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Walking into History


Graceland, The Grand Ole Opry and Tennessee Walking Horses. Music and horse enthusiasts from around the world know that if they want to see these landmarks for themselves the best way to do it is to make a trip to Tennessee.

Ronnie Spears on Powerstroke's Evening Star Each year, since 1939, Tennessee Walking Horse owners, trainers and riders gather at Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee to compete for World Champion titles in their respective classes. The Celebration takes place during the 10 days and nights prior to Labor Day each year. Southern States is proud to feed 2010 two time World Champion Powerstroke's Evening Star owned by Tommy McGee of Lenoir, NC.

Powerstroke's Evening Star is not only owned by McGee, but he also bred her. What makes this win even more exciting is that McGee owns both the dam, Pusher's Evening Star, and the sire, Pushover's Powerstroke. No other horse in the history of the Celebration that has shared the same owner as its sire and dam has gone on to win two world championships. Powerstroke's Evening Star isn't the only one to have achieved World Champion titles under McGee's watchful eye. Powerstroke was an eight time World Champion and the 2001 Reserve World Grand Champion while Pusher's Evening Star was a 12 time World Champion.

During this year's celebration, August 25- September 4, 2010, Pushover's Evening Star stole show by winning the two year old open class with rider/trainer Ronnie Spears of Shelbyville, TN. She also won the amateur division with Pam Ingraham as the rider, also of Shelbyville. According to McGee, "Evening Star was the talk of the town during the Celebration." No other World Champion at the Celebration generated more talk than McGee's two year old filly.

The talk was centered on Evening Star's two World Champion titles. In the 72 year history of the Celebration, very few mares have accomplished this feat. Just as seen in the Thoroughbred racing world, it's very hard for a filly to beat a stud. This has been illustrated through only three fillies winning the Kentucky Derby in its 136 year history. "It's just a freaky thing when a filly can beat the boys," states McGee.

Trainer/rider Ronnie Spears watched history repeat itself at this year's Celebration as he has now won on three generations of direct descendants of the Pushover bloodline. In 1990, Spears won the World on The Pushover. In 2002, Spears won a World Grand Champion title on Pushover's Powerstroke; who is currently standing at stud in Shelbyville. And of course this year he won with Powerstroke's Evening Star.

Tommy McGee and Powerstroke's Evening starThe Celebration was the brainchild of Henry Davis, a longtime owner and trainer of Walking Horses. After witnessing a festival that celebrated the crimson clover industry he began to put together a similar event to recognize and celebrate the great horses in the Tennessee Walking Horse. Today Davis' dream has turned into a reality as 72 years later the event is still going strong. This past year over $650,000 in prizes and awards were given.

Tennessee Walking Horses are best known for their three distinct gaits; flat foot walk, running walk and canter. According to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association, "These three are the gaits for which the Tennessee Walking Horse is famous, with the running walk being an inherited, natural gait unique to this breed." What makes the running walk special is how briskly horses can move while in the running walk, 6-12 mph. As the speed increases, the horse's rear foot moves farther forward the front hoof print. The further the back hoof is in ahead of the front hoof print, the better a "walker" the horse is said to be.

Powerstroke's Evening Star is poised to be a great Walking Horse now and in the future. McGee plans on showing her for another year or two and then moving her into the broodmare phase of her life. After all she has World Champion bloodlines to pass on to her future offspring.

For the past decade McGee has been feeding his World Champions Southern States' Legends Pellets purchased from Southern States - Lenoir Service. "I love how well all my horses do on Legends," explains McGee. McGee isn't the only one who loves Legends, his farm manager Jack Johnson, who is 82 and has been responsible for horse care the majority of his life agrees Legends is topnotch. In fact Johnson brags on how much better the horses' coats look after feeding Legends. He will not feed anything else to horses under his care. That is a true testament to the quality of Southern States feed!

We are so proud to feed a generation of World Champions. Congrats to Powerstroke's Evening Star's entire support team. You all will forever be a part of Tennessee Walking Horse history!


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