Posted August 22, 2001

by Carol Hargett

The morning was bright and filled with excitement as the 63rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration got under way. The flurry of activity was at a high pitch as trainers, owners and exhibitors prepared for the opening session. For the second year, classes began on Wednesday morning, breaking for the National Futurity on Wednesday night and reconvening on Thursday morning.

This year the Celebration announced an all time record number of entries, 4595 not including championship classes and 1,235 exhibitors will show 2,472 horses in 168 classes. Many classes will be split three ways, the Two-Year-Old Stallion class, the Three-Year-Old Stallion class, and the Amateur Owner Novice Lady Riders on Mares and Geldings class. Additional splits will be announced.

The phenomenal growth of this year's show is due in part to the popularity of the novice classes and the amateur trail pleasure classes. This morning spectators enjoyed a newly added class, split into A and B division; Amateur English Trail Pleasure, Specialty, Riders 18 Years and Over. Another split class was the Amateur Western Trail Pleasure, Specialty, Riders 18 Years and Over, a class that was not split last year.

The judges who will select this year’s winners are: Eddie Tuck, Mike Carpenter, Brian Martin, Jamie Hankins, and Roger Hand.

More than 250,000 fans will witness this world-class show and take part in the many associated events taking place on and off the Celebration grounds.

The crowd was small but enthusiastic as they cheered for their favorite horse. The Model Park Pleasure Walking Mares kicked-off the morning classes. The call judge was Brian Martin. Seventeen entries answered the gate call of 19 registered for competition. The prize list states that the class should epitomize the perfect representative of the breed, conformation and conditioning being paramount.

The judges selection for the first blue ribbon for the fifth year in a row was the classic horse A Very Special Lady. It was again a unanimous decision for the entry presented by Tommy Howell and owned by Kathline Capps of Knoxville, Tenn. Beam's Miss Behavin', shown by Jeremy Carlton, claimed the red ribbon. This entry is owned by Pam Rivers, Ocean Springs, Miss. Third place was awarded to A Beam Come True for the second year in a row with Diane Gueck leading. Sanni Mathews of Hidden Hills, Calif., owns the entry.

Division A of the Amateur English Trail Pleasure, Specialty, Riders 18 Years and Over greeted 25 of the 32 eligible entries. Tuck was the call judge. Prior to judging the announcer recognized the school children from Thomas School as they loudly cheered their approval. The winning entry in this inaugural class was Sheer Fashion, an entry owned by Harry and Jenny Brewer of Greenback, Tenn. and shown by Harry Brewer. Second tie in this class was Mr. Reach ridden by Darian Gray and third place was claimed by Near Dark, presented by Scotty Nelson and owned by Janis Brown of Topanga, Calif.

Division B came into the ring with 23 of 32 entries answering the call. Carpenter called the class. The crowd was voicing their approval as the class went on the reverse. Multi-world champion To Die For!, owned and shown by Janis Brown, walked away with blue. Charlene Cook, riding for Central Georgia Equine Services, took the second award on She's Legal Tender. Blonde Ambition carried away the third place tie with Lisa Weaver in command for Fred and Lisa Weaver.

Novice Show Pleasure Walking Horses, Specialty, Amateur Novice Riders was next as 31 of 42 entries came through the gate. This was a highly competitive class with many well-known horses vying for the title. A workout was called to the delight of the crowd as eight numbers were called in. One entry was excused. An additional five entries were then called and one more entry asked to be excused. Thirteen horses now competed for the honor. The crowd numbers steadily increased throughout the day and so did the volume. One horse and rider will no longer claim the novice status. Ashley Adcock attained that distinction on her mount, Guaranteed Delight. Adcock owns the entry. Reserve went to He's Cash's Masterpiece with an excited Jennifer Pendleton riding for Herb Murrath of Atlanta, Ga. Gold's First Paige was third with a good ride made by Hannah Pulvers in this hard fought class.

Class four was Western Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Amateur Riders. Sixteen entries were scheduled and eleven answered the call.. Hankins made the call. Joe Dixon again rode to top honors with a unanimous decision on two-time world grand champion Strike It Rich for Randall and Gloria Dixon of Dacula, Ga and Shelbyville, Tenn. A delighted Dawn Bransfield captured the second tie with on Bad News' Gold Hard Cash for Nadea Watt of Scottsdale, Ariz. Double Your Money was third place with Bobbie Parady in the irons for John and Bobbie Parady of LaCanada, Calif.

Martin stepped up as call judge in the Amateur Owned and Trained Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod, Specialty. Twenty-three of 24 entries walked through the gate as the class got underway. The crowd was enthusiastic as they performed their two gaits. Specialty classes perform the Flat Walk and Running Walk as they make their pass before the judges. One entry asked for and received permission to be excused. After a tenth place tie last year, Armed With Beauty succeeded in walking away with a Celebration blue. An excited Terry Vaught rode for Terry and Linda Vaught of Watertown, Tenn. The second place tie was Generator's Red Sun, ridden by Steve Richardson. Reason To Glitter, last year's reserve champion in this class, was ridden to third by Erma Kelly for Jack and Erma Kelly of Eldon, Mo.

Fourteen of the expected 25 horses entered for the Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Specialty, Riders 18 Years and Over class came through the gate. Tuck assumed the role of call judge. Always a very competitive class with numerous former world champions in contention, the class was underway with the crowd participating in the judging. The excitement of the horses and the crowds input for the final decision is one of the things that draws fans to the show year after year.

For those who may not know, the Celebration changed the designation of Plantation Pleasure to Park Pleasure this show season. Bands on the shoes of the Park Pleasure entries make the distinction between the two divisions. Multi world champion Generator's Evil Lady got the judges nod as Howard Hamilton directed the winning entry for Charles Lowe of Paris, Tenn. Another multi world champion, The Buzz made a bee line for reserve honors in this hard fought and deep class. Mike Civils presented the high stepping entry. Third went to Go Boy's Dark Spirit with Jeff Green making the spirited ride.

The next class, Amateur Owned and Trained Park Pleasure, Walking Horses, Specialty, No Professional Training within 90 Days entered the ring with Carpenter reviewing the 14 of 17 who came through the gate. As with the previous classes, many are competing for repeat recognition as a Celebration winner. When the class was called in to be tied, one entry was excused. Cash Storm repeated a win in this class for the third year in a row. Wayne Westbrook, no stranger to Celebration wins, was in the irons. Moving up this year from a fourth place tie to claim reserve was the classic horse and multi world champion Royal's Good Times with owner Kathy Jamieson up. Third place was The Big Horizon, ridden by Terry Vaught.

Class eight, Amateur Western Trail Pleasure, Specialty, Riders 18 Years and Over, Division A was called. The well-filled class had a workout with seven numbers originally called. Twenty-eight of 36 entries now anticipated the judges' selection. As the numbers were called in and the remainder of the class took the rail, the judges selected six additional numbers. Thirteen entries now took to the track. A Style File, ridden by Darwin James of Broken Arrow, Okla., put away the blue for this group of good entries. Marilyn Friedman provided an olympic effort as she and Olympic Angel claimed reserve. Pay At The Pump, winner of this class in 2000, cashed in on a third place tie.

The announcer called for Division B of class eight and 25 of the 33 entries walked for the blue. Tuck had the task of calling this large class. A workout was announced as the judges reviewed the entries and called seven numbers to park in. Taking the rail again, five more numbers made the cut. Charles Howard and To Die For! had the pleasure of winning the class. A three time world champion and last year's High Point Trail Pleasure Champion, they're on track for further success. A delighted Carolyn Logue on Allen All Around was reserve for owner Rose Belcher of Ocala, Fla. The third place tie was none other than Regal Rebel, winner this year of the Pin Oak and Big D shows in Texas.

With only three classes to go, Western Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod entered the ring. Call judge Hand received 13 of the 19 entries listed. This class performed the rolling canter that the Tennessee Walking horse is known for. As the horses and riders glided past the judges, the crowd was very vocal in their support of this class. Rising to the occasion and taking it up a notch was Genius's Dixie Chick, owned by Sheila Mack-Kyle of Los Angeles, Calif. Rider Trish Wooten proved that ladies ruled this class for owner. Jasmin Magic, winner of last year's class, took the second place tie. Leigh Bennett made the fine ride for Ownensboro, Ky. owners, Dwight and Elizabeth Ottman. Fashion's Covergirl and Laurie Toone finished the ladies sweep. Pat Carpinito-Stout is the proud owner.

Returning to the novice riders in class 10, Novice Park Pleasure Walking Mares, Specialty, Amateur Novice Riders. All of the horses and riders in this class have not won a Celebration blue. Tuck called the class as 13 anxious entries of an expected 23 answered the gate call. They lined before one team of horse and rider departed from their novice status. One entry was excused out of the line up. Joanna Stewart and A Gen Rummy rose out of the novice ranks to receive their first Celebration blue. The reserve tie went to Doc's Lady in Red and Barbara Keenahan. Third tie and yellow ribbon was awarded to Touch's Midnight Star and Joan Seaton, who were reserve champions at the International.

The track was smoothed out before the final class, Plantation Pleasure Driving, Lite Shod, Two or Four Wheeel Vehicle. Spectators took this opportunity to stretch their legs and grab a cold drink.

Many entries were tied well in this class last year returned. As the horses entered the ring, Carpenter put them through their paces. Eight of ten entries were driving smoothly toward the blue. Upon entering the ring a groom was called for one entry. The class quickly resumed with everyone at a flat walk. Laura Brandon drove Silver Sundance Lady, a constant winner throughout the 2001 season, to championship honors. Repeating their reserve tie for the second year was Regal's Lady of Royalty and Benny Johnson. Multi world champion Starstruck By JFK and Willlie Cook, Jr. brought up third place.

The Celebration continues Thursday morning with plantation classes featured.