse trainers, with one team being over the age of 35 and the other 35 years old and under. Announcer Tom Lowry, who gave the players’ full names as well as nicknames to the delight of the crowd, called the teams to the court. The over 35 team came prepared with signs taunting the younger players, and Steve Demjen dressed as the team’s “horse” mascot.

During halftime, however, the entertainment began! Trainers were called to center court to take part in the “Best Legs” contest as a way of continuing the competition between the two teams. After intense judging, a “workout” was called between Smith Lilly and Mike Spencer. To the delight of the supporters of the over 35 team, Mike Spencer was awarded the tricolor in the “Best Legs” competition.

Halftime entertainment. . . Best Legs Contest.

The second half was show time for the 35 years old and under team. When the final buzzer sounded the score was 82-54 in their favor. Tim Roeseink led the under 35 team with 22 points, while Shane Mullens finished with 14.

According to announcer Tom Lowry, two of the highlights of the game came from the under 35 team.

“We [the under 35 team] put the dagger in them when Stephanie Sedlako, all five feet two inches of her, hit two consecutive three pointers, banking them in while shooting from the hip. It was awesome,” said Lowry.

The other highlight was when Matt Shiflet blocked a shot by Pat McConnell of the over 35 team. McConnell had given Shiflet plenty of grief for his zero for umpteen shooting performance in the first-ever game. This time Shiflet came back to make McConnell “eat” his words. At one point in the game he ran down the court and stopped at McConnell, brushing his hair back to see if the “Spalding tattoo” was still on McConnell’s forehead. It was all fun and games with a lot of trash talking among the teams.

Chris Gantley led the over 35 team with 14 points, while Rick Judd and Scott Seils had 12 apiece.

“It was a great game with lots of scoring by the teams,” said Lowry. “It was a lot of fun and the money we raised went to a great cause.”

After the game, the money that had been raised was counted and approximately $3,000 was donated. The trainers/players thanked all in attendance for their support.

It had been a great night for the players and spectators alike. Many of the players thought they would play like Larry Bird or Michael Jordan but they proved their true calling: horse trainers!!


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