The Gulletts have been showing horses and winning blue ribbons for 40 years
They may not be the only husband-wife team in the walking horse business, but Jim and Jeanine Gullett certainly must be the most successful.
They have won seven world championships and more regional titles than they can count. With Jeanine riding and Jim coaching and preparing the mounts, the Gulletts won 24 blue ribbons in one year.
Jim is a co-founder of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association; he’s also past president of the Georgia Walking Horse Exhibitor’s Associa-tion. Jeanine has served as secretary for both groups.
They’re equally successful off the show circuit. Jim Gullett’s Atlanta car wash at North Druid Hills Road and Buford Highway has been one of the nation’s top five car-washing income producers for the past 30 years. Jeanine was named “Mrs. Atlanta” for superior home-making skills in 1965. She also served nine years on the Gwinnett Hospital Authority, two as chairman, and received the Gwinnett County Civic Public Service award in 1987. Today the Gulletts spend most of their time on a 50-acre farm in Duluth. Fifty years ago they bought the property for $200 per acre; today it’s worth $150,000 per acre, not including their house. They also own a home in Shelbyville, Tenn.
James Gether Gullett and Lucy Jeanine Davis met on a blind date in 1951. They were married eight months later and have been partners in marriage and show horses ever since.
Jeanine took riding lessons in high school. So did Jim, but his main interest was football and basketball. He excelled in both.
Jim grew up as though he was on a Cook’s Tour. His dad, a builder and developer of super service stations, traveled the Southeast. Jim, born in Booneville, Miss., lived in Nashville, Louisville and eventually Atlanta.
As a pre-teen in Nashville, Gullett played sandlot football and basketball. He wasn’t just a player; he was a star in both sports. By the time he reached Louisville at age 15, he was a starting guard on the Male High School varsity football and basketball teams.
When his family moved to Atlanta, Jim spent two years at Tech High School. He was an All-State guard on the 1943 Tech High football team, and an All-State forward on the basketball team. Five years ago the Tech High Alumni Association named Gullett to its football “team of the decade.”
He was named best athlete in the 1944 graduating class. No one blocked or tackled any harder on the football team or was as deadly a shooter on the basketball team.
Gullett was sought after by several colleges in the South, but Uncle Sam got to him first. He was caught in the draft and served three years in the Army Air Corps, mostly at Keesler Field, now Keesler Air Force Base, in Missis-sippi, not far from where he was born.
When he was released from active duty, the college offers he received before he was drafted were waiting for him. He signed with the University of Florida but after one year decided it was time for him to go into business.
He relocated to Gaines-ville (Ga.), went to work in a feed store and soon had his own poultry and hatchery business. Despite major competition business flourished, giving him enough money to buy the Atlanta commercial property.
With what he learned from his dad, he opened a car wash there and in less than 10 years, his was one of the leading car washes in America. With his son Ronnie managing the car wash, Jim was free to spend more time with Jeanine and their Tennessee Walking Horses.
The Gulletts have spent 41 years showing horses and have no plans to retire. Look for a family dynasty. Daughter Patricia Gullett Tisma, son Ronnie and granddaughter Kari Tisma are not only showing in, but winning regional and national competitions. Before he died at age 50, son Mike made his presence known on the national scene as well.