by Mark Davis

     Twelve classes, featuring nine World Grand Championships, make up the evening's schedule leading up to the highlight class of the evening, the Four-Year-Old World Grand Championship.
   As always, the show started promptly at 7 pm with Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton hitting the track presenting the American flag.  The invocation for the evening was given by Dr. A. Richard Smith, doctor of theology, The University Of The South, Sewanee, Tenn.  The national anthem was performed beautifully on the flute and violin by Bruce Wethey and Lisa LaCross of College Grove, Tenn.
   With that complete, Vern Serex stepped out the the north turn of the track with his faithful horn to call for the first class of the evening, class 146, Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Pleasure Walking Horses World Grand Championship.  Thirteen made the call to work for the title as Judge Mack Motes called the gaits in the event.  When the work was complete, the spotlight came on for the first time of the night searching for a champion and truly a champion did it find.  Jazz All Night and Bob Lawrence made a flawless performance to top the division for Lane's End, Bob Lawrence and Carroll Hutto of Thomasville, Ga.  The duo picked up wins at the National Trainers' Show, Panama City, Fla.'s Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show, Columbia, Tenn.'s Money Tree Classic and Murfreesboro, Tenn.'s Bethesda Horse Show.   Proving themselves a true "danger" to the competition, Gold Danger and Susannah Borg of Ponte Verdra, Fla. captured the reserve honors.  Tijuana Tex and owner/exhibitor Dr. John Gladney of Homer, La. were a popular third.
   There was another World Grand Champion to be crowned in class 147, Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses World Grand Championship.  Eleven talented teams rode down the hill to show for the roses under the watchful eye of Judge Mike Sims and staff.  Topping the competitive division was the legendary mare, Miracle At the Ritz and Sandra Johnson who made the pass with the floral horseshoe for William B & Sandra Johnson of Atlanta, Ga. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  This win marked the first time in decades that a mare has won this division, and what a mare she is.  Sired by 1996 World Grand Champion He's Puttin' On the Ritz and out of the multi-titled WC and WGC mare Miss Walking Miracle, she was certainly destined to be great . . .and great she is!  Jane Hardy Meredith cashed in on a strong performance with Hard Mountain Cash to ride away as Reserve World Grand Champions for Jane Meredith of Roswell, Ga.  Papa's Smokin' Pusher and Kelly Sherman were smokin' as they accepted the third award for Floyd Sherman of Dallas, Texas.
   Eight entries made the call for class 148, Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod, World Grand Championship.  Judge Sam Sorrell led the panel in the division.  Picking up their second World Grand Championship of the 2005 Celebration, Double Java and trainer Scott Benham rode down victory lane, just as they did in the Lite Shod Three-Gait World Grand Championship on Thursday night, for The Mike Chippari Family of Santa Rosa, Calif.  Elegance Of Design and Craig Swagerty accepted the reserve honors for Nancy Lovato of Lehi, Utah.  Rev's Super Speed and Howard Hamilton were presented with the yellow streamer for Duane Ripple of Keosaugua, Iowa.
   Taking a short break from championship competition, announcer Chip Walters called class 149, the Walking Horse Trainers' Auxiliary Members on Walking Horses.  The hard working members of the Auxiliary are hard working in and out of the ring and tonight, 19 hit the track working for the win in their division.  Judge Rollie Beard served as call judge in the division.  Topping the division was the team of I'm Infamous and Rhea Ellen Webb riding for Phil Havens of Freemont, Ohio.    Generator's Nat King Cole and Sue Brassy accepted the red streamer with a big smile for Brassy & Graham of Chino Hills, Calif. & Montesano, Wash.  Ample Cash and Karen Callaway were third for C & C Stables, LLC of Shelbyville, Tenn.
   Bringing the western way back to the big oval, class 150 brought 21 entries out for the Owner-Amateur Western Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship.  Judge Stephen Brown called the gaits in the division.  Taking the roses back to the Bluegrass state, Bluegrass Bandit and Chip Carrier topped off a great week in Shelbyville, where they already captured two wins in the Amateur Owned & Trained Western Trail Pleasure and the Youth 12-17 English Trail Pleasure, by picking up the ultimate honors in the division for Chip & Bonnie Carrier of Franklin, Ky.  The hometown team of Pitcher Of Gold and Dr. Judy Moore took the reserve streamers for Moore-Foust Farms of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Playin' Hooky & Mitchell Gassaway were third for Liz Gassaway of Wartrace, Tenn.
   During a quick break in the action, The Celebration fans welcomed a very special Tennessean to center ring, the all time winningest basketball coach, Pat Head Summitt.  She was joined in center ring by her husband R.V Summitt and Father-In-Law Ross Summitt and presented with a very special orange and white ribbon by Celebration director and University Of Tennessee supporter David L. Howard.
   Twenty-five entries made the gate call for class 151, Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Walking Horses World Grand Championship.  Judge Mack Motes called the division for those riders looking for their VERY first set of roses.  Claiming that honor with a BOLD performance in the division, after topping the Novice Amateur Riders on Novice Walking Stallions earlier in the week, was Bold Vengeance and Heather Walling riding for Judy McDonald of Tullahoma, Tenn.  This win marks Mrs. McDonald's second set of roses for the 2005 Celebration as her Black Cash Delight topped the 15.2 and Under World Grand Championship last evening with trainer Bill Bobo aboard.  A Command For Cash and Lisa Mitchell picked up the reserve honors for Mitchell & Moore of Tullahoma, Tenn.  
   After a quick drag of the track, the ring was ready for class 152A, Owner-Amateur Lady Drivers, Fine Harness.  Six entries made the call to work the gaits under the watchful eye of Judge Mike Sims and staff.  Driving to the blue with a MIGHTY good performance was Mighty Brew and Dr. Linda Jones at the lines for Dr. Linda Jones and Haley Lane of Bainbridge, Ga.   The attractive gray, Clutch's Power Play and Kathy Owen captured the red streamer for Double Springs Farm of Murfreesboro, Tenn.  I'm Medusa and Lynn Womack were third for the Womack Stables of Murfreesboro, Tenn.
   As the harness entries headed out the gait, 2004 World Grand Champion, The Black Night Shade and Jimmy McConnell were waiting at the entry gate and put on an outstanding exhibition to the delight of the crowd.  Jimmy and Shade were looking better than ever, even though he's been spending most of his time in the breeding barn at Shelbyville, Tenn.'s Bridlewood Farm.  After a quick presentation of the tri colors from Celebration Executive Assistant Charles McDonald, Shade was back on the track again, bringing the fans on the east side to their feet as the reigning World Grand Champion exited the arena.
   After a quick call from Vern Serex, Class 152B, Owner-Amateur Lady Drivers, Fine Harness was on the track, eight strong, as Judge Sam Sorrell called the gaits.  Well, they were "on the money" again tonight. That's right, the classic horse, On The Money was back in the winner's circle tonight with Kathy Owen at the whip for Double Springs Farm of Murfreesboro, Tenn.  On The Money topped his division of the Open Fine Harness with Byrdstown, Tenn. trainer Scott Beaty on Wednesday evening.  Major Miss Understood and Lynn Womack were reserve for Neill, Harwell, West & Womack of Savannah, Manchester & Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Groovy Chick and owner/exhibitor Kathy Potter of Shelbyville, Tenn. were third.
   Championship competition was back and hotter than ever in class 153 as 31 entries made the trip down the hill to work in the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years on Walking Mares or Geldings, World Grand Championship as Judge Rollie Beard and staff officiated the division.  The panel determined that additional work would be needed in the extra large division to determine the World Grand Champions.  Seventeen entries were asked to remain to continue to work for the opportunity to make that sentimental journey to the winner's circle on Friday night in Shelbyville.  Making the ride of a lifetime in the division was Two-Time World Champion Prism Sky and MaryBeth Blessing riding for What A Blessing Farms of Bristol, Tenn.  John F K's Diamond Delight and Dalia Smith carried the reserve honors back to Manchester, Ky. after making a stellar performance.  Ritz's Diamond Joe and Alexandria Holland were third for The Children of Neal & Sherry Holland of Decatur, Ala.
   The cowboys and cowgirls were back in class 154, Western Park Pleasure Walking Horses World Grand Championship.  Nine entries made the call to work for the ultimate honors in the division as Judge Stephen Brown called the work.  Topping the always fun division was the beautiful sorrel flaxen mane and tailed Armed And Trigger Happy and trainer Patrick Thomas riding to the very popular win for Jim & Debbie Nichols of New Market, Tenn.  This duo preceded this win with victories at the National Trainers' Show, Jackson, Tenn.'s Mid South Horse Show and the Parker's Crossroads, Tenn. Horse Show.  Strike It Rich and Joe Dixon rode to the reserve position for Randall & Gloria Dixon of Dacula, Ga.  My Advice and Manuel Rodriguez were third for Mike & Marilee Moran of Yucaipa, Calif.
   Back in the performance horse division, 16 entries made the call to work for the roses in class 155, Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Horses World Grand Championship.  Judge Mack Motes called the action in the exciting division.  Making another EXTRAORDINARY performance, just as they did in the preliminary division last week, He's Extra Ordinary and Patti Pollack were simply stunning as they captured championship acclaim in the division for Pollack's Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  The team achieved this honor with a unanimous decision of the judging panel.  Nancy Groover still had her lucky rabbit's foot as she and Lonestar Tex claimed the reserve World Grand Championship for Groover, Groover & Womack of Longview, Texas and Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Contendo and Kathryn Ramsbottom scored third for Bob Ramsbottom of Norris, Tenn.
   Finally, it was time for the highlight of the evening, the class all 22,711 in attendance had been waiting to see, class 156. the Four-Year-Old Walking Horse World Grand Championship.  Judge Mike Sims led the panel in the division.  Let me tell you, the entries in this division did not disappoint.  They put on a stellar performance to make the wait more than worthwhile.  However, only one team could ride away with the coveted title of Four-Year-Old World Grand Champion and for 2005, that team was Jose' s Intimidator and Jamie Bradshaw riding for Randall & Martha Ferguson of Union Grove, Ala.  They captured their title with a unanimous decision of the panel.  Riding away with an impressive reserve were Rowdy Rev and Bill Bobo in the irons for Bill Harlin of Franklin, Tenn.  Santana's El Nino and Link Webb were a striking third for Michael & Ann Jones of LaFayette, Ga.
   And as organist Larry Bright started to play his traditional song to mark the end of the performance, "Just The Way You Are," another evening of championship action was in the record books.
   Only one more night and boy, will it be a big one featuring the Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship and "the big one," the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship.  Saturday night is also Patriotic night at The Celebration.  So, wear your red, white and blue and make sure that your in the seat by 7pm so you won't miss out on the very special opening ceremonies.  Make plans to be in the house to take part in what can only be described as The Celebration.