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Numbers Don't Lie




 By Sadie Fowler

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration closed out with awesome news and if numbers don’t lie, announcer Mark Farrar reminded the 12,000 people in attendance of why everyone should be proud of this year’s 79th edition of the show. Even though there were 16 fewer classes in this year’s event as a whole, 1,774 entries showed, more entries in the past five years with 111,117 fans showing up and 12,000 packing the stands for the final night.

“That’s a lot to be thankful for and there’s a lot to be proud of this past year,” he said.

The final class of the evening, the show’s long-awaited finale featured some industry tried and true professionals mixed in with some younger riders; all had their own support and their own paths that led them to this moment. Blaise Broccard had her fan base revved up and was also carrying the momentum she’d built from last night’s history-making three-year-old world grand championship ride. Tonight, though, she was up against the refined yet power-house contenders Gen’s Black Maverick and Bill Callaway. The class featured nine of the industry’s best and closed out with a seven-horse workout.

Callaway and Maverick were unstoppable for owners Keith and Lorraine Rosbury of Bell Buckle. Hometown heroes, some would say, Maverick went home to Callaway’s team in Shelbyville, where Bill Callaway, also a Shelbyville native, will proudly hang his very first Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship ribbon. They had hand-picked shows sparingly this year but won both times out, at the Spring Fun Show as well as the Money Tree Classic.

Broccard earned a huge “well-done” applause for challenging the winners aboard Incredible Machine who’d shown at five shows leading up to the grand finale. They’d also been reserve to Callaway and Maverick in the first Saturday’s A section.

Starting out the evening, a seasoned veteran topped the opening class Saturday night with the stands well-filled in the boxes as well as general admission. The excitement of the paramount evening was at its climax as locals and horse enthusiasts comfortably mixed to welcome Allison Thorson and her western entry José’s Grand Muchacha to the winner’s circle Saturday night. They won once earlier in the show and also had nothing less than a top two finish.'Tamara Hader smiled largely as she accepted the reserve world grand championship on board Checkpoint Charlie after two previous wins this show.

Clay Sanderson had full confidence on board Entitlement for the Show Pleasure World Grand Championship for Jordan Howell. Brubaker has held a strong second-place position all year long and concluded that way Saturday night as the reserve champions with Link Webb for Tim and Laura Cochran.

Ten of the 12 had world championship titles and four of those were world grand championship titles when the lineup came in the competitive amateur mares and geldings finale. This was one of the evening’s highlights with the tricolor going back to the Golden State with Sherri Pollack making the power ride aboard Powerstroke’s Evening Star, coming back from a third place finish last year in this class. Sudie Reed capably guided Miss Ebony Rose for the reserve world grand championship.

Several presentations were made again, spread throughout the evening. Jimmy McConnell was presented his fourth Trainer of the Year award. World grand champion mule Festus proudly exhibited for owner and dual lover of the walking horse, Kimberly Walden. They youth also took center stage for the annual Stars of the Future presentation which features youth winners from the week.

The amateur park performance world grand championship featured 11 entries but none topped A Touché and Jannie Chapman’s performance. The reserve world grand championship went to Lisa Baum and Tiger Blood who had previously topped this year’s world championship qualifier last Sunday.

 Numbers were climbing and 14 made their way into the Big Oval for the Amateur Three-Year Old World Grand Championship. Not a dark horse at all, The Darkest Hour and Madison Holloway Scarborough had three previous season blues this year and also a reserve in their qualifier earlier in the show to win the good class. Knock Down Drag Out and Jason Myatt made the news for the second night in a row as the reserve world grand champions.

 Four years in a row — that’s four consecutive wins! An unusual and prestigious accomplishment and Saturday night that came in the youth trail pleasure class with Lily Catherine Holland and Honey Badger, who’ve never lost since they became a team. Counti Green can be proud of her Celebration this year, including her reserve world grand championship on board I’m King Bee.

Once again nothing minor, Minor Ordeal and Tyler Baucom bested the crop of seven in the Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship with previous wins this year at the Trainers’ Show, North Carolina Auxiliary, Spring Fun Show as well as their qualifier at this year’s Celebration. No Mas Tequila was on the money for the second-place title with John Allan Callaway expertly directing.

Another evening with clear patterns emerging, Roscoe Jenkins won the amateur lite-shod world grand championship with Susan Coleman capably directing the champion to the win for the third year in a row. La Patrona had three reasons to celebrate at this year’s Celebration — two of those in the open division of lite-shod with trainer Joe Lester directing — before having to settle for an appreciative reserve finish with owner Dale Steinmetz.

The Baum family easily nestled into earning the most wins for one family this week and it was Dr. Jim Baum to earn the last one of the show with Lisa Baum cheering as happily as if it were her own win. Jim topped the four-year-old world grand championship with a rock star performance aboard Maroon 5 with Hey Tomcat and Carol Lackey earning the crowd’s easy approval for the reserve world grand championship.

The second to last class of the evening featured a unanimous tie with another crowd favorite performing rock star style. Led Zeppelin and Abby Fox, moving up a notch from last year’s reserve finish, have been fan favorites for a long time and they didn’t disappoint Saturday night. The Iron Door and Carol Missildine finished as the reserve world grand champions.

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