By Sadie Fowler

“Yo … It don’t get much better” were words echoed by many friends and fans familiar with Dee Broom Yoder’s unbelievable Celebration. Really, there’s no other way to describe what she experienced at the 81st annual version of the event that will forever be remembered as the best one yet for Yoder. 

Yoder kicked off the Celebration on the first Wednesday morning session on such a high note that it alone would have given her all she needed to call 2019 the Celebration of a lifetime. But as the week progressed heads began shaking in delightful disbelief as the sweet and talented lady began to really rack up some major titles. 

To summarize her monumental Celebration, Yoder, who is better known for showing padded horses, took a different route at the start of this year’s show and competed for her very first time at the Celebration in the pleasure division. Not only did she compete, but she won and she described that win as being a one-of-a-kind dream; something she could check off her bucket list.

“I’m on cloud nine,” said Yoder, following that first victory on Wednesday morning, Aug. 21. “Showing in the Pleasure division is something I have always wanted to try but haven’t, so I said ‘This is the year.’ I searched eight months for the right horse and when I threw my leg over him I knew he was the right one, so this was so, so sweet and special. 

Also noteworthy, the pleasure horse she’s referring to, He’s High Maintenance, had carried Yoder to several blues this season leading up to their Celebration debut, under the expert guidance of Bailey Momb and Joe Lester. 

Back to the summary of Yoder’s show, the pleasure win started it all but she continued to have a week that was nothing short of amazing as she also earned her very first set of world grand championship roses in both the pleasure and performance divisions — both on Thursday evening, Aug. 29. Better yet, her father, who wasn’t exactly excited to go to the show that night, was there to see it all unfold. 

Taking a closer look at Yoder’s starring role in the show, she had several horses helping her standout all week long. First, of course was He’s High Maintenance; they won the Country Pleasure Five and Under World Championship on the first morning session — the bucket list win. Fast forward a week and a day, Yoder won both world grand championships she competed in on Thursday evening. 

Yoder started off the night repeating her winning ways with He’s High Maintenance in the Amateur Country Pleasure Five and Under World Grand Championship. Later that evening, the crowd exploded with excitement as she and power-house pony Big Blue Nation came back from a reserve qualifier finish to wear the roses in the Amateur Ponies World Grand Championship, representing Tim Smith’s talented team. It was an unforgettable way to start wrapping up a most amazing Celebration. 

She closed out her top finishes with a reserve world grand championship on Friday night on board Nip Of Gin in the Amateur Five-Year-Old class after winning their preliminary class on the first Saturday night. Other appearances for Yoder at the 2019 Celebration included one with A Home Run By Ted, and another in the Lead Line class, one of her favorites as well, guiding granddaughter Alexis Cofer to the reserve finish. 

After soaking it all in, there was no better closing to this fairytale than Yoder’s graceful acknowledgement of how much it all meant to her and how special 2019’s Celebration would forever remain in her heart and soul. 

“We are so very blessed and so very grateful,” she said.