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The Dixie Lineman and Play Something Country Impress In Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion Divisions

by Mark Davis


            Finally, it’s here! For most horse show fans, the 11 days that make up the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration can never come around quick enough and are always over far to quickly. Yes, there are some long days and even longer nights. Sometimes it’s too hot, sometimes it’s too wet and even sometimes it can be a little too cool, all challenges of an outdoor arena. But, to the real horse show fans, it’s all worth it. The horses, the people, the food, the friends from across the country that you only see once a year . . .nothing else comes close. Yes, it’s finally here and it’s finally horse show time in Tennessee!

            In reality, the show started with classes on Wednesday Morning in Calsonic Arena and continued this morning, but for many fans, it’s just not The Celebration until things get underway in the big oval.

            Fourteen classes highlight the evening’s schedule, highlighted by the Young Riders 11 & Under on Walking Mares, the Three-Year-Old Walking Geldings, Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, 15.2 & Under, Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions and Walking Geldings 15.2 & Under, just to name a few. Without a doubt, it’s going to be a great night.

            The judges for the 72nd Annual 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 official Celebration flag horse, Counterfeit Dollar and World Grand Champion rider Bud Seaton of Milton, Tenn., make their way down the hill and through the historic gates to get the show underway.

            The invocation for the evening was given by Pastor Bobby McGee of the Edgemont Baptist Church, Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by the Edgemont Baptist Church Quartet.

            With one final pass by Bud Seaton and Counterfeit Dollar, it was time for official Celebration announcer Bobby Sands to call for the first class of the evening, class 26, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Walking Mares. Seven of the 11 on the books made their way down the hill to work for the appreciative Thursday night crowd as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits. Riding to the top of the class for the second consecutive year was the team of Moonstruck Dollar and owner/exhibitor Lake Weaver of Shelbyville, Tenn. This duo is the reigning Youth 11 & Under WGC and secured 2010 wins at the National Trainers’ Show and the Spring Fun Show. Showboat Silk and Savannah Martin pulled in for the reserve honors for Beard, Martin and Way of Troy and Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Hopkinsville, Ky. Headed back Carolina way, Beretta Mama and Landon Callicutt were third for John Callicutt of Seagrove, N.C.

            The Elite riders were up next on the evening’s schedule for class 27, Elite Owner-Amateur Gentleman Riders on Walking Stallions with 12 of the 21 expected beating the timer to work for Judge Tommy Loid and his staff. Making that sentimental journey down victory lane tonight with the winning hand was All In and Mike Inman riding for Mike and Karen Inman of Bessemer, Ala. This win was preceded by wins at Jackson, Miss.’s Mississippi State Charity Horse Show, Verona, Miss.’s Faith Haven Horse Show and the Spring Fun Show. The Ultra Doc and owner/exhibitor Dr. Jim Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn., proudly accepted the reserve streamers. The Thug and owner/exhibitor Luckey Easterling of Mize, Miss., rode away with the yellow ribbons.

            The professional trainers made their first appearance of the Thursday evening performance in class 28, Three-Year-Old Walking Geldings (Riders’ Cup). Sixteen of the 32 with reservations made the gate call to work for the approval of the judges and the crowd in the division. Judge Spencer Benedict served as Call Judge for the class. Making one GOOD performance to top the division with a unanimous decision of the panel, One Bad Hombre and Rodney Dick rode away with the win for Jimmy Smith of Oliver Springs, Tenn. 9 In The Sky and Mac Benham pulled into the second position for Noreen Knudson of Roanoke Rapids, N.C. Rounding out the top three was Smokin’ Joe Ritz and Tim Smith in the irons for Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Jowers of Leesburg, Ga.

            Class 29A featured the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions with 19 of the 34 in the official Lions Club program making their way down the hill to work under the watchful eyes of Judge Jennifer Bingham and her cohorts. Riding to the win in the section was Jim Woodburn and Generator’s Edge showing for LaRue McWaters of Ashford, Ala. Night Shade’s Threat and Richard Evans rode away with the red streamers for Alvis Porter and Richard Evans of Holden, W.Va. Headed back to the Lone Star state with third was owner/exhibitor Deborah Williams of Argyle, Texas with The Big Lick.

            Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions, class 29B, featured 19 of the 31 on the entry sheets working for their moment in the spotlight as Judge Mike Carpenter handled the duties as Call Judge. Pushing their way to the winner’s circle with an outstanding performance and taking the win back to ‘ole Virginia was I’m Pushin’ N Line and Janice Fostek riding for Joe and Janice Fostek of Roanoke, Va.  Fostek and I’m Pushin’ N Line found 2010 success at Cookeville, Tenn.’s Upper Cumberland Horse Show, Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Bedford County 4-H Horse Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show.  I’m A Jazz Thing and Sherri Pollack were in the second spot for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. Headed back up to the Buckeye state, Big And Stout and Bruce Vaughn were third for Bruce and Linda Vaughn of Valley City, Ohio.

            The young riders were back for class 30, Owner-Amateur Riders 15-17 Years on Walking Mares or Geldings with 12 of the 18 programmed entries making the call to work as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits. It was no secret what team put on an outstanding performance to ride away with the coveted Celebration win, it was Victoria’s Secret and owner/exhibitor Maisie McSwain of Duluth, Ga. She’s Push In Command and Lindsay Hess were close behind in the second spot for Connie Hess of Harrisonburg, Va. Busting Special and Taylor Walters pulled in to pick up the yellow ribbon in the competitive class for Molly Walters of Rancho Mirage, Calif.    

            Class 31 gave the Thursday night crowd their first look at the Park Performance division of the 2010 Celebration in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Performance Walking Mares or Geldings. Eighteen of the 22 with reservations worked down to the historic big oval to work under the watchful eyes of Judge Tommy Loid and his panel. Another blue heads back to Virginia after owner/exhibitor Jamie Gardner of Bridgewater, Va., made an outstanding performance with her striking white horse, High Fashion Statement to capture the win. This duo picked up 2010 wins at the Spring Fun Show and Jackson, Tenn.’s Mid South Horse Show. San Juan and Eric Lackey headed back Carolina way with reserve for Mr. and Mrs. Eric Lackey of Thomasville, N.C. All American Ritz and Marian Wright were third for Cynthia Wright of Jackson, Tenn.

            Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, 15.2 & Under were up next on the schedule, class 32, with 17 of the 30 on the books taking the rail to show off their very best for Judge Spencer Benedict and his cohorts. Making the stellar performance in a tough class drawing big cheers from the crowd was the team of Texas Joe Black and Kathy Zeis riding for Steve and Kathy Zeis of Douglasville, Ga. This win was preceded with 2010 wins at Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Walking For Cancer Horse Show and the Spring Fun Show. I’m NRA and David Sisk were close behind in the second spot for Linda Sisk of Columbia, Tenn. Rocky Mountain Sky and Lucky Collins picked up the yellow ribbon for husband, Don Collins of Bell Buckle, Tenn.

            Class 33A featured the Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings. Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge for the class that brought 17 of the 22 expected down from the warm up ring to work for their chance at that very first Celebration blue tonight. Riding out of the novice division and taking the honors back home to the Magnolia State was the team of Shakin For Cash and Madeline Tew in the saddle for Kimble and Madeline Tew of Waynesboro, Miss. George Clooney and Bethany Allred remain novices for another day as they were in the second position for the Fred Allred family of Jamestown, Tenn. General’s Show Stopper and Brenda Little were third for Little and Williams of Spring Grove, Pa. &and Shelbyville, Tenn.

            The Novice riders were back for class 33B, Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings. Fifteen of the 22 with reservations came down the chute to work for their first ever moment in the spotlight as Judge Mike Carpenter called the gaits in the section. Making their last show in the Novice division, I’m All Natural and owner/exhibitor Jennifer Allen put on a great show to garner the blue and carry it home to Pilot Mountain, N.C. This duo has had a successful year on the North Carolina circuit with wins at the North Carolina Spring Show, Wise, Va.’s Wise County Classic, the North Carolina Ladies Auxiliary Show, Dobson, N.C.’s Foothills Classic and the Walking For A Purpose Show. Jose’s Illusion and owner/exhibitor Maria Esters of Trussville, Ala., were reserve in the section. Twisted Chief and Joyce Brady were third for Joyce and Bill Brady of Byhalia, Miss.

            Owner – Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions, class 34A, was up next on the program with nine of the 24 expected making the gate call to work for the good crowd that was still on hand as the hour traveled past 10:30 p.m. Judge Nathan Clark served as Call Judge for the split. Drawing the winning line in the section with a unanimous decision of the panel was The Dixie Lineman and Gail Walling riding for Judy McDonald of Tullahoma, Tenn. This team has had an undefeated season in 2010 with wins at the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, the Lady Azules Horse Show, the Columbia Spring Jubliee, the Tony Rice Horse Show and the Marshall County Horse Show. The Sicilian and Suzanne Moore picked up the red streamers for R. Bud Moore of Catherine, Ala. Cashing In On The Faith and April Jeffers rounded out the top three for Richard Jeffers of Greeneville, Tenn.

            Twenty-two of 24 expected responded to the call for class 34B, Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions to work for Judge Tommy Loid and his panel. Playing that winning tune was the team of Play Something Country and owner/exhibitor Jeff Smith of Greer, S.C. This duo captured 2010 wins at the National Trainers’ Show, the Walking For Cancer Horse Show and the Spring Fun Show. Star In The Making and Kevin Reece were reserve for the Jimmy Reece family of Pikeville, Tenn. Late Night Caller and Jennifer Lee were third for Diann Brown of Covington, Va.

            The professional trainers were back for their final appearance of the night in class 35, Walking Geldings, 15.2 & Under (Canter) (Riders’ Cup). Seven of the eight with reservations worked their way to the track to work for top honors in the event as Judge Spencer Benedict called the gaits. The Prime Suspect and John Allan Callaway picked up the win in the division for Candra Carroll of Sevierville, Tenn. He’s Wild Eyed & Wicked and Knox Blackburn pulled into the second spot for Eva Eddleman of Chattanooga, Tenn. I’m Indy Jones and Jimmy McConnell captured third for Kimble and Madeline Tew of Waynesboro, Miss.

            The final class of the evening performance was class 36, Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses. Twenty of the 30 on the official Lions Club program made the last gate call of the night to work for Judge Jennifer Bingham and her staff. Topping the division with a unanimous decision was the team of Godfather By Ultra Copy and Courtney Luttrell riding for Alex Luttrell of Alvaton, Ky. Zulu and Suzanne Moore were reserve for R. Bud Moore of Catherine, Ala. Simply Thrilling and Lucky Collins garnered the golden streamers for Don Collins of Bell Buckle, Tenn.

            With Celebration organist Larry Bright playing “Just The Way You Are” and that final victory pass complete at 11:40 p.m., the first Thursday night of the 72nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was in the record books. Make sure to be back in Shelbyville on Friday evening and get to check out the Youth 11 & Under on Walking Geldings, the Youth 14 & Under on Walking Ponies and the Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions, just to name a few. Then, of course, on Saturday night, we’ll get our first look at the Aged Stallions who will be contending for the 2010 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship. An exciting weekend it promises to be, so you don’t want to miss a moment!

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