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Allison Thorson Collects Three Blues On Saturday Morning



by Mark Davis


            It’s Saturday Morning at The Celebration!  A busy day it will certainly be with Celebration Youth Day activities taking place around the grounds, the Bar-B-Que cook-off across the street, people in the barns getting ready for Stable Decorating judging on Sunday and, of course, a great horse show taking place in Calsonic Arena.

            Thirteen classes of competition were on the morning’s schedule highlighting the Country Pleasure, Trail Pleasure, Plantation Pleasure, Yearling Halter and Equitation divisions.

            The judges for the 72nd Annual Celebration include Spencer Benedict of Glasgow, Ky., Jennifer Bingham of Shelbyville, Tenn., Mike Carpenter of Franklin, Tenn., Nathan Clark of Arab, Ala., and Tommy Loid of Bowling Green, Ky.

            Promptly at 9 a.m., the morning performance got underway with class 63E, Auxiliary Equitation, Medal Class, Youth Division, Riders 6-11 Years.  All three of the young riders expected made the call to show off the art of riding as Spencer Benedict served as Call Judge for the class.  Once the rail work was complete, the exhibitors were asked to line up for judging and then, as is standard in Equitation competition, the teams were asked to return to the rail for individual pattern work.  Once the work was complete, it was Kaitlyn Rippy of Greenbrier, Tenn., impressing all five judges to ride away with the divisional win for the fourth consecutive year.  This win was preceded by 2010 wins at the National Trainers’ Show, the Money Tree Classic and the FAST Showcase.  Claire Hankins of Paris, Ky., was reserve, while Allison Lane Holt of Shelbyville, Tenn., was third.

            Class 64 brought the Western Youth Country Pleasure, Riders 6-17 up to Calsonic Arena with 24 of 25 on the official Lions Club program taking the rail to work as Judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits in the large class.  Announcer Mark Farrar, Jr., noted that the 24 young riders in the class represented nine different states from California to Texas to Ohio to Florida.  Riding to the top of the large, competitive class was Hallelujah In The Sky and owner/exhibitor Logan Hankins of Paris, Ky.  Allie Brown and Dancing Under The Stars pulled into the second spot for Emily McElreath & Allie Brown of Jackson, Mo.  A Red Ruby and Mackenzie Morgan were third for Mackenzie Morgan & Liz Gassaway of Bell Buckle & Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Owner-Amateur Yearlings, of 2009 foal, class 65, featured 19 of the 23 with reservations leading their way up from the warm up ring to show off their good looks and walking moves for Judge Mike Carpenter and his panel.  Walking to the winner’s circle was Miss USA Title and Roger Richards, Jr., at the lead for Bobby Jones & Roger Richards of Manchester & Hendersonville, Tenn.  A Love Story and Amanda Winters were reserve in the class for Wright & Winters of Mt. Juliet & Lebanon, Tenn. Good Luck Chuck and owner/exhibitor Amanda Nelms of Chapel Hill, Tenn., collected the yellow streamers.

            The young riders were back on the track for class 66, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years, Western Trail Pleasure with 13 of the 15 on the books beating the clock to work as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits in the class. Taking the blue back to Huron, Ohio, it was the team of Suiza and Allison Thorson impressing all five judges to make the memorable victory pass in the class.  This duo’s had a great year leading up to this win garnering top honors at the Dallas, Texas Big D Horse Show, the Eagleville, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show, the FAST Showcase and the Indiana Celebration.  A Usual Suspect and Racheal Allen stopped in for the red ribbon for Cheryl Morgan & the Allen Family of Shedd & Aloha, Ore.  Gigi’s Halberd and owner/exhibitor Logan Hankins of Paris, Ky., were third.

            Staying in the Trail Pleasure division, class 67 featured the Amateur Owned & Trained English Trail Pleasure, No Professional Training within 90 Days.  Fourteen of the seventeen expected were on hand to work for that coveted Celebration blue as Judge Tommy Loid led the judging panel in the class.  Taking the top honors back to the Bluegrass State with the approval of all five judges was Santa Emelia and owner/exhibitor Jared Carrier of Franklin, Ky.  This duo also topped the Amateur Owned & Trained Western Trail Pleasure on Wednesday Morning.  Jose’s Sweet & Spicy and Lisa Weaver were reserve for Fred and Lisa Weaver of Doyline, La.  Cougar King and Connie Waldo were third for Jeanette Kuszlyk and Connie Waldo of Naples, Fla. and Shelbyville, Tenn.

            The Equitation riders were back in the ring for class 68E, Auxiliary Equitation, Medal Class, Youth Division, Riders 12-14 (Canter).  All four of the expected teams came to the track to complete their rail work, inspection and individual pattern work.  Judge Spencer Benedict served as Call Judge for the class.  Repeating on their 2009 win, Allison Thorson of Huron, Ohio was back in the winner’s circle again in 2010 with a great ride.  Thorson had a great 2010 in the Equitation division picking up more than 35 blue ribbons from 23 shows in seven states.  Impressive indeed!  Meme Anderson of Bishopville, S.C. was reserve, while Alexis King of Cornersville, Tenn., was third.

            Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years, English Trail Pleasure, class 69, was up next on the schedule with five of the seven on the books taking the rail to work for their chance at a Celebration blue.  Judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits in the class.  Capturing her second blue of the day, Kaitlyn Rippy was back in the winner’s circle, this time with She’s Pretty Jazzy, riding for Paige Bennett and Kaitlyn Rippy of Alvaton, Ky. and Greenbrier, Tenn.  Gigi’s Majestic and Claire Hankins pulled in for second for Leo Martin & Logan Hankins of Eldon, Mo. & Paris, Ky.  Legend Of Stan The Man and Colin Boyd were third for 4-J & Gary Hill of Waynesville, Mo.

            The Equitation riders were back for their final class of the morning, class 70E, Auxiliary Equitation, Medal Class, Senior Division, Riders 15-17, with three entries coming to show off their talents for Judge Mike Carpenter and his cohorts.  When all the work was complete, it was Paige Bennett of Alvaton, Ky., riding to the winner’s circle.  Maggie-Mae White of South Lyon, Mi., was reserve, while Katherine Crick of Lewisburg, Tenn., was third.

            Staying in the youth division, class 71 brought the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years, English Trail Pleasure to the ring.  Judge Nathan Clark served as Call Judge for the class. A familiar face was back in center ring with Suiza and owner/exhibitor Allison Thorson of Huron, Ohio, picking up their second blue of the morning with the approval of all five judges.  A Wicked Bond and Racheal Allen were reserve in the event for Cheryl Morgan & Allen Family of Shedd & Aloha, Ore.  A Usual Suspect and Krysta Allen were third for Greg Allen of Pleasonton, Calif.

            The Halter division was up next on the program with Class 72 bringing the Yearling Fillies or Geldings, of 2009 foal, up to Calsonic Arena with 17 of the 23 on the entry sheets coming to show off their best walking moves and conformation for Judge Tommy Loid and the panel. Walking to their second title of the morning was Miss USA Title and Roger Richards, Jr., handling for Bobby Jones & Roger Richards of Manchester & Hendersonville, Tenn.  She’s Sweet Jazz and Beverly Lamp led into the second position for Bobby Jones of Manchester, Tenn.  A Love Story and Amanda Winters garnered the yellow streamers for Wright & Winters of Mt. Juliet & Lebanon, Tenn.

            English Youth Country Pleasure, Riders 6-17, class 73, featured all 20 of the expected entries working hard for that Celebration blue today.  Judge Spencer Benedict served as Call Judge for the large class.  Making a clean sweep of the Youth Country Pleasure division was Hallelujah In The Sky, this time with Claire Hankins doing the honors for brother, Logan Hankins of Paris, Ky.  Dancing Under The Stars and Allie Brown were reserve for Emily McElreath and Allie Brown of Jackson, Mo.  Mr. Paparazzi and Mackenzie Morgan were third for Stephanie Gordon, Marty Irby & Mackenzie Morgan of Murfreesboro, Clarksville & Bell Buckle, Tenn.

            Class 74 brought the Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Four Years and Under to the ring with four of the five expected making the gate call to work for Judge Jennifer Bingham and her staff.  Topping the class with a unanimous decision of the panel was Gen’s Double Action and Grandy Tuck riding for Rufus Dale of Canton, N.C.  Miss Teddy Bear and Betty Laughlin were reserve for 4-J Land and Cattle Company of Waynesville, Mo.  Caroline’s City Limits and owner/exhibitor Jody Brannon of Chapel Hill, Tenn., picked up the golden ribbons.

            The final class of the morning, class 75, brought the Yearling Colts, of 2009 foal, to the track with 15 of the 22 on the official Lions Club program working to the track to show for world championship acclaim as Judge Mike Carpenter led the panel.  Walking away with the win was General Sport and Chris Richards leading for Bill Harlin of College Grove, Tenn.  Good Luck Chuck and Robert Nelms were reserve for Amanda Nelms of Chapel Hill, Tenn.  100 Yard Dash and Sylvester Skierkowski were third for Bobby Joe Jones of Manchester, Tenn.

            As General Sport and Chris Richards made their victory pass, the Saturday morning session of the 72nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was complete at 12:57 p.m.  The final morning session will be Monday morning at 9 a.m.  After that time, the Calsonic Arena floor begins its transition from horse show ring to shopping center in preparation for the Celebration Trade Fair to swing into full gear on Wednesday.

            Also, make plans to be in Shelbyville on Sunday afternoon for the Celebration Dog Show in Calsonic Arena and the Stable Judging will be taking place in the barn area.  As always, there’s always something going on during The Celebration, so make plans now to attend.

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