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It’s a wrap — 80th Celebration recapped at a glance!



By Jeffrey Howard

The 80th Anniversary Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration ended up as one of the best in recent memory. Even though entries were flat from this year compared to last, with 2,456 entries this year as compared to 2,466 last year, the show was a huge success. 

Horses through the gate were even closer in comparison to last year with only an eight-horse difference, 1,767 in 2018 versus 1,775 in 2017. Over the championship weekend of Thursday through Saturday, 21 more horses showed in those 36 championship classes as compared to the year prior.

The judging at this year’s Celebration was indicative of the tremendous quality of horses and classes at this year’s show. Of the 184 classes held over the 15 sessions, the judges agreed unanimously only 53 times or 29 percent. That percentage is as low as it has been in recent memory speaking to the diversity of the judging panel and the highly competitive classes.  

The percentage of unanimous ties was even lower in the World Grand Championship classes on the weekend. Over the 36 classes, only six (16.6 percent) were tied unanimously. There was one instance where a horse won a world championship with no first place ties, something that didn’t happen in 2017.  

Even with the diversity of first-place ties and lack of unanimous ties, the judges individually tied the winner of the class first on their card at a similar rate. David Sisk and Leigh Stuart tied the winner 134 times, Mike Hilley 131 times and Sam Sorrell and Ross Campbell 128 times.

Another example of the diversity of winners at this year’s show, 25 different training barns took home a World Grand Championship from the Celebration. Myatt Manor won the most World Grand Championships with five, while Callaway Stables, Wright Stables and Finish Line Farms were second with three each. The Callaway Stables team took home the most blue ribbons at the show with 19, Myatt Manor 14, Wright and Baucom Stables with 12 and Finish Line Farms rounding out the top five with 11.

Stay tuned throughout the week for more in depth breakdowns and behind the scenes stories from the show at walkinghorsereport.com and look for a comprehensive report of all the best coverage of the monumental event in our wrap up issue, which will be dated Monday, Sept. 17.

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