By Sadie Fowler

Lots of people in attendance grasped for air when the three-year-old class was just about to line up after working through a muddy-mess-kind-of-start to the show. Blaise Broccard has been a fan favorite and she and A Gin To Win had visibly worked hard and nearly finished the class when the entry owned by Sherry Roberts threw a shoe just before line up time. 

A time out ensued and fortunately the shoe was replaced, which is not always automatically able to happen. When announcer Mark Farrar called her number out as winner, it was evident to the die-hard crowd that history had just been made. 

“Ladies and gentlemen I’m pretty sure I’m right and if I’m not I’m certain someone will correct me, but I believe this is the first time a woman has ever won the three-year-old world grand,” Farrar said. Broccard trains under the Abernathy banner and this was the first time they’ve won a world grand championship in the professional category. 

Following in ribbons in the tough field of seven, Pocket Time and Casey Wright finished as the reserve world grand champions for Bill and Debbie Woods of Lexington. 

Two classes spilled over into the Friday night session, when weather intercepted. The lite-shod world grand championship was the first class of Friday night with La Patrona defending her title with Joe Lester riding for Dale Steinmetz.

Even though the rained continued, barely taking a break since it started more than a day prior, Celebration officials said the show would go on Friday night, and it did — smoothly and timely, albeit cold and wet.

The third class of the night was the amateur show pleasure world grand championship. Classic horse (over 15 years old) Godfather By Ultra Copy showed he’s still a dominant force and capable of keeping up with the young boys as he won the class for the fifth time with Courtney Luttrell enjoying the victory pass as she always has in the past. The pair has won the class since 2012 with the exception of 2016. He’s Starbucks isn’t a stranger to the spotlight either. Suzanne Moore had him in fine condition for the reserve finish. 

Several presentations and special announcements were worked into the evening, such as Farrar reminding the crowd of winners of Celebration’s past. In the show pleasure class, for example, both 20 and 25 years ago, Heir’s Rolling Stone had captured the hearts of the crowd for this win. Just before the start of the next class, another special announcement was made when Farrar said the back number 1026 was being officially retired — that’s the number worn by last year’s world grand champion and arguably the most favorite walking horse of all time, Honors, who was ridden by Larry Edwards. 

Just a bit later, following a political event earlier in the evening in Shelbyville, former Nashville mayor Karl Dean, who’s running for Tennessee governor in 2018, was honored in center ring. Another special presentation was made when legendary horse trainer the late Billy Gray scholarship recipient was named. Gray, a four-time world grand championship trainer, passed away last year and his family was on hand to award the scholarship to Ally Puckett.

It was a night of new moments, as well as repetitive patterns. Lined Up At The Ritz and Lisa Baum carried out the roses for the third year in a row in the amateur park pleasure world grand championship in unanimous fashion with BB King’s Jazz and Mikki Eldridge earning a respectable reserve. The winners have shown extensively, and they’ve not earned anything less than a winning finish since 2014, when they once captured reserve. 

Lisa Baum was back in the winner’s circle in the next class, the amateur walking horse world grand championship with another world-class champion who’s also undefeated this season, having previously won at the Spring Fun Show and Christmas In July. A Bruce Pearl carried the roses out of this class for the third year in a row with Epic and Meghan Davis capturing a large applause from the crowd as the reserve world grand champions. 

Wins at Christmas In July and Wartrace earlier this summer, Slingblade topped the field of seven in his second time out this week with Joe Lester in the saddle for Chester and Debbie Marbry. Justus Carter and Legend Of Zelda earned their own crowd support as the reserve world grand champions. 

A field of 17 showed for the world grand championship title in the amateur novice class with a tight race to the finish line as fans heated up the chilly air. “It’s a big night for these riders who’ve worked hard for a chance to win tonight,” Farrar said. Many agree, with the many commenting this week how strong the entries have been in the novice classes. 

A repeat performance from a big moment earlier this week, Grey Barker and Memphis Raines showed up at this year’s show ready for game and appropriately wore their name well as they walked into the in the winner’s circle on the rainy night in Shelbyville. The victories at this year’s Celebration were the duo’s first wins of the season, making them even that much sweeter. Deal Me Aces and Carol Missildine didn’t quite hold the Ace, but strongly settled for the reserve world grand championship in one of the deepest classes of tough competition of the night. 

Prior season victories at Money Tree and Cornersville prepared the season and very appreciative Lilly Beth Harville for victory in the youth class for riders 12-17 on mares and geldings. It was Harville’s first time to experience the thrill of the roses, ahead of veteran rider Thomas Derickson aboard Benelli who hung tough all season long, showing at eight shows before the Celebration this year and walked away with the reserve world grand championship streamers. 

The top three horses in the competitive world grand championship for the amateur five-year-olds each had their rightfully-earned fan bases and resumes. In the end an impressive victory went to Lilly Waites-Mobley and Uptight José after earlier season wins at FAST and a reserve finish in the amateur five-year-old preliminary Monday night. Mr. Trump and Taylor Walters steadily walked away with reserve with veteran rider Janice Fostek demonstrating skill and grace with the yellow ribbon. 

What gets better than a Diamond At The Ritz? Add rider Kimberly Walden to the equation and you’ve got a winning ticket at the Celebration in the amateur western country pleasure championship. Having won earlier this season at Money Tree and Belfast, they moved up a notch from their reserve in the qualifier. Focused on the mission at hand, Lisa Baum continued her dominant presence with Eye On The Title, round one winner, for the reserve world grand championship. 

It was the fourth world grand championship title earned by the fierce Mr. Country Gentleman, but his first in the open division when he and trainer Tyler Baucom topped a competitive field in the specialty world grand championship. His first three world grand championships came with owner Robert Deutsch up who had also previously won earlier this week in the amateur gentlemen class. Baucom also made a victory earlier in the week in his qualifying class. 

Earning all five first place votes, Jason Myatt rode to victory in the amateur two-year-old world grand championship for the second year in a row. This year he topped an 11-entry field following the section A win in the amateur stallion qualifier aboard I Am Mighty José. Last year he won the title with Knock Down Drag Out. Kayla Baucom put forth the steady effort to secure reserve on board Dobie Gray. 

The show closed out shortly after 11 p.m. with six contenders in the Big Oval vying for the four-year-old title. The flashy going entry of A Pink Floyd made his way through the mud to victory with the crowd’s approval for local owner Kathy Zeis. Bill Callaway was on board for the win. Reserve in the four-year-old stake was The Mason Dixie Line and Tim Smith, riding for Wayne and Gail Putman.