By Mark Davis


            It’s Monday morning in Shelbyville and that means it’s time for the final morning performance of the 68th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  Twelve classes make up the morning’s schedule capped off by the Equitation Medals Finals.

            Promptly at 9 am, morning announcer Kathy Herrin called class 89, Western Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod to the ring.  Thirteen of the 25 expected made their way into the dry confines of Calsonic Arena, which will be appreciated with significant rain in the area, to work for Call Judge Jamie Bradshaw and the panel.  Riding to the top of the division with a unanimous decision of the panel was the big moving grey Marquita By Design and trainer Craig Swagerty riding for Karrie Paul of Edwall, Wa.  Mr. Irresistible and Trish Wooten were in the reserve position for Rowena Matteson of Clovis, Calif.  Heading back across the pond with the yellow silks were Ol’ Red and Russell Keyser riding for Bader & Keyser of Wemding, Germany.

Amy Nesius

            The professional trainers remained on center stage in class 90, Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Four-Years-Old with 11 of the 16 with reservations taking the track to work as Judge Wink Groover called the gaits.  Marching down victory lane and taking the win back to East Tennessee with the second unanimous decision of the morning was Marching Orders and Buffy Ailshie up for Ron Jones of Greeneville, Tenn.   This win was preceded with 2006 victories at Asheville, N.C.’s Chunn’s Cove Horse Show, Newport, Tenn.’s United Racking Spring Show, Surgoinsville, Tenn., and White Pine, Tenn.   Tex R Us and Jimmy Norris collected the red streamers for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif., and Shelbyville, Tenn.  Kody’s High Roller and Howard Hamilton were third for Randall and Gloria Dixon/Red Eagle Farms of Dacula, Ga.

            Staying in the open division, Nineteen of the 24 programmed entries made their way up the chute from the warm up ring to work in class 91, Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Three and Four-Years-Old Lite Shod.  Judge Tommy Loid served as call judge in this event.  2006 International Champions Major Orders and Dickie Scrivner heard the orders to ride to the winner’s circle loud and clear after making an outstanding performance for Ron Fullerton of Inverness, Fla.  This win marked Scrivner’s first professional World Championship win.  Rev’s Super Speed and Patrick Thomas were in the second position for Duane and Connie Ripple of Keosauqua, Iowa.  Trish Wooten and Pure White Irish were third for Stan & Fran Jones and Christy Coon-Lantis of Bell Canyon & Hesperia, Calif.

Miss Annika and Holly Puckett

            The Equitation division was up next on the schedule as five of the six signed up for class 92E, Equitation, Riders 18 and Over (Canter).  Judge Huck Moss led the panel in this display of the art of riding.  Riding their way to the win in the division was Alice Eve Klein of Lewisburg, Tenn.  Erica Derickson of Wartrace, Tenn., were reserve with Susan Shemwell of Franklin, Tenn., accepting third.

            The Novice division was up next with class 93 featuring the Owner-Amateur Novice Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Novice Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings.  Judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits for the seven of 13 expected who came to work.  Riding out of the Novice division and taking the honors back to the Sunshine State of Florida, Rebeccah Reynolds and Regal’s Delight Lady, champions at Jackson, Tenn.’s Mid South Horse Show and Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s International Grand Championships, captured the honors for Jill & Rebeccah Reynolds of West Palm Beach, Fla.  Headed back to the land of Carolina blue, Pusher’s Hot Cargo and Morgan Collins were in the second position for Jimmy Collins of Burlington, N.C.  Collector’s Coin Operated and Maddie Jones were presented with the yellow streamers for Maddie Jones and Brandon Urad of Kaufman, Texas.

            The Novice riders were back for class 94, Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod.  Twenty-seven of the 35 programmed entries worked for that chance to make that cherished victory ride as Judge Jamie Bradshaw served as Call Judge.  Taking the blue all the way back to their Eastern North Carolina home, Little Dumas and C.B. Daughtridge made that winning pass, just as they had this year at Clemson, S.C.’s South Carolina Ladies Auxiliary Show, the Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show, Dallas, N.C.’s Gaston County Horse Show, the Virginia Celebration and Asheville, N.C.’s Land-O-The-Sky Summer Festival, for Linda and C.B. Daughtridge of Rocky Mount, N.C.

            The babies of the breed were on the track next for class 95, Weanling Colts, of 2006 foal, with 21 of the 33 on the books making the call to work for Judge Wink Groover and the panel.  Topping the division after a successful season, including wins at Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s Exchange Club Horse Show, Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Tony Rice Horse Show, Cornersville, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show and the Wartrace, Tenn. Horse Show, were Gen’s NRA and Robert Nelms showing for proud owners Carol Hargett and Bob Neal of Shelbyville, Tenn.  International Grand Champion Stars Go Blue and Karen McGee led to the reserve title for The James Pigg Family of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Headed back to Alabama, Ebony’s A Red Man and Hunter Fikes were third for Len and Tammy Wilson of Hamilton, Ala.

 Alice Eve Klein

            Back in the Novice division, class 96A found 22 of the 38 expected working the track in the Owner-Amateur Novice English Trail Pleasure, Novice Riders. Judge Tommy Loid called the gaits in the class.  This event turned out to be a mother/son event as mom Janet Howell rode to the winner’s circle on All My Money’s On You for Montverde Academy of Montverde, Fla.  Her son, Jordan Howell rode Lion King to the reserve title for Irby, Williams & Howell of Murfreesboro, Tenn.  The Classic Horse, Governor Stride and Kim Baldwin, was third for 3 Sister’s Syndicate of Webb, Ala.

            Twenty-four of the 37 programmed were on the rail for class 96B, Owner-Amateur Novice English Trail Pleasure, Novice Riders.  Judge Huck Moss led the panel and worked the class.  Taking the win back to the Show Me State, Abe Lincoln and Terri Laughlin scored the win for  4-J Land and Cattle Co. of Waynesville, Mo.  Picking up another reserve with a tough performance were Highway Patrol and Becca Pennington riding for Dennis and Becca Pennington of Bluffdale, Utah.  Showshine and Barbara Harlin accepted the yellow silks for Bill and Barbara Harlin of Nashville, Tenn.

            Owner-Amateur Riders on Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod (Canter) were up next with seven of the 15 on the books working for Judge Ronnie Spears and his cohorts.  Pounding the competition flat once again was the team of B.J. Richards and Drop The Hammer, champions at Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s International Grand Championships and World Champions in the Western division earlier this week, topping the division for Stacey Richards of Franklin, Tenn.  C’mon Turn Me Loose and Joe Dixon collected the red streamers for Randall and Gloria Dixon/Red Eagle Farms of Dacula, Ga.  Jimmy Laughlin and JFK’s Royal Dreamer were third for 4-J Land and Cattle Company of Waynesville, Mo.

            Nearing the end of the Monday Morning session, the Auxiliary Equitation, Youth Medal Championship (Canter) was next on the schedule with 10 entries returning to work for divisional World Grand Championship acclaim.  Judge Jamie Bradshaw led the panel in this section.  Making an outstanding ride to garner the approval of all five judges was Amy Nesius of Shelbyville, Tenn.  This duo claimed top honors in the 12-14 preliminary on Sunday afternoon and will return to the big oval tonight to make her championship ride with the roses for the Monday night crowd.  Reserve championship honors went to Paige Bennett of Bowling Green, Ky., Alex Bumpus of Murfreesboro, Tenn., captured third.

NRA and Robert Nelms
            The final class of the morning featured the babies, Weanling Fillies, with 18 of the 27 scheduled working the track as Judge Wink Groover served as Call Judge for the division.  Topping the division was the duo of Miss Annika and Holly Puckett at the strap for The Larry Messimer Family of Concord, N.C.  Dancing to the red streamer was The Chorus Line and Robert Nelms presenting for James and Betty Corlew of Adams, Tenn.  Silver Dollar’s Crystal and Chris Richards at the lead for Mr. & Mrs. Charles E. Brantley of Wartrace, Tenn.

            With that final class complete, the morning sessions of the 68th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was in the record books.  As soon as the staff was out of center ring, the Celebration grounds crew will get to work tearing things down and setting up for the Trade Fair merchants which will be on the arena floor.  It won’t even look like the same place tomorrow, so make sure you come back and check it out!