by Mark Davis


            After an exciting night of competition on Thursday night to get the evening sessions of the 72nd Annual Celebration, horse show fans are back tonight and looking for more, and the Friday Night schedule should deliver. Fifteen classes make up the evening’s schedule highlighted by the Youth 11 & Under on Walking Geldings early on the schedule and the Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions a little later on in the program.

            The judges for the 2010 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration include Spencer Benedict of Glasgow, Ky., Jennifer Bingham of Shelbyville, Tenn., Mike Carpenter of Franklin, Tenn., Nathan Clark of Arab, Ala., and Tommy Loid of Bowling Green, Ky.

            As always, promptly at 7 pm, the historic gates swung open and official flag horse Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton made their way through the gate to present the American Flag as the centerpiece of the opening ceremonies. The invocation for the evening was given by Rev. Mark Ashley of New Hope Chapel, Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Kevin Mead of Tullahoma, Tenn.

            Then, it was time to call the first class of the evening to the ring, class 50A, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Walking Geldings. Eight of the 14 with reservations made their was down the hill to the historic outdoor arena to show their very best for Judge Spencer Benedict and his cohorts. Impressing the judges and the who crowd with a striking performance was Free To Score and owner/exhibitor Maggie Kail carried the Celebration blue back to her West Tennessee home of Alamo, Crockett County, Tenn. This duo has had a great 2010 picking up wins at Humboldt, Tenn.’s West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Horse Show, Huntingdon, Tenn.’s Billy Carey Memorial Horse Show, the Germantown, Tenn. Horse Show, the Tony Rice Horse Show, the Woodbury, Tenn. Horse Show, Jackson, Tenn.’s Mid South Horse Show and the Parker’s Crossroads, Tenn. Horse Show. Watch Delight and Thomas Derickson pulled into the second spot for Maria Derickson of Wartrace, Tenn. Jose’s Border Patrol and Landon Callicutt were third for John and Landon Callicutt of Seagrove, N.C.

            Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Walking Geldings, class 50B, brought seven of the 14 on the program to the track to work as Judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits. Riding to the win in the division in her first ever appearance in the Celebration big oval was Lauren Brady and Twisted Chief riding for Joyce and Bill Brady of Byhalia, Miss. The Summit and Jordan Dempsey picked up the red ribbon for proud grandparents, Charles and Joy Gleghorn of Fayetteville, Tenn. Command At Sunrise and owner/exhibitor Ashlyn Avent of Lewisburg, Tenn., collected the yellow streamers.

            It’s interesting to note that the winners of both sections of the Youth 11 & Under Geldings were trained by Abernathy Stables of Olive Branch, Miss. Good work guys!

            The professional trainers made their first appearance of the evening in class 51, Two-Year-Old Walking Geldings (Riders’ Cup). Twelve of the 15 who called ahead beat the clock to work as Judge Mike Carpenter served as Call Judge for the event. Taking the win back South Carolina way was John FK’s John Boy and Sam Martin doing the honors for Larry McLaughlin and Stephanie Rose of Sumter, S.C. Right or Wrong and Mac Benham were reserve for Shadow Hawk Farms and Christmas of Shelbyville, Tenn. More Horsepower and Bobby Hugh were third for Rising Star Ranch, LLC of Shelbyville, Tenn.

            The Amateurs were back on the track for class 52, Owner Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions with nine of the 33 on the books making the call to work as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits. There may have only been nine in the ring, but they were nine outstanding horses, which included at least five current or past World Champions. However, only one entry could walk away with that coveted Celebration blue and that was the team of DiMaggio and owner/exhibitor Alexandria Holland of Decatur, Ala. This duo captured the win in the same division in 2009 and retired the Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors Challenge Trophy. I’m Wallstreet and Clay Mills pulled into the second spot for Corbin Mills of Mt. Airy, N.C. Ironwork’s Tin Man and Grant Jones rounded out the top three for Ray Jones Trucking of Greenville, Ky.

            From the pleasure division, class 53 featured the Lite-Shod Walking Horses with 10 of the 14 expected working down the hill to take the track to work for the Friday night crowd as Judge Tommy Loid served as Call Judge for the class. Riding to the winner’s circle, which is a familiar place for this team, with all five judges approval was Honor My Cash and Patrick Thomas riding for Mr. and Mrs. Don Parmer of Elizabethtown, Pa. Double Java and Beth Sims were reserve for the Mike Chiappari family of Santa Rosa, Calif. Gen’s Million Dollar Baby and owner/exhibitor Jimmy Laughlin of Waynesville, Mo., were third.

            One of the highlights of the evening was up next, class 53A, Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions with 18 of 32 making the call to work and get the crowd excited as Judge Spencer Benedict called the gaits. Without a doubt, this section was the most exciting class of the evening thus far and there were many outstanding horses in competition, but only one could ride away as champion and that was Copperfield and Knox Blackburn riding for the Walden family of Chattanooga, Tenn. This win was preceded by 2010 wins at the Gallatin, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show. He’s Shady In Black and Jimmy McConnell, 2010 champions at the Tony Rice Horse Show, were reserve in the class for Mike and Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas. A Strong Need For Cash and Michael Wright, 2010 champions at the National Trainers’ Show, the Spring Fun Show and the Marshall County Horse Show, were a popular third riding for Jim Roberts and Chris Walker of Wildersville and Crossville, Tenn.

            As good as that group of horses was, there was still another section to see! Class 53B, Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions brought 20 of the 34 on the books down to show the crowd just what they were worth. Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge. Riding to the winner’s circle with a unanimous decision of the panel was Mr. Heisman and Brandye Mills up for Randall and Sadie Baskin of Franklin, Tenn. This duo impressed crowds with wins at the South Alabama Charity Horse Show, the National Trainers’ Show, Arab, Ala., the FAST Showcase and the Belfast Lions Club Horse Show. Jimmy McConnell was back in the reserve position again, this time with A Bruce Pearl riding for Mike and Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas. Another Formac Stables entry, Jose’s Cool Breeze, ridden by Dan Waddell, was third for Rachel Castaldi of Skillman, N.J.

            The Park Performance horses were up next on the schedule for class 55, Park Performance Walking Horses, Four-Years & Under. Ten of the 15 expected made the gate call to work for Judge Mike Carpenter and his panel. Saying goodbye to the competition was the team of Hello Dollar and Link Webb who rode to the top of the class, just as they did earlier this year at the Lady Azules Horse Show, the Eagleville, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show, the Moore County Horse Show and the International Grand Championships, for Michael and Ann Jones of LaFayette, Ga. Ruben Goldstein and Ray Gilmer pulled into the second spot for Sewell and Katz of Bolivar, Tenn. Another West Tennessee team, Favorite Son Of JFK and owner/exhibitor Josh Wright of Reagan, Tenn., rounded out the top three.

            The young riders were back for class 56, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-14 Years on Walking Ponies. Twelve of the 16 with reservations answered official announcer Bobby Sands gate call and had the opportunity to ride away with that coveted Celebration title. Judge Nathan Clark handled the responsibilities of Call Judge. Capturing the gold with all five judges approval was Roll The Gold and Allison Thorson riding for Thor Sport Farm of Sandusky, Ohio. This win was preceded by 2010 wins at the Moore County Horse Show and the International Grand Championships. Tommy Lee Jones and owner/exhibitor Benjamin Bowen of Randolph, Miss., was reserve in the class. Ritz Tornado and Meghan Davis was third for Shamrock Farm of Cincinnati, Ohio.

            Class 57, Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, Classic Horses, 15 Years & Older brought five of the 14 on the entry books to the historic big oval to work for Call Judge Tommy Loid and his cohorts. Ah, start spreading the news because it’s the team of New York, New York and Terry Lowman riding to the winner’s circle for Larry and Terry Lowman of Shelbyville, Tenn. Gen’s Color Me In and owner/exhibitor Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn., pulled into the reserve spot. Matador and Tim Brooks picked up the yellow ribbon for Mr. and Mrs. Tim Brooks of Hot Springs, Ark.

            The elite riders were up next in class 58, Elite Owner-Amateur Gentlemen Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings. Remember, Elite is the division for riders who admit to being 50 years of age or older. Eleven of the 20 expected worked to the rail to hope to gain the approval of Judge Spencer Benedict and his staff. Riding away with that positive vote and all the honors was the team of Lebron James and Kenny Smith riding for Molly and Annabelle Smith of Manchester, Ky. High Jacked and Dr. Jim Baum stopped in for the red streamers for Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn. I’m Stan The Man and Ben Brogdon were third for Ben and Dr. Lynda Brogdon of Tallahassee, Fla.

            The professional trainers were back for class 59, Four-Year-Old Walking Geldings (Canter) (Riders’ Cup) with nine of the 14 on the entry sheets working down the hill to show for Judge Jennifer Bingham and the Friday night crowd, which was still holding on strong at 10:30 p.m. Jazz Prince and Knox Blackburn rode away with top honors in the event for Betty Corlew of Adams, Tenn. Major Frivolous and Michael Wright were reserve in the class for Sammy and Gail Cagle of Lexington, Tenn. San Quenton and Dale Watts were third for JeAnne Rea, MD of Summit, Miss.

            Class 60 brought the Park Pleasure entries to the big oval for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Pleasure Walking Horses. Ten of the 28 registered entries made the late night ride to work for Celebration acclaim under the watchful eyes of Judge Mike Carpenter and his panel. Taking the honors back out to the west coast, it was He’s On Georgia Time and owner/exhibitor Kelly Gordon of Orange, Calif., riding to the winner’s circle with a unanimous decision of the panel. Marching Orders and Andy Jones pulled in for the red ribbons riding for Ron Jones of Greeneville, Tenn. Priscilla Cash and owner/exhibitor Kelly Sherman of Boulder, Co., rounded out the top three.

            Class 61 brought the Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares to the track with 14 of the 30 expected making the call to work for their moment in the spotlight as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits for the event. Riding to the winner’s circle in the division for the second consecutive year was the team of My First Dollar and George Ann Pratt riding for Don Pratt of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. A High Dollar Charge and owner/exhibitor Beverly Sherman of Dallas, Texas were a popular reserve. Royal Fortune and Maria Derickson were third riding for Thomas Derickson of Wartrace, Tenn.

            The final class of the evening was class 62, Show Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings (Riders’ Cup). Eleven of the 28 on the program made the gate call to work through the gaits for Judge Tommy Loid and his cohorts. Riding to the blue was Be Cool and Chad Williams riding for Jeanette Warr of Phenix City, Ala. She’s One Hot Tamale and Tim Smith were reserve for Beverly McNeill of Andalusia, Ala. A Linedancer and Bill Callaway were third for S & J Enterprises and C. Bailey of Madison, Ala.

            With the final victory pass complete at 11:55 pm, the first Friday evening performance of the 72nd Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was history. Tomorrow (Saturday) will be a big day on the Celebration grounds with the morning performance starting at 9 am and also there will be Celebration Youth Day activities, Celebration Trade Fair, Celebration Bar-B-Que cook-off and much more taking place all over the grounds. Then, Sunday afternoon, the Celebration Dog Show is not to be missed.

            Of course, the horse show is the real reason why we’re all here and the Saturday evening performance will be a great one as we get that first look at the Aged Stallions that will be competing for the 2010 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship and Sunday evening, we’ll get our first look at the Junior Stallions.

            The excitement is high, indeed, and you certainly won’t want to miss a moment!