Monthly Archives: August 2023

A Cut Above

National Cutting Horse Association

Photos courtesy of Sandra Lines Photography and Jan Burch

With her competitive edge, a local equestrian is riding high on the cutting horse circuit.

It’s been almost a decade since Augusta resident Jan Burch started competing in National Cutting Horse Association shows, and nothing can rein in her love of the sport.

“All I do is grin,” says Jan. “Everybody else is so serious, but I feel like I’m on a fair ride.”

In fact, at her first-ever event in 2014, she had so much fun that she had to share it after she completed her run.

“You’re not supposed to talk to the judges, but I turned to them and said, ‘Well, I had a good time. I have to go now,’” says Jan.

She hasn’t stopped grinning – or winning – ever since.

National Cutting Horse AssociationThis year, for instance, she has competed in only a handful of events, but she is in the running to finish in the Top 10 of the Senior World Tour 35,000 Non-professional division. (Non-pros must own their horse and cannot receive remuneration for training cutting horses. The 35,000 figure indicates the competitors have won less than $35,000 in their careers).

Jan not only enjoys the success she has had in competition, however. She also likes meeting people at various cutting events around the country, and she is in good company as one of a number of local NCHA competitors. Others include Jeff Fehrman, president of the Area 18 Cutting Horse Association, and Mark Senn, NCHA president-elect.

‘Show Me What You Got’

Western horse-and-riderFor the uninitiated, cutting is a judged event in which a Western horse-and-rider pair work together to cut a cow from a herd, drive it to the center of the arena and keep it from returning to the herd.

The events consist of individual runs, which last 2 1/2 minutes. The number of competitors might range from three to 50, and 2.5 cows per rider are placed in the pen. For example, 25 cows would be in the pen for a competition with 10 people.

Riders are encouraged to cut three cows from the herd during their run, and, from a base score of 70, points are awarded or deducted based on performance.

“When you are in a competition, you have to let the horses know you’re there for them because they’re very smart,” Jan says. “You can’t put them in harm’s way.”

Currently, Jan has four cutting horses – Smokey 2, Snoopin’ Kat, I’m Struck on You and Light ‘Em Upp. However, she got her first one, Dual Badge, in 2014 when she bought the horse as an investment with a friend.

She then called horse trainer Eddie Braxton of Edgefield, South Carolina, and told him that she wanted to ride in the Augusta Futurity. She said, “I have never ridden a cutting horse, but I own one.”

Augusta Futurity and World Congress FuturityHe told her to come see him the next day and “show me what you got.” Proving to be a natural, she cut three cows.

Jan’s love for horses began at age 3 when she got a Shetland pony and started riding bareback because she was “too lazy to put the saddle on the horse.”

“I have always enjoyed trail riding by myself because it’s quiet. It’s good for the soul,” she says. “I had ridden my whole life, but I had never competed.”

She quickly discovered, however, that “I have a competitive edge in me.”

Her first cutting horse event, where she rode Dual Badge, was the World Congress Futurity in Ohio in the fall of 2014. This event was supposed to be a trial run for the Augusta Futurity, where Jan had planned to compete the following January.

Although a family illness kept her from entering the show, she generally competes in the Augusta Futurity, now held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, annually.

Events are held nationwide throughout the year, and the NCHA Triple Crown in Fort Worth, Texas includes the Super Stakes in March and April, the Summer Spectacular in July and August, and the World Championship Futurity in November and December.

Jan began competing in cutting horse events with more regularity during the pandemic in 2020 when she got Smokey 2.

“During covid, he really gave us something to look forward to,” says Jan. “He’s a special horse.”

She has not competed as frequently this year as she did the past several years, but 2021 and 2022 were highly successful for her. In 2021 she finished in the Top 15 in the World Standings in the 15,000 Amateur division. (Amateurs must have lifetime earnings of less than $50,000 in cutting horse competition. In addition, these contestants may not work on a horse training facility or be married to a professional trainer.)

In the 2022 Senior World Tour, she finished sixth in the 15,000 Amateur and 10th in the 35,000 Non-pro division.

Jan takes all of her cutting horses to the events, and Braxton tells her which one to ride.

“Every cutting horse is different,” she says. “I have to do a mental checklist about the horse I’m on because all of the horses have certain tendencies.”

Commitment, Competition and Care

To be a successful cutting horse competitor, Jan says riders need to have a love of the sport and total commitment.

“You need a really nice horse and a good trainer,” she says. “You need to have good balance, and you need to be able to listen.”

She says cutting horses need good training and breeding. Before each run, riders also have to “lope,” or calm down, their horses by cantering, trotting or walking them in a ring.

“You have to get them tired because they get excited when they’re around the cows,” Jan says.

However, she never wants to tire out her horses too much. “I like mine a little fresh because I like a fast ride,” she says.

She also enjoys having the opportunity to compete.

“When you do well, you want to do it again. If you do badly, then you want to go out again and prove yourself,” Jan says.

To build a good relationship with their horses, she says riders need to “love them, care for them and groom them.”

Augusta Futurity Jan BirchMainly, though, she just enjoys spending time with her equine companions, which include pleasure horses that she keeps at her barn in Trenton, South Carolina.

“I love horses,” Jan says. “I love to rub their noses. They feel like velvet.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Pond, Porch and Pool

In The Home
hidden billiards table

Photography by Sally Kolar

With amenities ranging from a private fishing hole to a hidden billiards table, this Evans home is an indoor-outdoor haven.

When Evans resident William Cleveland decided to downsize his living accommodations, he knew the perfect place to build a smaller home. In fact, he could see it every day.

For 43 years he lived in a house on 30 acres of former farmland with a pond, and that small body of water played a large role in his decision-making process.

“I always thought a house would look good on the other side of the pond,” William says. “When I found out I could build it there, that was all I needed to know.”

He broke out 5 to 6 acres to build a new home and sold the remaining acreage to his daughter and son-in-law, who have a barn and an animal rescue farm on the property.

After he had made the first crucial decision about the location of his new house, he soon discovered that he had to make lots of choices during the construction process.

“When I first started building the house, I thought I could do it myself. But I quickly realized I couldn’t make all of the decisions,” says William.

His builder put him in touch with Amanda Pierce of Birdsong Design Co., and she came up with a “man’s dream house” design for the modern farmhouse where he has lived since May 2022.

clean and classic, peaceful and timelessLess is More

Setting the tone for the house, the front porch features cedar beams, copper lanterns, a tongue and groove ceiling and a salted concrete floor.

With dark paint on the board and batten exterior, along with lots of black, white, gray and beige tones inside, the house has a masculine feel without being overpowering.

The house also was designed with a clean and classic, peaceful and timeless look that won’t show its age.

“Having less is better,” William says.

White oak flooring runs through the first story, and William is partial to other features in the house as well.

“I love the six-paneled doors,” he says. “I like the straight lines on the doors and cabinet trim and the 45-degree angles.”

six-paneled doorsThe interior color is established in the foyer, which includes a black and white rug, a black light fixture, black double doors and a gray upholstered bench. An olive tree in a basket planter is tucked in the corner.

In the living room, the white cathedral ceiling with white scissor trestles gives the space an open, airy ambiance. During the 15-month construction of the house, they tweaked the house plans to add these trestles to the ceiling.

The room also features wood shelving with black glass-front doors, a stone fireplace with a raised hearth and a wood mantel, wall sconces above a built-in cabinet and a black ceiling fan.

Furnishings include a black and beige rug, a round black metal table, two leather chairs and a couch.

With four removable tabletop pieces, the trestle table in the dining area doubles as a billiards table.

“I hadn’t played pool since college, but now I knock the balls around at night,” William says. “I use it as a pool table more than a dining table.”

A black and brass chandelier hangs above the table, where black metal chairs line each side and an upholstered chair sits at either end. Black sliding glass doors lead to the covered back porch, which overlooks the pond.

“I love all of the glass on the back of the house,” says Cleveland. “It opens up the whole house. Wherever you walk, you feel like you’re outside.”

wood beams Two wood beams in the ceiling highlight the adjoining kitchen, where the dark green island looks green, black or bule depending on how the light hits it.

Four chairs are tucked under the island, which also features two copper pendant lights overhead and a hammered copper sink. With their imperfect edges, Riad tiles on the backsplash have a handmade look.

The kitchen also includes white cabinetry with black hardware, lots of drawer space, recessed lighting and quartz countertops in a soapstone color.

Evans HomeAdding to the charm of the home, the kitchen and sitting room door frames are made of wood that came from an Ohio barn that was more than 100 years old. Highlighting the craftsmanship, the woodworker filled the holes in the lumber with wood plugs.

A glass door from the kitchen leads to the grilling porch, which was another addition to the original house plans. Along with the grill, the space includes deck flooring, a black wall sconce and a birdhouse.

Sunlight and Solitude

Sunlight streams through the large glass windows on two walls of the sitting room, which includes a couch and two chairs upholstered in beige fabric, a pair of soft ottomans and two glass-topped tables.

For a bit of solitude at the end of the day, William also can retreat to the master bedroom. The space features a black metal canopy bed with a linen headboard, propeller ceiling fan and white window treatments on black curtain rods. A lamp with a blue-green base sits atop each of the black bedside tables, and a chair and black floor lamp are nestled in the corner of the room.

clean linesIn the master bath, the black hexagon tile flooring extends into the gridded glass shower. The shower also features matte black fixtures, a black granite shower bench and white subway tile on the walls. Two vanities, black granite countertops, black vessel sinks and wood cabinets accent the bath as well.

However, William’s favorite place to relax and unwind is the covered back porch that overlooks the pond.

covered back porchThis outdoor retreat features exposed beams in the ceiling, three ceiling fans, cedar columns between black wrought iron railings that matches the railing on the front staircase inside, deck flooring with the same cedar stain as the grilling porch and a birdhouse.

Adding to the ambiance, the soothing sound of wind chimes announces the presence of a gentle breeze on the back porch. Large green plants tie into the natural surroundings as well.

A black and white rug offers a finishing touch to the sitting area where plush cream-colored cushions serve as an invitation to settle on the four teak chairs and loveseat. Another rug lies beneath a round glass-topped table surrounded by four metal chairs with armrests.

“I sit on the back porch most of the day,” William says. “I like the jungle look. I see a lot of wildlife.”

With a large swatch of wetlands on his property between his house and the Savannah River, he can enjoy the company of herons, egrets, deer and wild hogs. Egrets have been known to perch on the porch railing for 30 minutes at a time.

From the back porch, William also can watch the sun set or take in the view of the trees and pastures on the other side of the fish-filled pond.

While the bass and brim “take care of themselves,” he restocks the water with catfish every 10 years. Last fall, he added 250 catfish to the pond.

“I used to like to fish,” William says. “Now I enjoy feeding the fish.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Mushroom Swiss Burger with Jalapeño Aioli

  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons steak seasoning blend
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces portobello mushrooms
  • 4 Swiss cheese slices
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 tomatoes slices
  • Jalapeño Aioli:
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Combine ground beef and steak seasoning in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four patties; set aside. Heat sauté pan over medium until hot. Add olive oil and mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat grill to medium. Add jalapeño peppers and grill 5-6 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cool, remove stem and seeds and dice into 1/4-inch cubes. Place in a medium bowl and add mayo, salt and lime juice. Combine thoroughly; set aside.

Place burgers on grill and cook, covered, over medium heat 7-10 or until thermometer registers 160 degrees, turning occasionally. Do not press on burgers. During last minute of grilling, top each burger with cheese slice. Remove to platter to rest, and place buns, cut sides down, on grill. Grill about 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Place burgers on bottom buns and top with mushrooms, tomato and lettuce. Spread top buns with aioli and add to burgers. Serve with extra aioli, if desired. Makes 4 burgers.

Recipe courtesy of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Go on ‘Holliday’

Photos courtesy Griffin + Spalding Business and Tourism Association

Photos courtesy Griffin + Spalding Business and Tourism Association

The Wild, Wild West is headed east to Griffin, Georgia for the annual Doc Holliday Festival.

Although the infamous dentist-turned-gunslinger made his name at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, he was born in the town that’s about 40 miles south of Atlanta.

The Festival

Food and beverages, arts and crafts vendors and family activities are the backdrop for this festival. However, one of the highlights is the reenactment of the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral in which Aces and Eights will perform three 30-minute shows for history enthusiasts and fans of the Wild West.

Evening entertainment will feature a performance by Mainstream Band Ga.

Another major draw of the weekend is the BBQ Competition, which is organized by the Georgia Barbecue Association and expected to have about 30 professional teams participating.

Doc Holliday OK CoralThe barbecue teams will be set up in the ballfield inside Griffin City Park, and the general public will have the opportunity to purchase a sampler platter from 12 of the teams, known as the People’s Choice. Not only will guests get to enjoy delicious barbecue, but they will also have the chance to vote for their favorite team, with a trophy awarded to the winner.

Guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs, although some bleacher seating will be provided in the park.

The Legend

John Henry “Doc” Holliday was born in 1851 to Henry Burroughs Holliday, a doctor, veteran and public servant, and Alice Jane (McKey) Holliday. In 1864 the family moved from Griffin to Valdosta to escape Sherman’s March to the Sea. Two years later, Holliday’s mother, who doted on the son who was born with a cleft palate, died of consumption, or tuberculosis, when he was 15 years old.

After graduating from Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1872, Holliday returned to Griffin to establish a dental practice that earned him the nickname, “Doc.” Shortly after he began his career, however, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Given just months to live, Holliday followed the advice of a physician who told him to go west where the dry air might prolong his life.

Doc Holliday Griffen GeorgiaHe moved to Dallas and set up another dentistry practice in 1873 during the waning days of the American frontier. As dentists who were prone to fits of coughing up blood weren’t in high demand, however, Holliday had to find another way to make a living. He turned to gambling and quickly developed a reputation as a gambler with a temper – and a gun.

After a saloon altercation led to a shooting, Holliday was charged with attempted murder. The jury called it self-defense, but he left Dallas for rougher towns in West Texas and beyond.

In 1877, Holliday arrived in Fort Griffin, Texas, where he met rogue lawman Wyatt Earp. Although details surrounding their meeting vary, the two men became the most feared duo in the Wild West.

Holliday followed Earp from Texas to Dodge City, Kansas, and eventually to Tombstone, Arizona, where they burnished their infamous reputations at a street fight near the O.K. Corral in 1881. Thirty shots were fired in a 30-second shootout that left three “cowboys” dead.

While Holliday supposedly killed scores of people during his short lifetime, most of the accounts cannot be verified.

Hoping its hot springs would improve his health, he moved to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, in May 1887, but he died of tuberculosis six months later at age 36. On his deathbed, Holliday took a shot of whiskey, looked down at his bare feet and said, “That’s funny” because he always thought he would die with his boots on.

The Gravesite

While there’s no dispute about Holliday’s death, his final resting place is open to debate.

Apparently, he originally was buried in Linwood Cemetery in Glenwood Springs, but the interment could have been temporary because an early winter made it hard to reach his assigned plot. Instead, he was buried elsewhere on the grounds. There is a fenced-in “grave” in the cemetery, along with a headstone, and a marker reads, “This memorial dedicated to Doc Holliday who is buried someplace in this cemetery.”

His hometown claims that Holliday and his father are buried side by side in unmarked graves in Griffin’s Oak Hill Cemetery. The conjecture goes that, since Holliday was the only son of a prominent Southern family, his relatives quickly and quietly made arrangements to bring his body back to Georgia. Because of his reputation and growing fame as a Wild West folk hero, his family left his grave unmarked so it would not be disturbed.

A marked grave of his father also has never been located even though he was a wealthy landowner and one-time mayor of Valdosta. Headstones for the rest of the family can be found, lending credence to the theory that Doc and his dad are spending eternity together in anonymity.

There is a historical marker of twin graves at Oak Hill at burial plot 11, but it, too, is clouded in uncertainty by posing the unanswerable question – “Doc” Holliday Final Resting Place?

If You Go:
What: Doc Holliday Festival and BBQ Competition

When: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, September 9

Where: Griffin City Park

How Much: Free admission

More Info:

Murmur — R.E.M

Listen To This

Murmur — R.E.MAs the brutal sun tips its sweat-drenched hat to another Southern summer, autumn’s oak and acorn aromas are brewing an olfactory overload of new sensations.

Music has a way of stirring sensory seasonal recollections, and 40 years ago, R.E.M., a fledgling band from Athens broke the mold, defined a genre and broadcasted a new sensation in popular music with its album, Murmur.

According to lore, R.E.M. was born with a fateful encounter at the local record store along with recruiting mutual UGA friends and acquaintances from distant hometowns to fuel the void of college boredom. After playing a gig for a friend’s birthday party, the rest is rock ’n’ roll history.

R.E.M.’s official full-length debut, Murmur, is still considered one the greatest records of all time with its obscure jangle-pop Americana vibe and non-conventional approach to mixing.

Stemming from a rebellious departure from the late ’70s mainstream, it defied the odds and trenched an underground genre of music coined “college rock,” which years later became “alternative rock.”

Their mashup of influences ranged from The Velvet Underground and Pattie Smith to Hank Williams Sr. and The Banana Splits.

Every track on Murmur has a distinct flavor that connects a warmly familiar vibe to time, place, season and sensory memory. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of this iconic album, it’s still the perfect soundtrack for autumn’s holler.

Chris Rucker

Aesthetic Essentials of Augusta

Resource Guide

Amy Faircloth, RN, BSN, has more than 25 years of experience in med-surg, ENT, plastic surgery and operative services. As an Augusta native and the founder of Aesthetic Essentials of Augusta, she is proud to put her city on the map of aesthetics.

Augusta – 1220 Georgia C Wilson Dr. Suite C | Augusta, Georgia 30909| 706-434-8304

Atlanta – 104 Sycamore Place Suite A | Decatur, Georgia 30030 | (706) 833-4256

Beauty and Wellness Boutique

Dermatology Specialists of Augusta

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The staff at Dermatology Specialists of Augusta is committed to provide the highest quality and most compassionate care to all of our patients. We specialize in Medical, Surgical, and Cosmetic Dermatology. We offer numerous treatment options and the latest techniques to help you look and feel your very best. We custom tailor treatments for your skin type and condition. We are especially concerned about the rising incidence of skin cancer and encourage you to have regular skin cancer screening exams.

1203 Town Park Lane | Evans, Georgia
706.650.SKIN (7546)

Dermatology Augusta, Georgia



AO Multispecialty Clinic

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AO Multispecialty Clinic consists of board certified physicians and physicians assistants who work together to provide continuous coverage to our patients in the office, in the hospital, and after hours.

 3696 Wheeler Road | Augusta, GA 30909 
(706) 736-1830

1220 George C Wilson Dr | Augusta, GA 30909
(706) 941-8206

1303 D’Antignac St., Ste. 1000 | Augusta, GA 30901
(706) 821-2944

222 University Pkwy | Aiken, SC 29801
(803) 306-1438

Visit us at

AO Multispecialty Clinic consists of board certified physicians and physicians assistants

Evans Gynecology & Radiant Aesthetics and Wellness

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A warm and comfortable environment. This is what you will come to expect from Dr. Niti Carlson and the staff of Evans Gynecology. We’ve made it a point to exceed your expectations in care and comfort.

• Botox • Fillers • Laser Hair Removal • Laser Genesis • PhotoFacial Laser Treatments • Titan Skin Tightening • Clear + Brilliant • HydraFacial • Custom Facials • SkinPen Microneedling • Chemical Peels • Professional Skin Care Products

465 N Belair Rd • Suite 2E • Evans, GA 30809 • (706) 855-5510

Evans Gynogology and Radiant Aesthetics

Savannah River Plastic Surgery

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Board-certified plastic surgeon, Billy Lynn, MD, FACS, has over 20 years of experience serving plastic surgery patients in the Augusta, Georgia area. He specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the body, breasts, and face, including breast augmentation, body contouring, liposuction, and facial rejuvenation. Dr. Lynn and our staff at Savannah River Plastic Surgery are dedicated to providing incredible results and compassionate care in a safe, welcoming environment.

820 St Sebastian Way | Suite 1A | Augusta, Ga | 706-651-8400

Plastic Surgery Augusta