MARYVILLE, TN – The incestuous sore Big Lick is reflected in the two tales of what Celebration Chairman David L. Howard and son PSHA Spokesperson Jeffrey Howard call “a few bad apples”.
One convicted “Bad Apple” is Celebration Hall of Fame Trainer Jackie McConnell.
An alleged Bad Apple is 2011 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Judge Larry Joe Wheelon. Allegedly, all of Wheelon’s legal bills are being picked up by “industry” insiders.
Wheelon is afforded the presumption of innocence regarding an 18 count indictment on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals returned against him and three others in Blount County Circuit Court.
Of course, neither Celebration Chairman David L. Howard, WHTA Spokesperson Winky Groover or PSHA Spokesperson Jeffrey Howard even act like they know who Larry Joe Wheelon or Jackie McConnell are these days …. a few bad apples, you know.
And all three of these sore big Lick Spokesmen feign shock when informed about what allegedly went on in the two barns operated by these individuals.
Trust Nephew Eugene, those three do know what goes on in many sore Big Lick training barns.
It’s a shame that U.S. Senator Lamar #OUTOFTOUCHALEXANDER is so out of touch.
The soring stories of Jackie McConnell and Larry Joe Wheelon are deeply intwined, and these tangled relationships outcropped again last week in Blount County, Tennessee.
So please come down the rabbit hole.
On April 25, a group of Larry Joe Wheelon customers, filed a Complaint in Blount County Circuit Court for damages against the Blount County SPCA which assisted in bringing the aggravated animal cruelty cases against Wheelon and three other defendants.
The most well-known of the Plaintiffs Is insurance agency owner Joe Barnes of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Joe Barnes was part owner of “The Coach” which won the 2010 Celebration Championship. The tie was controversial due to the horse allegedly breaking gaits and stopping during the Championship class. The horse was shown by senior citizen Billy Gray, but was prepared for the show ring by a younger trainer.
Tying “The Coach” first was unpopular with the Celebration Stake Night crowd which favored the second place Horse, “Moody Star”. The stake night crowd loudly booed “The Coach” when he was announced as World Grand Champion.
The Reserve WGC Moody Star was owned by Wilsene Moody. She is now Wilsene Moody Kwok. Wilsene Moody Kwok is now doing a two year suspension until 2015 from showing due to her plea regarding alleged Horse Protection Act Violation Allegations. Her husband, Jack Kwok, Ohio Baptist Church leader, apparently now has her horses in his name, and he is presently showing them.
The trainer of Moody Star was Jackie McConnell of Collierville, Tennessee, who won World Championships on Moody Star in 2005 and 2006.
Then Jackie McConnell went on a five year suspension, but McConnell continued to apparently train horses for his long time customers including Wilsene Moody, Floyd and Beverly Sherman, and others. McConnell used subterfuges and operatives for his customers to continue to show the horses that McConnell was training.
Informed sources say the horse being struck below is Pride’s Mr. Williams which was owned at that time by Beverly Sherman of Dallas, Texas. The Shermans have filed a suit in West Tennessee vs. District Attorney General Mike Dunavent over the actions surrounding the Shermans horses being seized from McConnells training barn.
Chad Baucom of North Carolina showed “Moody Star” for Wilsene Moody at the 2010 Celebration.
Joe Barnes horse “The Coach” was tied over “Moody Star”, but the Celebration crowd strongly disagreed with the choice and cheered wildly for “Moody Star” when he was called out for 2nd place, and booed “The Coach” when he was selected 1st
“THE COACH” (Note; You Can Hear The Crowd At Minute 4:35 Booing When “The Coach” Is Selected. Much Of The Crowd Had Left Protesting “The Coach” Being Tied First)
“MOODY STAR” (Note the Crowd Enthusiastically Cheering Star @ Minute 3:10)
HERE IS A REPRINT OF WWW.BILLYGOBOY JULY 11, 2013 ARTICLE
Larry Joe Wheelon and Jackie McConnell are as different individuals as day and night.
Jackie McConnell was always a “Peck’s Bad Boy” type of character.
Who had one helluva knack for showing a horse.
From West Tennessee, Jackie burst upon the Tennessee Walking Horse scene in 1979
He became famous for Threat’s Black Power owned by E.B. Tanner
If there was a speed record for a THW going around the Celebration oval, Jackie and Threat’s Black Power held it.
And probably still do.
E. B. Tanner was a wealthy fellow from Union City, Tennessee.
His son, John S. Tanner, was a U.S. Congressman from Tennessee, 1989 ““ 2011.
But I digress.
Stuck off up in East Tennessee, Larry Wheelon started a lot of young horse and sold them.
LARRY JOE WHEELON -CHARGED WITH FELONY HORSE ABUSE ““ MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE
But Larry has never been known as a top Trainer showman who won World Grand Championships.
Larry was more of a Trainer net kind of guy who worked well with other trainers in the every day coming and goings.
A Mr. Insider, if you will.
One of the good ole boys.
Jackie McConnell on the other hand was the top of the top in the show world.
Hall of Fame.
Jackie’s secret was getting customers with money who would buy him top stock that suited his style of jockeying and that he could win with.
Jackie’s list of horses over the years was stunning.
From I’m in Command to Skillsaw to Generator’s Santana to Moody Star and all in between.
Truth be known, Jackie was probably better training people than he was training horses.
Floyd Sherman liked him and is loyal to him.
So were lots of other folks with money
And Jackie was one helluva walking horse jockey “¦ if he had his kind of horse under him.
One with speed and style.
Larry Wheelon is a WHTA insider.
Wheelon judged the 2011 Trainer’s Show.
Wheelon was the Dean of the East Tennessee Walking Horse Trainers.
Terry Dotson’s trainer Brent Coburn is a Larry Wheelon protege’.
Now approaching 70 years old, Wheelon has quietly operated up in Maryville, Tennessee outside of Knoxville for decades.
Judging important horse shows throughout that time.
Larry Wheelon was one of three judges for the 2011 Walking Horse Trainers Show.
Larry Wheelon is close to David Howard.
They are the same age and have known and worked with each other for over 40 years. There is a Judge’s Committee which recommends Judges to the Celebration CEO. Informed sources say Howard wields influence in those circles.
Wheelon in Chairman of the Walking Horse Trainers Ethics Committee.
So Jackie McConnell always operated on the edges of the Trainers organization.
While Larry Wheelon has been Mr. Inside.
Jackie was busted by an insider who got the goods,
Then went to the U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee and a case was built and Jackie was pled guilty to a felony.
Wheelon who has always been confrontational with the USDA was charged under the law signed in 2012 making animal cruelty a felony.
Apparently someone went in Wheelon’s barn, saw the shape the horses were in, and reported it to law enforcement.
My guess is they actually worked with the District Attorney General in Blount County and law enforcement knew going in that the D.A. was serious about stopping cruelty to Tennessee Walking Horses in his county.
The observer filled out an Affidavit stating what was observed, and then the D.A. and law enforcement went to a Blount County Judge who found there was probable cause to believe Wheelon was soring horses, signed a Search Warrant, and Wheelon’s barn was raided, 9 hours of investigation was done, and Larry Joe Wheelon was busted.
It really doesn’t look good for Larry Wheelon, but he has the presumption of innocent until proven guilty and convicted.
Jackie had lots of assets and powerful friends and excellent legal representation, and thanks to a weak HPA, was able to avoid jail time.
If Blount County proves the case it appears to have and everything was done properly in putting it together, then in all probability, Larry Joe Wheelon most likely will be the first Tennessee Walking Horse trainer go to jail for soring a horse.
It’s all a sad state of affairs for the Tennessee Walking Horse.
Something needs to be done before there’s nothing left.
Colored chains and sham swabbing ain’t it.
Note: Larry Wheelon is presumed innocent until proven guilty and convicted.
COPY OF A COMPLAINT ON BEHALF OF JOE BARNES AND SIX OTHERS