Germantown Charity Horse Show To Feature U.S. Cavalry by Kevin DeBusk Something new awaits spectators and participants at the 53rd annual Germantown Charity Horse Show, June 4-9 at the GCHS Arena in Germantown, Tennessee. This year's event will feature the only Horse-Mounted Cavalry Unit in the United States Army, June 4 and 5, and the addition of ten Spotted Horse classes. The Horse Cavalry Detachment, 1st Cavalry Division is based in Fort Hood, Texas and last visited the Germantown Charity Horse Show twenty-five years ago to celebrate Tennessee's Bicentennial. The Horse Mounted Cavalry Unit opens this year's show on Monday night with what show organizers are titling "A Salute to America". "We are having the Navy Band the first night," said President David Cuicchi. "We want them playing while people are walking in where people can hear patriot music. We plan to have them (The Navy Band) start between 6:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. because they end with a beautiful National Anthem." After which the Cavalry will enter and perform for approximately forty-five minutes. The show will consist of drill maneuvers at several speeds as well as weapons demonstrations. These weapons will include sabers, .45 caliber revolvers and the Springfield Carbine. The unit also carries a 1841 Light Mountain Howitzer Cannon and a M1878 supply wagon. Following the Cavalry will be an exhibition of World Champions. Those champions will represent the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Horse and Saddle Breeds. Additionally, they will have a jumper on exhibition. "While they are doing this the announcer is going to be talking about the breed and how the judges judge them," David said. "Kind of a preview to the show. "I've been involved with this horse show for several years and I have people come up and ask when are we going to have the Cavalry back. That's why I made it my goal to get them back to the Germantown Charity Horse Show, when I was elected president. Senator Fred Thompson was instrumental in bringing them here. He has been very helpful and hopefully he will be here Monday night. We have also invited the governor and mayor of both Shelby County and Germantown." William "Bill" Sledge, who was president of the Germantown Charity Horse Show from 1975-77 and planned out the first visit, is heading the committee planning this years visit. Like 1976 he already has a bugle player lined up and a reenactment group to add to the old time flair and is in the process of gathering authentic music from that period for the bugle and organ. "What I tried to do for a couple of days, in 1976, was make this particular area as much like 1876 as you could get it," William said. "We wanted to give the feeling that what was going on out here was like it was a hundred years ago. "I've shown horses for nearly fifty years and have seen every thing you can see at a show but people have never seen anything like this. You couldn't have gotten another person in here when they were here before. People were so emotionally involved you could have heard a pen drop. My feeling was everything was here but John Wayne. It's pretty impressive when you get twenty to twenty-two guys in old uniforms on horses." "I've heard there was nobody in the barns," David commented. "They all came over here to see this." Tuesday evening the Cavalry will again perform for approximately thirty minutes beginning at 7:00 p.m. Additionally, Tuesday evening will feature one of the most popular classes for kids the Rachel Smith Costume Class. In the past this class has drawn more than one hundred entries. Wednesday evening will feature the pair horse and pony pleasure driving classes, Welcome Stakes and lead line. Thursday will again feature the challenging Gamblers Choice. A total of $2,500 is up for grabs in the Gamblers Choice. Riders determine the difficulty of their run through selection of jumps ranging in points from 10 to 200. Exhibitors can also enjoy a street party Thursday evening starting at 9:30 p.m. Friday will feature the Junior/Amateur Jumper classic and a box supper. Tickets for the dinner are $10.00 and will be available in the show office. Saturday brings the $25,000 Lincoln Grand Prix of Germantown to the main arena. The winner of this event will take home $7,500 in prize money. Saturday will also feature several championship classes and the children's stick horse finals. With all of this in mind the purpose of the Germantown Charity Horse Show is still helping others. Over the years the Germantown Charity Horse Show has raised over one million dollars for local charities. Currently, they are in the third year of a five year deal with the Exchange Club Family Center of Memphis. The Center is designed to help stop the cycle of child abuse and domestic violence. Barbara King, of the Exchange Club, is excited about the opportunity to work with the show. In the first two years they have raised more than forty thousand dollars. Part of the agreement with the Center is that they provide volunteers to help with advertising sells and selling of programs. "We have a great group of volunteers that help," Barbara said. Additionally, they sell posters of the 2001 limited edition print and handle the silent auction of the actual print. This years print is titled "Morning Workout" and was produced by Dr. Harold Stratton, of Memphis, Tennessee. Seating is available on a first come basis, unless you purchase a reserve box. Spectators are also encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs to place on the natural bowl area of the arena. Advance tickets are $10 for a five-ticket book or $5.00 at the gate. Advance tickets are available at Krogers, First Tennessee Bank, Nashoba Bank, Saddles' and Such, Judy's Tack Shop and Germantown Performing Arts Center. Show Times are as follows: Monday June 4: A sneak preview and the U.S. Army, First Cavalry Division, Horse Platoon of Fort Hood, Texas Tuesday June 5: North and South arena begins at 8:00 a.m. and the main arena at 10:00 a.m. The main arena starts back Tuesday evening at 5:30 and will feature the Rachel Smith Costume Class and the Cavalry again at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday June 6: North and South arena begin at 8:00 a.m. with action resuming in the main arena at 10:00 a.m. Action picks back-up in the main arena at 5:30 p.m. with the Welcome Stakes and Lead Line classes. Opening ceremonies will be at 7:00 p.m. Thursday June 7: South arena opens at 8:00 a.m. and the North arena main arena at 8:30 a.m. The main arena will again start at 5:30 p.m. with the Gambler's Choice kicking it off. Opening ceremonies will begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday June 8: South arena begins at 8:00 a.m. and the North arena at 8:30 a.m. The main arena begins competition at 10:00 a.m. Action heats back up in the main arena at 5:30 with the Junior/Amateur Jumper class. Opening ceremonies will begin at 7:00 p.m. Saturday June 9: South arena begins at 7:00 a.m. and the North arena at 7:30 a.m. The main arena starts at 8:00 a.m. Action in the main arena starts back at 4:30 p.m. with the Pre-Jump Grand Prix and at 5:00 p.m. the $25,00 grand Prix of Germantown begins. The stick horse finals and championship classes will follow this. For more information of registration catalogs contact Susan Winn at (901) 753-6441 or visit them on line at www. GCHS.org.
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