Skip to content

The Celebration Is Off To A Great Start!



As every year, the last 11 days leading up to the Saturday night before
Labor Day brings the most exciting time of the year for those with the
Tennessee Walking Horse industry, the Tennessee Walking Horse National
Celebration. 
    For the third year, the show got underway on Wednesday Morning with a 13
class schedule of classes highlighting the Trail Pleasure, Plantation
Pleasure, Park Pleasure and Show Pleasure divisions taking the track in the
cooler than normal confines of The Celebration's Calsonic Arena.
    Marking the cards for this the 67th edition were Rollie Beard of
Lewisburg, Tenn., Stephen Brown of Yelm, Wash., Mack Motes of Eagleville,
Tenn., Mike Sims of Chattanooga, Tenn. and Sam Sorrell of Lexington, Ky.
Kathy Herrin once again joined the center ring staff as the announcer for
the morning events and Connie Dunlap entertained at the keyboard.
    The lovely ladies of the equine world made their way to center stage 12
strong for the first class of this year's show for the Model Pleasure
Walking Mares.  Judge Beard served as call judge for the event.
    Tommy Howell certainly does like the lovely ladies!  As in each of the
past    several years, he walked his way to the winner's circle in the
competitive division.  This year he captured world championship acclaim with
the very stylish In Vogue for 4-J Land and Cattle Company and Dr. Roger
Richards of Waynesville, Mo. and Hendersonville, Tenn.  Leading to the
reserve honors were the popular team of Royal's Vanity Fair and Wendy Boyd
for Darwin and Linda James of Broken Arrow, Ok.  Always seen with an
attractive palomino, Harold Dean Givens and the palomino Lethally Armed
Blonde accepted the yellow streamer for Evan & Janice Plyer of Matthews, NC.
    Next on the morning's schedule was the Owner-Amateur English Trail
Pleasure, Adult Riders.  Due to the usual large numbers in the popular Trail
Pleasure division, the class was split.  The A division of the event brought
24 competitiors to the ring to work for Celebration acclaim as west coast
pleasure horse expert Stephen Brown led the judging panel.
    Riding for the blue in the division was the team of owner/exhibitor
Barbara Civils and Miss Jazzy.  This was quite a homecoming for Civils, as
the 2005 show season found her, husband/trainer Mike Civils and son Jimmy,
heading back to her childhood home of Petersburg, Tenn. after years of
living in Indiana and Texas.  Civils is also the daughter of the late Berry
Coffey, the longtime trainer who was best known for his multiple World Grand
Championship performances with the great mare of the 80's and 90's, Fashion
Setter.  Civils and Miss Jazzy preceded their Celebration win with wins at
Shelbyville's Liberty Lions Club, Woodbury, Tenn. and Arab, Ala.  Reserve in
the division went to the team of I'm Benny Too and Tim Brooks for Tim and
Terri Brooks of Hot Springs, Ark.  Always competitive, Laura Brandon and
High Tide Surfin' took home third for Wallace and Laura Brandon of Franklin,
Tenn.
    Class 2B brought another large, tough division to the track as another
24 Owner-Amateur English Trail Pleasure entries worked for Call Judge Mack
Motes and his cohorts.  2004 Trail Pleasure World Grand Champion The Lady Of
The Ritz showed she still had her winning ways as she strolled to the
winner's circle with a unanimous decision of the panel with Marty Irby in
the irons for William B. & Sandra Johnson and Marty Irby of Atlanta, Ga. and
Shelbyville, Tenn.  The team accounted 2005 wins at The Celebration's Spring
Fun Show, Woodbury, Tenn. and Murfreesboro, Tenn.'s  International Grand
Championships.  After a successful season on the West Coast, Patti Pollack
and Push N For Pleasure accepted the red ribbon for Pollack's Silver Spur
Ranch of San Martin, Calif.  Another striking  palomino, Simply Striking and
Alicia Avent captured third for Clay and Alicia Avent of Lewisburg, Tenn.
    The large Wednesday morning audience got their first glimpse of the
performance horse as class 3, the Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Show
Pleasure Walking Horses made their way to Calsonic Arena.
    The A division brought 24 competitiors competing for that very first
Celebration blue as Judge Mike Sims and staff watched attentively hoping to
make one exhibitors dreams a reality.  There was as short break in the
action as the team of Wallace In The Sky and Kim Wilkin had a little
misfortune with a cast shoe.  However, it proved to be no problem for
longtime Celebration farrier Louie Staton.  Staton had the shoe replaced in
record time and had the class back underway.
     It certainly was a dream come true for the team of Ironworks Tin Man
and Grant Jones.  Tin Man, sired by the late, great WGC Plantation Pleasure
horse,Ironworks, captured wins at Shelbyville's Walking To Make A Difference
show, Bethesda, Tenn., Belfast, Tenn. and Wartrace, Tenn., prior to picking
up their first Celebration win and is owned by Ray Jones Trucking of
Greenville, Ky.  A tough competitor on the Mid-South circuit all season,
Dark Illusion and Red Strickland made a strong performance to take the
reserve honors back to Olive Branch, Miss.    I'm It and owner/exhibitor Sue
Irby of Shelbyville, Tenn. proved they were just that to capture third.  A
point of interest, ribbons in the division went home to seven states from
Oregon and California to North Carolina and Florida proving once again that
the Tennessee Walking Horse truly does have nationwide appeal.
    Twenty-Six teams made the gate call for class 3B, Owner-Amateur Novice
Riders on Novice Show Pleasure Walking Horses.  Another ring full of riders
were hoping for their dreams to come true as they were seeking that first
World Championship.  Judge Sam Sorrell took his first turn as call judge in
the division.
    It might not have been midnight, but it was still the right time for the
Bethesda, Tenn. and Lewisburg, Tenn. champion,  Midnight At The Ritz and
Donnie Ross as they topped the division for James Sigmon and Donnie Ross of
Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Firey Generator and Paula Sensing preserved their
novice status by riding from the ring with the red streamer for Bill and
Paula Sensing of Germantown, Tenn.  John Thomes and Ritz Cracker accepted
third for Bedwell & Thomes of Dothan, Ala. and Wartrace, Tenn.
    The pleasure horses were back in the ring in class 4 as 15 of the 18
entries in the Amateur Owned & Trained Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses,
Lite Shod division as Judge Beard called the gaits.  The ladies were in
command of this division as Armed Lady From Dixie and Wayne Westbrook
dominated the division taking the honors back to the Lone Star state for Bob
& Wayne Westbrook of Flower Mound, Texas.  Another Gen's Armed & Dangerous
daughter, Armed With Beauty and Terry Vaught were close behind accepting
reserve for Terry and Linda Vaught of Watertown, Tenn.  Gen's Major Success
and owner/exhibitor Burl Dale of Linville, N.C. gave a gracious tip of the
hat as they accepted third.
    The crowd got their first peek at the Park Pleasure division as class
five brought 11 of the 19 scheduled for the Park Pleasure Walking Horses,
Riders 18 Years and Over.  The professional trainers showed their very best
for the judging panel as Judge Brown led the team.  The 2004 Celebration
marked trainer Ramsey Bullington's first Celebration performance on a
pleasure horse capturing the blue in this same division.  This year, he and
Gen's Major Coin made another outstanding performance coming off a strong
win at Lynchburg, Tenn.'s Moore County Horse Show to mark down back to back
wins for Pollack's Silver Spur Ranch of San Martin, Calif.
Reserve honors in the division traveled back to the west coast as well as
Another Jose and Jamey Thompson, representing California's Russ Thompson
Stables for 4-J Land and Cattle Company of Waynesville, Mo.  A & D's Regal
Prince and Patrick Thomas were presented with the yellow streamer for
Cynthia Bush of Boaz, Ala.
    Park Pleasure horses were back next in class 6 as the Amateur Owned &
Trained Park Pleasure Walking Horses, No Professional Training within 90
days hit the ring with 14 of the 16 making the call for Judge Motes and
staff.  With 2005 wins at Dallas, Tx's Big D Charity Horse Show, Memphis,
Tenn.'s Germantown Charity Horse Show and Murfreesboro, Tenn.'s
International Grand Championships, Darden Gladney and It's Up In Arms made
their usual outstanding performance to capture World Championship acclaim
for Gladney Farms of Homer, La.  Jacque Fisher and Grandy Garcia took the
reserve honors back to the palmetto state for Jamison & Fisher of Florence,
S.C.  The classic horse, Centennial Surprise made a strong performance to
accept third with owner/exhibitor Jenny Earhart of Orange, Calif.
    It was time for the youth riders in class seven, Owner-Amateur Riders
12-17 Years on Plantation Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings, Lite Shod with
11 of the 13 scheduled making the call as Mike Sims served as call judge.
Brandon Urad was the man of the hour at the 2004 Celebration, picking up
four wins before he headed back to the Lone Star state and it seems his luck
is running true once again as he and Maddie and Kathy Jones' entry All Night
made the winning performance to top all five cards.  Last year's champion in
the division, Silver's Spinal Tap and Jared Carrier were close behind to
accept the reserve honors for Chip and Bonny Carrier of Franklin, Ky.  The
Storm Pusher and Whitney Harney rode to third for High Hope Stables of
Albermarle, N.C.
    Class eight brought the cowboys to Calsonic Arena as seven of the 12
programmed entries made the gate for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Western
Park Pleasure Walking Horses (Canter) as Sam Sorrell called the gaits in the
division.  This division not only gave spectators their first look at the
Western division, but also gave them their first canter division of the
morning performance.  Making a steller performance in all three gaits,
M.G.E.T. and Victoria Martocci topped the division for Rhonda Martocci of
Franklin, Tenn.  Longtime horse show followers will remember Victoria for
her many Celebration wins with horses such as Pusher's Benny Boy, Heapin'
Spoonful, My Midnight Caller and Pride's Winning Edge just to name a few.
She's been absent from the show ring over the past few years as she's been
making her home in Hawaii.  What a way to make a comeback!  With impressive
performance, Rodney Dangerfield and Landon Head took the red streamer for
Bert, Sheryl and Landon Head of Jigger, La.  The Grizzly and B.J. Richards
proudly accepted third for Bobby Richards and Family of Franklin, Tenn.
    The cowboys and cowgirls were back for class 9, Western Plantation
Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod (Canter).  Fourteen of the 16 expected
made the gate to work for Judge Rollie Beard and his cohorts.  After taking
Murfreesboro, Tenn.'s International Grand Championships by storm,
Drop The Hammer was in the winner's circle again in Shelbyville with trainer
Bobby Richards in the irons for Rhonda Martocci of Franklin, Tenn.  marking
back to back wins for the Richards/Martocci team.  The always stylish team
of A Style File and Leigh Bennett accepted the red ribbon for Chip and
Bonnie Carrier of Franklin, Ky.  Many time World Champion Genius Dixie Chick
and Trish Wooten took the yellow streamer in the competitive division for
Stonegait Farms of Orange, Calif.
    Class 10 marked the return to the Park Pleasure division with 12 of the
14 entries hitting the track for the Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice
Park Pleasure Walking Mares as Judge Brown called the gaits.  Taking the win
back to the Show-Me state and riding their way out of the novice division
with an exceptional performance was the team of JFK's Fancy Lady Leslie and
Jay Laughlin for 4-J Land and Cattle Company of Waynesville, Mo.  Reserve
honors in the division went to the talented team of Eternal Fame and  Nancy
Yonko for Jeff Ray and Nancy Yonko of Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Scream Walking
and owner/exhibitor Ginger Williams of Eden, N.C. taking the
yellow streamer back to Tarheel country.
    With a quick drag of the track, it was time to call for the final class
of the morning performance, class 11, Plantation Pleasure Driving, Lite
Shod, 2 or 4 Wheel Vehicle. Five of the eight scheduled entries made the
call to work for Judge Mack Motes and his cohorts.  Making the winning
drive, with a unanimous decision of the panel, was the team of Joltin' Joe
Dimaggio and Jamey Thompson for Gary and Carleen Redman of Fontana,
California.  Reserve honors in the division went to Kevin Marker and
Blackberry Summer Wine driving for The Stacey Richards Family of Franklin,
Tenn.  Murfreesboro, Tenn's Jeff Givens took Magical Illusionist in for the
yellow streamer for Cheryl Reidy of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
    And with a final victory pass, the first morning session of the 67th
Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was in the record books.
The morning sessions will continue through Saturday and conclude on Monday
in The Celebration's Calsonic Arena and the action will get under way in the
big oval on Thursday evening.  More memories will certainly be made and you
won't want to miss it.


More Stories

  • Southern Championship relocates for 2021

    For many years the Georgia Walking Horse Exhibitors Association has sponsored and operated the Southern Championship Charity Horse Show... Read More
  • Latest Issue WHYIR 20

    Read More
  • Latest Issue 3 1 31

    Read More
  • Walking In The Smokies stall deadline approaching

    The Walking In The Smokies Horse Show, scheduled for April 8-10, 2021, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is preparing for their first annual show and would like to send a reminder to anyone needing stalls that the deadline is March 15. Please contact Lexi Stinnett at 828-550-8520 to reserve stalls on the show grounds. Read More
  • Trainers' Show announces judges

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association National Trainers’ Show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. March 18-20, 2021. Judges for the three-day event will be Wayne Dean, Newton Parks and Johnny Puckett. Read More
  • USDA prepares for 2021 show season

    The USDA recently conducted their virtual HIO training course for the 2021 show season. The USDA and industry recently received the final report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and some of the recommendations in that report are communicated in the new processes the USDA will implement in 2021... Read More
  • WHOA hosts virtual awards ceremony

    On Saturday. February 20th, the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) held their National High Point awards for 2020 on their WHOA Facebook page with winners who chose to be zooming in to accept their awards... Read More
  • WHOA to host virtual awards ceremony on February 20

    The Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) will recognize their award winners from the 2020 show season during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, February 20, 2021. The show will be broadcast live on WHOA’s Facebook page beginning at 6 pm central time. Read More
  • FAST Spring Showcase announces judging panel

    The FAST Spring Showcase is pleased to announce that John Fikes, Newton Parks and Sam Sorrell will judge this years’ two-day event. The show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. April 16-17, 2021... Read More
  • Obituary – Kimberly Woods

    Kimberly Lynn Woods, age 47 departed this life on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky... Read More