By Mark Davis
It’s Friday morning at the 73rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration! After a great first night of horse show action on Thursday night, that was even over at a reasonable time, on Celebration standards (11:30 pm), it was time once again for the action to get underway in Calsonic Arena.

Fourteen classes made up the morning schedule featuring entries from the Country Pleasure, Trail Pleasure, Lite-Shod, Park Pleasure, Park Performance and Halter divisions.

The judges for the 73rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration include Jennifer Bingham of Shelbyville, Tenn., Jamie Bradshaw of Union Grove, Ala., Jamie Hankins of Paris, Ky., Ronnie Spears of Tullahoma, Tenn.,  and Jeff Willis of Shelbyville, Tenn.

The first class of the morning schedule was class 33, Owner-Amateur Novice Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Novice Lite-Shod Walking Mares or Geldings. All six of the expected entries made the gate call to work for judge Jennifer Bingham and her peers in hopes that they might secure that very first Celebration blue this fine morning. Making that ride out of the Novice division today, with the approval of all five judges, was Gigi’s Jamaican Generator and Nick Rippy riding for Kaitlyn Rippy of Greenbrier, Tenn. Make It Snappy and Bailey McCormick were reserve, riding for Bailey and Morgan McCormick of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Nuclear Weapon and Alexandria Patton were third taking the honors back to Castlewood, Va.

Amateur Owned and Trained Western Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, No Professional Training Within 90 Days, class 34, was up next on the program. Eighteen of the 21 on the official Lions Club program put on their best Western attire and headed for the rail to work for judge Jamie Bradshaw and his colleagues.  Getting to spend some time in the winner’s circle on this Friday morning was the team of Just Doin My Time and Maggie Moore riding for Jim Leek and Maggie Moore of Murfreesboro, Tenn.   This marked this team’s 16th win of the 2011 season. Cougar King and Connie Waldo pulled into the second spot taking the honors back to Naples, Fla. Headed down Louisiana way, Jose’s Sweet & Spicey and Lisa Weaver were third for Fred and Lisa Weaver of Doyline, La.

Staying in a Western frame of mind, class 35 featured the Owner-Amateur Riders on Western Lite-Shod Walking Horses.  Thirteen of the 17 with reservations were right on time to work for Celebration acclaim in the class as judge Jamie Hankins served as call judge. Making the double good show in the class was Double Java and Beth Sims in the saddle for The Mike Chiappari Family and Shiloh Walkers of Santa Rosa, Calif. Red Sunday’s Best and Doug Toone picked up the red streamers for Laurie Toone of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Vindicated and Kasey Kesselring rounded out the top three for Montverde Academy of Montverde, Fla.

The Park Pleasure entries took center stage in class 36, Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Two and Three-Years-Old with 10 of the 15 expected working to the track to show as judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits in the class.  Breaking out from the competition to top the class was Break Me Out and owner/exhibitor Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn.  She’s Gunsan Roses and Taylor Morgan were in the second position for Hargett, Etheredge and Morgan of Russellville, Ala., Corinth, Miss., and Christiana, Tenn.  Lauren Hamilton and Lined With Promise pulled in for the third award for Steve and Charlotte Icardi and Lauren Hamilton of Corinth, Miss., and Cedar Grove, Tenn.

The Country Pleasure entries were up next for class 37A, Owner-Amateur Western Country Pleasure Walking Horses with 20 of the 21 programmed entries making the call and working for top honors in the division.  Judge Jeff Willis served as call judge in the class. Proving they were playing around with the competition, it was Play Toy and Rhiannon Barker riding to the winner’s circle in the section for Rhiannon Barker, Mary Bennett and Laurie Toone of Murfreesboro and Bell Buckle, Tenn. This win was preceded with 2011 wins at the Manchester Lions Club Horse Show and the Money Tree Classic and a good reserve at the Betty Freeman Memorial Horse Show. Cowboy On Parole and Beth Sims were reserve in the very competitive class for the Mike Chiappari Family of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Bell Buckle, Tenn.  Headed back Kentucky way with third was Delight Silver Design and Libby Stephens riding for the Van Stephens Family of Grayson, Ky.

Class 37B, Owner-Amateur Western Country Pleasure Walking Horses, brought 18 of the 20 with reservations into Calsonic Arena to work as judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits in the section. Busting out of the line up and riding down victory lane was the team of Bustline and Vicki Benjamin riding for Fred and Vicki Benjamin and MacKenzie Morgan of Humboldt and Shelbyville, Tenn.  A Red Ruby and Liz Gassaway were reserve for Liz Gassaway and MacKenzie Morgan of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Jose’s Hannah Montana and Kasey Kesselring were third for the Kasey Kesselring Family of Montverde, Fla. and Shelbyville, Tenn.

The performance horses made their first appearance during the day sessions in class 38, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Show Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings. Seven of the nine expected were on the rail, each with their own cheering section, working hard for their chance in the winner’s circle today.  Judge Jamie Bradshaw was the call judge in the class. Proving they were trouble for the competition today by topping the class with a unanimous decision of the panel was He’s Trouble and Morgan McCormick riding to the winner’s circle for Morgan McCormick and Ridgemont Farms of Blacksburg, Va. Headed back Kentucky way with reserve were Combat Commander and owner/exhibitor Dylan Young of Mt. Sterling, Ky. Intrepidition and Keely Morrow were third for Keely Morrow and Evergreen Walking Horse Farm of Franklin, Ky., and Shelbyville, Tenn.

Back in the Trail Pleasure division, class 39 featured the Owner-Amateur English or Western Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, Four-Years-Old with seventeen entries making the call to work with judge Jamie Hankins calling the gaits. Making the majestic performance in the class and capturing the attention and approval of all five judges was the team of Gigi’s Majestic and Jordan Howell, riding for mom, Janet Howell of Murfreesboro, Tenn. Contemporary Jazz and Kasey Kesselring pulled into the second spot for Christmas Creek Farm LLC of Montverde, Fla.  Rounding out the top three was Oh Buddy and owner/exhibitor Jackie Osborne of Bowling Green, Ky.

Seven of the 11 on the program made their way up to Calsonic Arena for class 40, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Lite-Shod Walking Mares or Geldings. Judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits in the class. Capturing the win with a unanimous decision of the panel was Vindicated and Kailin Kesselring riding for Montverde Academy of Montverde, Fla.  Major Orders and MacKenzie Morgan were reserve for John Dicken, Liz Gassaway and MacKenzie Morgan of Memphis and Shelbyville, Tenn. Kaitlyn Rippy and Gigi’s Jamaican Generator were third taking honors home to Greenbrier, Tenn.

The babies were up next on the schedule for class 41, TWHBEA Youth Weanlings, Handlers 6-17 Years taking the track with 10 of the 11 expected showing off in the class as judge Jeff Willis led the panel. Walking away with the win with a unanimous decision of the panel was Jazz On My Mind and Ashley Shelton at the lead for Carole Hargett of Shelbyville, Tenn. Intimidator’s Cover Girl and Abby Bradley were reserve in the class for the Andrew Waites family and the George Wright family of Hattiesburg, Miss., and Mt. Juliet, Tenn. Out of Devotion and Kip Prosser pulled in to pick up the yellow streamers for Carla Hurley of Hendersonville, Tenn.

Back under saddle, class 42 featured the Owner-Amateur Riders 50 & Over on Lite-Shod Walking Horses with nine of the 16 with reservations making the call to work for judge Jennifer Bingham and her panel. Singing the winning song in the class was Music City Jass and Laura Brandon taking the honors home to Franklin, Tenn. This horse already has one 2011 World Championship title in the Lite-Shod Canter division with trainer Jeff Laughlin on Thursday morning and this win marked the team’s fifth of the 2011 season. Armed Scarlett Lady and Jerry Laughlin collected the red streamers for 4-J Land & Cattle Co., of Waynesville, Mo.  Deborah Parmer and Major Randolph were third taking the award back to Elizabethtown, Pa.

It was time to head back under halter for class 43, TWHBEA Youth Yearling Fillies or Geldings, Handlers 6-17 Years. Five of the six expected beat the clock to work for World Championship honors in the division as judge Jamie Bradshaw led the panel in the class. Leading their way to the unanimous win was Molly Vaughn and One Classy Diamond, owned by Bobby Jones of Manchester, Tenn. Jose’s Ginny Belle and Jaron Dotson were reserve for Hidden Acres Farm of Donelson, Tenn. Doc House and Shane Voiles were third for C.L. Kline Farms and Ella Kline of Robbins, Tenn.

The young folks were back for class 44, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 Years, English or Western Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, Two and Three-Years-Old. Seven of the ten on the books were present and accounted for and ready to work for judge Jamie Hankins and his colleagues. Riding away with the unanimous win was I’m Manhatten and MacKenzie Morgan riding for Tamara Hader and MacKenzie Morgan of Bainbridge, Ga., and Shelbyville, Tenn. Australian Gold and owner/exhibitor Allison Thorson of Sandusky, Ohio were reserve, while She’s Indescribable and Allie Dennis were third for Sandra Dennis and Judy White of Marion, Ohio.

The final class of the morning performance, class 45, brought the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 on Park Performance Walking Horses to the ring. Eight of the 10 on the books made the trip to the Calsonic Arena big oval to work as judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits. Making the ride down victory lane with an outstanding performance was the team of Avenger’s Lady Threat and Lane Webb riding high in the saddle for John Cabe and Link Webb of Lewisburg, Tenn.  Payton Manning and Reilly Miller were a popular reserve for the Miller Family of Knoxville, Tenn.  My Diamonds & Pearls and Meghan Davis were third for Little and Williams of Spring Grove, Pa.

With the final victory pass, the Friday morning session was complete at 12:45 p.m.  Remember, the morning sessions continue Saturday and Monday mornings, starting promptly at 9:00 a.m., and the competition is just as stiff as that in the big oval in the evenings, so don’t miss it!