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First Walking Horse World Title Sweet For Candie Butler by Kevin DeBusk Candie Butler learned about showing horses and the dedication it requires, at an early age, from her parents Glen and Virgie Crutchfield. September first she won the Owner-amateur Rider on Walking Mares or Geldings World Championship with SUNRISE QUE SERA SERA, at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, in Shelbyville, Tennessee. "To win this year was a great surprise," Candie said. "This is my first World Grand Championship but she's (SUNRISE QUE SERA SERA) a ten time champion. Last year I had the championship mare with her but not a World Grand Championship. "I knew after last year I would be showing her again and thought if I got in the top five I would be excited. Friday morning, the day before the Grand Championship, I was talking to Jackie McConnell ( her trainer) and said something about do you think we have a chance and he said Candie I think we have a real good chance.' "That's when I really got my game together and decided we were really going to go in there. I was showing against the horse that won it the year before and one that I had never beaten. "When they called out the winner that night I sat there. It wasn't till they started playing the song Sera Sera I realized it was us." Candie continued, "That win was as much a win for Jackie and Cindie McConell and everyone that worked with him as me. Neil Robinson taught me the foundation of my riding and Jackie has taken my skills and refined them." However, Candie doesn't give credit to Neil or Jackie for the victory. "I give all the thanks and credit for my championship to Jesus," she stated. "I base everything on that and that in everything you do it must bring God glory. This is my mission field." Candie began showing at age six in the local shows and continued till she was about twelve. Since then she has enjoyed field trials, fun shows and riding for pleasure. In 1997 all that changed when she was introduced to POWER STROKE. "I got back into showing in 1997," she reported. "My dad had POWER STROKE and knew nothing about him and didn't want to do anything with him. I asked if I could go out and ride him and after one time that's when it started. I rode him and said I would love to show him. "Jackie and I had no idea what that horse would do when I started. About the third show he said I think you have something here." That something was a two-year-old championship in 1997 and in 1999 a World Grand Championship under Jackie. Candie and her husband Steve hope to instill the same love for horses in their children, as her father did her. They have two-year-old Faith and seven-year-old Christina. "Horses have always been a part of the family," she said. "I think Christina was nine months old the first time she was on a horse with me. Christina's started showing at the local shows now. "That's where I learned about sportsmanship. Many times I've gotten the gate and I want her to understand that. We want her to appreciate it's a lot of hard work but it can be fun too. Right now this is something that's a real special bond for her and her dad like it was for me and my dad." So are there plans of a third family member being a part of a World Championship? "Right now I plan to be on the same horse next year," Candie responded. "We're hoping Christina will move on up in the next year or two though." The Crutchfield family also captured the World Reserve Championship with PUSHOVER'S POWERSTROKE. He was ridden and trained by Ronnie Spears. Spears is also currently standing him.

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