by Sarah Smith

 SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Excitement filled the show grounds as the 78th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration continued in the big oval for the first time after having performances the last two mornings inside Calsonic Arena. Ranger T. Walker proudly carried our Nation’s Flag. James Wells from Springhill, Tenn., did a beautiful job singing the National Anthem and students from local elementary schools were in center ring to experience firsthand the opening ceremonies of the Celebration.

Chris Bobo, Nathan Clark, Ray Gilmer, Sam Sorrell and Leigh Bennett assumed their positions in center ring to mark the cards for the evening as announcer Mark Farrar welcomed everyone to the Celebration. Larry Bright took his place at the organ to entertain the crowd. Shane Shiflet, official photographer, didn’t miss a smile all night.

The Youth division was a great way to kick things off. All six entries answered the gate call for the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Walking Mares. No strangers to the winner’s circle, Oh My Darlin’ and Counti Green earned the approval of the judges to claim the world championship for Bill and Karen Bean and Counti Green. The duo topped the competition at the Mississippi Charity and Cornersville Lions Club Horse Shows before heading into the big oval. Silverado Spirit, a classic horse, and Harper Grider earned the reserve title for Courtney Grider. Silverado Spirit carried Harper to the winner’s circle in the class in 2015. Taking the yellow streamer back to Virginia was Annie’s Lined With Cash and KJ Compton. This team won at the Marshall County Horseman’s Association in July.

The Elite Owner-Amateur Gentleman Riders on Walking Stallions were next to take the track. Four top entries answered the call to work for the judges. Making the victory pass was I’m Dialed In and Charles Stivers for Christopher Stivers. I’m Dialed In also carried Robert Stivers to the winner’s circle at the Money Tree Classic over the 4
th of July weekend. Carrying the red streamer back to West Tennessee was He’s Shady In Black and Richard Donner. The team was crowned Novice World Champions at last year’s Celebration. Fire Eye and owner Cliff Rivers earned the third place tie.

Thirteen Three-Year-Old Walking Geldings, a Riders’ Cup class made their way down the chute to work for world championship honors. Charlie Green rode Line Up Jose to the ultimate title for Bill Webb. Line Up Jose’ had two wins earlier in the season. Second went to Tornado Alley and Tyler Baucom for Kerry DeArmond. Third place honors in the large class went to Hy Stakes At The Ritz and Herbert Derickson for Terry and Sabrina Matthews.

Riding from the line up with a unanimous decision from the judges in the A Division of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions was A Classic Action and David Sisk for Salk Lick Farm & Sisk. A Classic Action is sired by Cash In Action. Reserve honors went to the new team of General Lineup and Jimmy Lackey for Lackey Properties. Rounding out the top three was Woodford and Mary Morrison. Woodford and Morrison made their season 

The B Division of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions brought Knock Down Drag Out and Jason Myatt to victory lane. With this win, Myatt retired both the Mary and John C. Miller Memorial and the Marie Jeffcoat Memorial Challenge Trophies. Knock Down Drag Out has earned season blues at the Gulf Coast Trainers’ Show, Columbia Spring Jubilee and Money Tree Classic. Lorie Riddley rode Jose The Champ to the reserve world title for Alan Riddley. Herbert Derickson and Lorie have shared the reins of Jose The Champ throughout the year. Chris Kyle and Beth Collins are carrying the yellow ribbon back to Virginia. This team had two wins in two outings under their belt prior to this performance.

The Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 15-17 Years on Walking Mares or Geldings is always a crowd favorite. Not disappointing a bit was Zeta and Lily Catherine Holland riding to their third consecutive world championship. Oh My Stars and Landon Callicutt picked up the second award after celebrating four wins earlier in the season. Jada Cassidy and I’m Soul Sister eared the third tie for Lloyd David Cassidy.

The ring was full of talented competition when the Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Performance Walking Mares or Geldings took the track. Following their win at the Christmas In July Show, Jacob Baum and Tiger Blood added a world championship to their resume for Lisa Baum. Multi-titled Dirty Sexy Money and Jannie Chapman received second place honors while Matt Penna was all smiles as he accepted his yellow ribbon aboard Bustin Jose.

Reigning Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under World Grand Champions Pro V1 and Abby Fox made another trip down victory lane to claim the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions 15.2 & Under World Championship. Pro V1 carried Fox to wins at the Woodbury Lions Club and Marshall County Horseman’s Association shows prior to this win. Another multi-titled team of Lined Walkin’ and Lilly Waites garnered the reserve title for the Andrew Waites Family. Command On Parole and Sheryl Crawford, yet another decorated duo are carrying the yellow streamer back to Carrollton, Ga.

Bacardi And Me carried Nanette McInnes right out of the Novice division and into the Celebration winner’s circle in the class for Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings. This win marked the ninth show ring appearance for Bacardi And Me this season. Walkin’ Dollar and Sherry Bonner earned the reserve honors for Joe Bertram. The Derby Classic and Smith County Horse Shows saw Walkin’ Dollar in their winner’s circle this season. I’m A Mastermind and Amanda Wright closed out the top three in the large class of 17.

The Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions Division A saw Lorraine Rosbury ride A King Thing to the top award for Keith and Lorraine Rosbury and Maple Crest Farm. This team remains undefeated since the Rosbury’s purchased the talent earlier this year. Mr. Trump and Taylor Walters rode to the second award for Kelsey Andrews. Mr. Trump and Walters won at the Gulf Coast Trainers’ Show, Spring Fun Show, Money Tree Classic and Red Carpet Show of the South. Three-Year-Old Amateur World Grand Champions, The Land Shark and Benjamin Bowen nabbed the third award for Larry Russell.

Jim Tom and Kenny Compton carried the blue ribbon out of the Celebration oval in the B division of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions. This was only the second outing for Jim Tom who is sired by Jose’ Jose’ and out of Tarheel’s Miss Dumas. Marshall County Horseman’s Association Four-Year-Old Amateur Champions, Really Coach? and Kelly Sherman rode to win the title of Reserve World Champion. Third in the class went to Tennessee State Line and Lisa Baum.

Repeating their 2013 and 2014 world championships and adding the 2016 Walking Geldings, 15.2 & Under, Riders’ Cup World Championship to their lengthy list of accomplishments was An American Threat and Bill Callaway for Ridegmont Farms, Barbara Corbett and Lynn Hickock. Reserve went to the popular team of A Superbowl MVP and Sam Perkins for Andrew Morrison. Blaise Broccard directed the show ring regular, Gangster’s Hitman to the third tie for Claudia Gribble.

The Thursday night finale of Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses brought 10 entries to the ring in hopes of earning the judges’ approval. A very happy Stephanie Elliott directed her beloved I’m Moonlighting to the winner’s circle for she and her father, Danny Gattis. The team remains undefeated this season with wins at the Spring Fun Show, Christmas In July and Red Carpet Show of the South. Multi-titled Godfather By Ultra Copy and Courtney Luttrell earned the reserve title for Alex Luttrell. He’s Starbucks and Suzanne Moore closed out the top three in the talent packed class.

Don’t miss any action and join the fun at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning inside Calsonic Arena.