By Mark McGee

SHELBYVILLE – Tenn. – A threat of rain to start the show, followed by a steady downpour with increased intensity as the evening progressed, couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd on the final night of the 84th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. The schedule was set for 14 world grand champions to be crowned. With Hall of Fame rider Ronnie Spears and White Diamond Dollar presenting the flag, The Cavaliers from Shelbyville, Tennessee, sang a beautiful and harmonious a cappella rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Peter Allen from Fairhaven Baptist Church offered the invocation.

Entering “The Big Oval” to open the final Saturday night was the Owner-Amateur Riders on Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, Three Years & Under, Optional Tack class. The Maiden and owner-rider Dale Steinmetz from Louisville, Kentucky, made the world grand championship ride. It was the second world grand championship for The Maiden, sired by Jose’ Jose’ and out of Black Ginger Ale, but the first for Steinmetz. Laurie Toone rode The Maiden to the world grand championship in the Trail Pleasure Three Years & Under class in 2021. Steinmetz and The Maiden have four blues in a row in five classes in 2022 including the Owner-Amateur Three-Year-Old Trail Pleasure class Thursday morning. The Tiger Lily and Jordan Howell were reserve for owners South Ridge Farms and The Jordan Howell Family. Just A Steel Magnolia with co-owner Bob Lawrence in the saddle tied third for co-owner Carroll Hutto. Four of six programmed entries entered the ring for the class. Jamie Bradshaw was the call judge. 

Howard Hamilton lost his hat on the way to the winner’s circle, but he captured the world grand championship in the Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Optional Tack class aboard A Titleist Masterpiece for Champion Farms of Longview, Texas. It was the final time Hamilton and A Titleist Masterpiece will compete. Sired by The Titleist and out of Tinkerbell Dollar, it was the second blue in six classes for A Titleist Masterpiece this show season. A Titleist Masterpiece also won the world grand championship in the class in 2021 with Patrick Thomas in the irons. Reserve went to He’s A Dixieland Delight with Jeff Laughlin aboard for Vickie Penick. My Maserati Alfieri carried out a yellow ribbon with Chris Zahnd in the saddle for Karen Bean. All five entries answered the gate call by ring announcer Mark Farrar. Paul Robbins called the class. 

It was a different age class, but the same result. Sabotage and co-owner and rider Andy Stooksberry from Shelbyville, Tennessee, were the unanimous pick of the five-judge panel for the world grand championship in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four & Five-Year-Old Country Pleasure Walking Horses, Optional Tack class. Sabotage and Stooksberry won the world grand championship in the Owner-Amateur Riders Three-Year-Old Country Pleasure class in 2021. Sabotage, sired by Jose’ Jose’ and out of Stepping Out Of Line, is co-owned by The Duvall Family from Atwater, Ohio. Sabotage is undefeated in four classes this year including the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Country Pleasure class Monday morning. Twenty Four Carrots ML and co-owner Maggie Moore rode to second for co-owner Jim Leek. BP’s Captain Jack Sparrow and owner-rider Sarah Beth Thomas tied third. Amy Trimble called the gaits for seven of 11 programmed entries in the ring.

It was the fourth world grand championship ride in a row for Extra Special Jose and co-owner Emma Wright from Reagan, Tennessee, this time moving up to the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years on Walking Mares or Geldings. Co-owned by Sammy and Gayle Cagle from Lexington, Tennessee, Extra Special Jose was sired by Jose’ Jose’ and is out of Extra Raven. It was the third blue in four classes in 2022 for Extra Special Jose and Wright. Nevermore and co-owner-rider Julia Callaway received reserve honors for co-owners Rolling Hills Farm and Dr. Barbara Moersch. Third was Jose’s Vindicator and owner-rider Carolyn Wesley Way. John Puckett was the call judge with 15 of 17 programmed entries riding for top honors. 

The Honor Code won his first ever world grand championship with John Allan Callaway making the spotlight ride in the Show Pleasure Walking Horses class for owner Alan Riddley from Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The unanimous decision of the judges, The Honor Code is unbeaten in five classes this year including the Show Pleasure Horses Five Years & Under class the second Wednesday night of the Celebration. It was the fourth time John Allan Callaway has ridden a horse to the world grand championship in the class. Stretch Your Dollar with Link Webb in the saddle claimed reserve for owners Don and Lucky Collins. Georgia Florida Line tied third with Knox Blackburn aboard for Robert Deutsch. All five scheduled entries competed with Amy Trimble calling the class.

She’s Limitless and Molly Walters made the spotlight ride as world grand champions in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings class for owner Kelsey Andrews from Rancho Mirage, California. Sired by The Sky Command and out of Ms. Emma Brooks, it was the sixth win in seven classes for She’s Limitless this year including the Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares class the first Friday night of The Celebration. Gotcha Jose’ and co-owner Dr. Brittany Baum were second for co-owner Jacob Baum. Uptight Jose’ and co-owner Bruce MacDonald rode to third for co-owner Robin MacDonald. Seventeen of 18 programmed entries answered the gate call, the largest class of the night. Amy Trimble was the call judge. 

Rain started falling during the Park Performance Walking Horses World Grand Championship class. Six of seven expected entries entered the ring. Praise And Honor with Jeff Laughlin aboard for Doris Penick from Walterboro, South Carolina, was honored with the world grand championship. Sired by Honors and out of Jose’s Baby Doll, it was the fourth win in six classes in 2022 for Praise And Honor. Hello Handsome and Ryan Gannon rode to a reserve tie for Rushing Creek Walkers. I’m A Proud American walked to third with Michael Wright in the saddle for owner Bill Williams. John Puckett called the class.

Rachel Teague and Line Item Veto rode to the world grand championship in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Country Pleasure Walking Horses, Optional Tack class. Owned by The Bo Teague Family from Bell Buckle, Tennessee, Line Item Veto was sired by Lined With Cash and out of Gen’s Liza Jane. Rachel and Line Item Veto have three win in five classes in 2022. They won the Owner-Amateur Western Country Pleasure class Monday night at The Celebration. GiGi’s Majestic, a classic horse, was the reserve tie for owner-rider Elysse Bradford. Hey Charlene and Amanda Manis were awarded a yellow ribbon for owners Holt and Manis. It was perfect attendance with all 10 programmed entries in the class for call judge Paul Robbins.

Despite the rain the crowd came to life as 11 of 16 planned entries competed for the Two-Year-Old Walking Horses World Grand Championship. Making the spotlight ride were Look Who I Am and Casey Wright for Bill and Debbie Woods from Lexington, Tennessee. It was the third time Wright has ridden the world grand champion in the class for Bill and Debbie Woods. They won the title in 2011 with I Am Jose’ and 2018 with Jose’ Revival. With this win, the Woods retired the Ben Howell Challenge Trophy which had been offered since 1954, but never claimed, along with the Claude L. Crowley Memorial Challenge Trophy, Jimmy Waddell Memorial Challenge Trophy and Mr. and Mrs. S.W. Beech Memorial Challenge Trophy. Sired by I Am Jose’ and out of Ritzy Majorette, it was the third win in four classes this year for Look Who I Am. Honky Tonk won reserve with John Allan Callaway aboard for Alan Riddley. I’m Classic Rock tied third with Lake Weaver aboard for Mike and Karen Inman. Sam Sorrell was the call judge.

Blacklist walked to the world grand championship with Carrie Martin DeJarnatte in the saddle for Sherry Kessler from Mount Juliet, Tennessee in the Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, Optional Tack, class. Both Blacklist and Martin have won world grand championships in the past, but this was their first as a team. Blacklist, sired by Gen’s Black Gin and out of My Cosmopolitan, has nine blues in 11 classes in 2022, three in The Celebration. Kessler rode to first in the Owner-Amateur English Trail Pleasure class Wednesday morning. DeJarnatte was first with Blacklist in the Trail Pleasure class Tuesday. King Mojo and Hannah Myatt were reserve for owner Kathy Anderson. I’m Thunderstruck N.D.R. placed third with David Mast riding for Wayne and Debbie Simons. Four of five programmed entries competed. 

Glory JC was crowned world grand champion in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Horses for owner-rider Jannie Chapman from Memphis, Tennessee. They won the Owner-Amateur Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship in 2021. They are six-for-six in wins this year. Glory JC was sired by Honors and out of Outta Line’s Fame. Black Gin’s Scout and owner-rider Jayden Jackson were reserve. I Will Honor Thy Father earned a third-place ribbon with Kenny Compton in the saddle for Della Compton. Six of eight programmed entries competed with John Puckett calling the gaits. 

As the Walking Horse Specialty class entered the ring lightning forced a delay in the schedule, with a deluge soon following. When the class resumed after a wait of approximately an hour-and-a-half, six of seven listed entries made their way into the ring for call judge Amy Trimble. Dixie Road with Link Webb aboard unanimously won the world grand championship for owner Joe Barnes of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was the first world grand championship for Dixie Road who was sired by The Dixie Lineman and out of She’s Title Bound. Dixie Road is undefeated in seven classes in 2022 including the Walking Stallions, Specialty class Thursday evening. The Great I Am with Tyler Baucom riding for Vickie Ricker was reserve. Warbird tied third with Ryan Blackburn in the irons for Ginger Williams.

I’m Jordan with Kenny Compton in the saddle were crowned the world grand champions in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, Canter class for owner Della Compton of Tazewell, Virginia. Kenny also has two other world grand championship rides in the class with NYPD in 2008 and 2011. I’m Jordan was sired by ACC and out of My Jurisdiction. Kenny and I’m Jordan have four wins in four classes this show season. They won the Owner-Amateur Stallions, Canter class Tuesday night. Honor My Country tied reserve with co-owner Stephanie White riding for co-owner Toni White. Starting Lineman and owner-rider Jimmy Sauls rode out with a yellow ribbon. All four programmed entries competed for the title with Amy Trimble calling the class. 

With organist Brian Peery playing the Flat Walk Boogie, penned by former Celebration organist Larry Bright, six challengers walked into the ring seeking the ultimate title in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. All six programmed entries were announced individually. Sam Sorrell was the call judge with five entries remaining for final judging in the World Grand Championship class. Justified Honors, the 2021 World Grand Champion, retained the top award in the industry with a 2022 winning ride with John Allan Callaway in the saddle for owner Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tennessee. This was the third world grand championship ride in a row for Callaway who also rode Master’s Razzle And Jazz to the big stake win in 2020. Justified Honors was sired by Honors and out of Maypine’s Doll Baby. Reserve were Jose’ Revival and Casey Wright for owners Billy and Debbie Woods. A Big Honor tied third with Ryan Blackburn riding for co-owners Dwight Hopper, Martin Cox and Jennifer Bingham.