WHTA Banquet 2022

Saturday, December 3, 2022
New venue … same great celebration of people and horses Thanksgiving has come and gone, bringing behind it time to put up the Christmas tree, shop for all the gifts for loved ones and time to spend with the people we hold dear. This time of year, of course, also includes making the trek to Middle Tennessee for the annual Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Convention and Banquet. This year, the Blue Ribbon Circle, on The Celebration grounds, was selected as the location for the event, with the banquet being held Saturday, December 3, 2022. The WHTA again opted to have the voting for the prestigious Horse of the Year honors cast electronically. They hope this new process, that has been implemented for two years, has made the process easier for trainers to vote, thus resulting in a greater participation in the voting process. This seems to be the case as more ballots were cast this year than last year, and last year was up 66% from previous years. The annual silent auction was once again the perfect place to shop for the last minute Christmas gift or even a gift for yourself. Lots of different items were offered for bidding. This year, in conjunction with the regular silent auction, an online auction was offered as well. There is still time to make your bids for these items as bidding does not close until December 15, 2022. To view the selection and bid, go to https://www.woodruffauctions.com/auctions/detail/bw92666. Mark Farrar has become a staple as the emcee for the night, handling all the announcing duties, and in his usual fashion, he kept the crowd fully entertained. Starting out the evening, Farrar took a moment to recognize several organizations that play major roles in the walking horse industry, as well as a few individuals that helped make this weekend fun and successful. The Living Legend Lifetime Achievement Award was next. This year, Steve Aymett was presented with the much deserved honor. The 2022 Scholarship winners were acknowledged next. In their 12th year as scholarship sponsors, the Glenn C. Dowell Jr. family awarded scholarships to Will Derickson, Evan Claborn and Lane Webb. Allan and John Allan Callaway were called to the stage next so John Allan could, again, be presented with his green blazer in recognition of his 2022 world grand championship win with Justified Honors. This now makes it three years (2020, 2021 and 2022) that are embroidered on the chest of the coveted green blazer to commemorate the wins with Justified Honors and Master’s Razzle And Jazz. The blazer continues to be proudly donated by Frank and Shirley Neal in honor of 1992 World Grand Champion Dark Spirit’s Rebel. This tradition was started in 1995. Next up, it was time to recognize the National Trainers’ Show Grand Champion. Jimmy McConnell directed Mach 1 to the victory to become the 54th Trainers’ Show champion for the Molly Walters Family. The Performance Trainer of the Year award went to R.M. Kellett, while the Pleasure Trainer of the Year award went to Laurie Toone. Kellett was unable to attend the banquet, but was presented this honor earlier and Dean Johnson Video was able to capture the presentation from Spencer Benedict. Who couldn’t use a new, custom riding suit from Marsha’s on the Square? Scott Shepard from Marsha’s has been, and continues to be, a valuable supporter of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association. As the trainer of the World Grand Champion, John Allan Callaway was presented with a beautiful, custom saddle-riding suit. The Assistant Performance Trainer of the Year award went to Kayla Baucom, while the Assistant Pleasure Trainer of the Year award went to Krysta Allen. Next up was the presentation of the Groom of the Year, Performance Youth of the Year and Pleasure Youth of the Year. Chris Alexander from Formac Stables was named Groom of the Year. The Performance Youth of the Year award was presented to Jessica Lawwell, while Harper Grider was honored with the Pleasure Youth of the Year award. This year the Amateur of the Year award went to Sister Milligan, who also had a prior commitment and was not able to attend. Carlyle Johnson was selected to be inducted into the WHTA Friendship Club. Members of this club are individuals who have gone above and beyond serving our horse and industry. Sarah Smith, president of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary, Susan Coleman and Heather Beard were next to come to the stage to present all the Auxiliary awards. Following the Auxiliary awards, it was time for the Riders’ Cup presentations. Sponsors and division winners were recognized, and Jimmy McConnell and Laurie Toone were presented with their large checks (in size and amount) for claiming the top spots on the performance and pleasure charts, respectively. WHTA Horse of the Year Recipients Performance Trainer of the Year R.M. Kellett Pleasure Trainer of the Year Laurie Toonie Assistant Performance Trainer of the Year Kayla Baucom Assistant Pleasure Trainer of the Year Krystal Allen Groom of the Year Chris Alexander Performance Youth of the Year Jessica Lawwell Pleasure Youth of the Year Harper Grider Amateur of the Year Sister Milligan Best One-Night Show Money Tree Classic Best Multi-Night Show North Carolina Championship Lead Line Winner –Wylder Way Reserve –Piper Anne Teague Amateur Two-Year-Old Mare or Gelding Winner –A Dixie Lady Reserve –Conover Weanling Winner – Charlene Darling Reserve – La Diamante Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallion Winner – Dixie Dare Devil Reserve – Eric C. Conn Yearling Winner – The Golden Ticket Reserve –Tee Martin Two-Year-Old Mare or Gelding Winner – I Am Sweet Maggie May Reserve – I’m A Dixie Dolly Lite-Shod Specialty Winner – Big Time Bandit Reserve – Roscoe Jenkins Two-Year-Old Stallion Winner – I’m Choobaca Reserve – Honky Tonk Youth Show Pleasure Winner – Annie’s Lined With Cash Reserve – I’m Coach Cal Youth Pony Winner – Time To Tease Reserve (tie) – I Am Big Enough and Skywalk’s Threat Trail Pleasure Winner – Machete Reserve – Blacklist Adult Pony Winner – Dark Rain Reserve (tie) – As I Am and Pappy Van Winkle Country Pleasure Winner – Line Item Veto Reserve – Slingblade Novice Winner – Fly Dragonfly Reserve – Grayton Beach Amateur Three-Year-Old Mare or Gelding Winner – Ultra Grey Pistol Reserve – My Tanqueray Elite (50 & Over) Winner – All About Jose Reserve – Mr. Heisman Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallion Winner – Sam I Am Jose Reserve – Born A Maverick Youth Flat Shod Winner – Checkpoint Charlie Reserve – Diamond At The Ritz Three-Year-Old Mare or Gelding Winner – Smoking Reserve – My Tanquerady Western Park Pleasure Winner – A Titleist Masterpiece Reserve – Papacito Three-Year-Old Stallion Winner – Cavender Reserve – Honor Of The Ritz Fine Harness Winner – In Ted’s Image Reserve – Lt. Horatio Caine Model Winner – Throw Me A Curve Reserve – Back In The Saddle Again Ladies Amateur Specialty Winner (tie) – All About Jose, Manning and She’s Limitless Reserve – A Pink Floyd Men’s Amateur Specialty Winner – Uptight Jose Reserve – Hole In My Pocket Amateur Canter Winner – Honor My Country Reserve – I’m Jordan Amateur Four-Year-Old Mare or Gelding Winner – He’s Ballistic Reserve (tie )– Honor And Salute and My Honey Bee Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion Winner – Glory JC Reserve – Black Gin’s Scout Amateur Park Pleasure Winner – Custom Chrome JB Reserve – Papacito Amateur Lite-Shod Winner – Roscoe Jenkins Reserve – Big Time Bandit Four-Year-Old Mare or Gelding Winner – Pappy Time Reserve – Honor & Salute English Park Pleasure Winner – He’s A Dixieland Delight Reserve – Dose’ Four-Year-Old Stallion Winner – Mr. True Blue Reserve – Honor And Remember Five & Under Country Pleasure Winner – Sabotage Reserve – BP’s Captain Jack Sparrow Amateur Park Performance Winner – Do Right Reserve – A Touche’ Amateur Show Pleasure Winner – Epic Reserve – Acclaim Five & Under Trail Pleasure Winner – King Mojo Reserve – Resurgence Professional Park Performance Winner – Praise And Honor Reserve – So Real All Day Pleasure Winner – Petal Pushin’ Jazz Reserve (tie) – 401K and Miss Belle Starr W Amateur Five-Year-Old Stallion Winner – Smoky Mountain Strong Reserve – I Am Fearless Juvenile 11 & Under Winner – Miss Ebony Rose Reserve (tie) – Cole Haan and It’s The Medalist Two & Three-Year-Old Country Pleasure Winner – Shipwrecked Reserve – He’s Off The Wall Professional Show Pleasure Winner – The Honor Code Reserve – Georgia Florida Line Amateur Five-Year-Old Mare or Gelding Winner – A Code Of Honors Reserve – My Ticket To Ride Amateur 15.2 & Under Mare or Gelding Winner – Punisher Reserve – He’s For Real Youth 12-17 Winner – Nevermore Reserve – The Dixie Label Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallion Winner – Marty McFly Reserve – A Kingpin Amateur Specialty Winner – She’s Limitless Reserve – All About Jose 15.2 & Under Mare or Gelding Winner – I Am Bold And Spicy Jose Reserve – I’m On Good Behavior 15.2 & Under Stallion Winner – He’s Made In The USA Reserve – Form A Line 15.2 & Over Mare or Gelding Winner – Nevermore Reserve – Jose’s Solid Pusher 15.2 & Over Stallion Winner – Justified Honors Reserve – Minor Ordeal