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Stroke of Luck: TQHA’s Little 7/Lucky 7 Quarter Horse Classic


Article & photography by Allison Armstrong Rehnborg

With nine judges, the Little 7/Lucky 7 Quarter Horse Classic offered exhibitors the opportunity to earn as many as nine sets of points at one combined event. Judged by Rick Baker, Jon Barry and John Boxell, the Little 7 took place on May 3-5, 2019, at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, TN. The Lucky 7 Quarter Horse Classic followed on May 8-12, 2019, featuring two panels of three judges each.

According to Suzanne Mayo, the 2019 chairman of the TQHA Region 7 Show Committee, hosting nine full AQHA shows in two back-to-back events makes the Lucky 7 more attractive for exhibitors from Tennessee and surrounding states. 

“We get people from Texas, Indiana and Florida, and for those trainers to scoot up for just a four-day run is not very attractive for them,” Suzanne explained. “They like a longer run and it’s also easier for us, as a committee, to have a longer run.”

The show committee works year-round to make the Lucky 7 a successful show for middle Tennessee.

“The reason most of us serve on the show committee is that we want a nice horse show in our own backyard,” said Suzanne, who’s from Bethesda, TN. “Most of us have to travel a minimum of four to five hours to get to a larger AQHA show, so we really want and need this competition in our backyard. I can’t say enough good things about all of the people, including our sponsors, who support this horse show year after year.”

Participants enjoyed a slew of parties and other hospitality events, including a Derby watch partyand plenty of giveaways. Show sponsor and exhibitor Ryan Cottingim of Ryan Cottingim Show Horses in Spring Hill, TN, says the show’s focus on Southern hospitality is one of the reasons exhibitors come back year after year.

“The committee puts a lot of effort into fun activities and events, and I think that’s appreciated by their exhibitors,” Ryan said. “In terms of hospitality, that’s a big draw for that horse show. The second big draw consists of their prizes for circuit awards, class winners, and all-around awards. They’ve tried to put a good amount of revenue back into prizes, and I think that’s another thing that exhibitors really appreciate.”

First-time attendee and exhibitor Mike Keller, a horse trainer from El Reno, OK, traveled eleven hours to attend the Lucky 7 with one of his clients.

“This is my first time in Tennessee, and it’s been good,” Mike said. “As far as the show, the atmosphere is great, the people are very friendly and it’s a good feel. There are a lot of new faces for me here. This show’s a little more laid-back, a little more hometown and very welcoming.”

Mike trains horses and riders in a variety of disciplines, including all-around events, reining, and ranch riding.

“I enjoy helping people,” Mike said. “I like seeing that lightbulb come on when a rider gets a little bit of success. Most of them get a smile on their faces and there’s a sense of pride when they accomplish something. It can happen in the show pen or in a lesson. Everything we work on in lessons will hopefully transfer in the show pen, and when you see that happen, it’s a good thing.”

Horse trainer Todd Grant of Newnan, GA, exhibited several horses in the halter and ranch riding classes.

“I’ve been to several Lucky 7s, and we really like it,” Todd said. “It’s a good horse show. There are some great horses here. The competition’s the best part.”

The Little 7/Lucky 7 Classic was managed by Casey Devitt and announced by Clark Scoggin, with Pat Kress serving as show secretary. Judges for the Lucky 7 Classic included Sissy Anderson, Jerry Erickson, Bob Kail, Debi Kail, Jennifer Thompson and Bruce Walquist. The show featured trail courses designed by Tim Kimura and hunter courses designed by Fuzzy Mayo.

“As far as middle Tennessee is concerned, the Lucky 7 is definitely one of the largest attended shows in terms of entries and number of horses,” Ryan said. “That’s good for our business and our industry, but it also brings revenue into the area for local businesses. It’s good for all of us to have that large of a horse show here in middle Tennessee.”

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