By Mark Davis

It’s been a rainy Monday in Shelbyville and it appears that the rain will not let up by show time so it will most likely be a rainy night for a horse show in Shelbyville as well.  As badly as Middle Tennessee needs the rain, horse show fans everywhere were hoping that Mother Nature just might hold off long enough to get the horse show completed as there is one great night of horse show ahead of us featuring three sections of Two-Year-Stallions, 15.2 and Under Stallions and 15.2 and Under Mares just to name a few.

Of course, the horse show will go on, provided there’s no lightning in the area and the weather man didn’t mention any indication of lightning, so we should be able to complete the horse show.

The judges for the 70th annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, who will be donning their rain suits rather than tuxedos tonight, include Rollie Beard of Lewisburg, Tenn., Nathan Clark of Arab, Ala., Jamie Hankins of Paris, Ky., Tommy Howell of Shelbyville, Tenn., and Mack Motes of Eagleville, Tenn.

The invocation for the evening was delivered by Glen Forsee of the First Assembly of God of Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Kimberly Cornett of Farmersville, Ohio.

Promptly at 7 pm, evening announcer Chip Walters welcomed official flag horse Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton to the big oval, reminding the crowd on hand that the World’s Greatest Horse Show always goes on, rain or shine.

The first class on the evening’s schedule, class 103, brought the Owner-Amateur Gentlemen Drivers, Fine Harness down to the weather beaten track with six of the nine with reservations making the call to work for Judge Mack Motes and his staff.  Driving to the top of the event was Jazz’s Master and Buddy Stasney at the whip for Lisa and Bryce Stasney of Lincolnton, N.C.  Curtis Williamson and Wire Transfer drove in to pick up the reserve honors to take home to Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Pushover In Dixie and Gavin Kasser were third for Belle Meadow Farm of Wartrace, Tenn.

Class 104A, the first of three sections of Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions was up next on the book for the evening with 21 of the 43 on the program splashing their way down to the big oval to work in the class.  Judge Rollie Beard served as Call Judge for the section.  Finding the magic on rainy a night in Shelbyville was The Magic Of Jazz and Chad Williams riding for Warr Development of Phenix City, Ala. & Shelbyville, Tenn.   This win marks Williams’ first win in the professional division at The Celebration.  Another interesting fact, Williams’ first ever Celebration blue came with Roll The Gold in 2006, who was shown by Spud Warr and owned by Warr Development.   Cashin’ In At Dawn and Herbert Derickson pulled in to the second spot for Ridgemont Farms of Blacksburg, Va.  Perfection Of Jazz and Joe Martin accepted the yellow streamers for Gus King of Arab, Ala.

Two-Year-Old Stallions, Class 104B, featured 17 of the 39 with reservations coming down to show off for the crowd, that had grown since the beginning of the show despite the rain, and has been very vocal throughout the evening.  Judge Nathan Clark led the panel in the section.  Making a straight line run to the winner’s circle, with the approval of all five judges, was Strait Line Cash and Philip Trimble, champions at Mt. Pleasant, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show and Fayetteville, Tenn.’s Blue Ribbon Horse Show, making the stellar performance for Richard Justice of Pinson, Ala.  He’s Slim Shady and Jimmy McConnell rode into the second position for Lee Wall and Mike McGartland of Jackson, Miss., and Forth Worth, Texas.  Rounding out the top three was The Sicilian and Knox Blackburn up for Bud and Suzanne Moore of Catherine, Ala.

Class 104C, featured another outstanding section of Two-Year-Old Stallions with 20 of the 40 expected working hard as Judge Jamie Hankins called the gaits in the class.  Making that classic ride to the winner’s circle in the event with an outstanding performance was Beverly Hills Ritz and Jimmy McConnell in the irons for the Tommy Grider family of Columbia, Ky.  This outstanding young stallion captured top honors at Henderson, Tenn.’s Chester County Lions Club Horse Show and was reserve World Champions Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallion with Julie Grider-Tucker on Thursday evening.  Almost knocking it out of the park, Swing Batter Batter Swing and Scotty Brooks were reserve for Jimmie and Judie Richards of Brownsville, Ky.  I’m Into Cash and Larry Edwards were third for Chuck and Sharon Tolhurst of Palmetto, Fla.

Back in the amateur division, 18 of the 37 on the books made the soggy trip down to the historic Celebration arena to work in class 105, Owner-Amateur Gentleman Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses.  Judge Tommy Howell served as Call Judge for the event.  Riding away to the land of Oz with the win, coming via a unanimous decision of the panel, was Ironwork's Tin Man and Steve Jones up for Ray Jones Trucking of Greenville, Ky.  This team also won this division in 2007 and picked up 2008 wins at the National Trainers’ Show, the Spring Fun Show, the Columbia Spring Jubilee and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show.  Stewart Little and Red Strickland pulled into the second spot for Red and Dot Strickland of Olive Branch, Miss.  Cut A Rug and owner/exhibitor Kyle Bush of Baxter, Tenn., accepted the yellow streamers.

During a break in the action, the Monday night crowd welcomed 2008 Equitation World Grand Champion Amy Nesius of Chapel Hill, Tenn., to the big oval and cheered her on as she made her victory lap with the blue ribbon and the roses.

The trainers were back for class 106, Walking Stallions, 15.2 and Under (Canter) with 19 of the 45 registered for the division making the call to show off their very best for Judge Mack Motes and his cohorts.  Flying away with the good win in the deep division was the reigning 15.2 and Under WGC Dragonfly and Jimmy McConnell in the irons for Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J.  This win was preceded by 2008 wins at Panama City Beach, Fla.’s Gulf Coast Charity Celebration and Memphis, Tenn.’s Germantown Charity Horse Show. Shock Jock and Mickey McCormick rode to the reserve in the class for Walker Coleman of Money, Miss.  Joel Weaver and Formula One were third for Anthony and Brooks Depierro of Delray Beach, Fla.

The Park Pleasure entries took to the track for class 107, Owner-Amateur Riders 50 and Over on Park Pleasure Walking Horses with 13 of the 26 expected making their way to work as Judge Rollie Beard called the gaits in the class.  Topping the event and picking up his third win of the 2008 Celebration was Santana’s Coin teamed this time with John McNeely riding for McNeely and Landrum of Blowing Rock, N.C. and Franklin, Tenn.  This win came by way of a unanimous decision of the judging panel.  Tijuana Tex and Darden Gladney were second in the class for Gladney Farms of Homer, La.  Heading back up to the Upper Cumberland with the third award was The Lady Has Connections and Heidi McWilliams for McWilliams and Beaty of Cookeville, Tenn.

Class 108 featured the Elite Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Stallions with 16 of the 40 with reservations made their way down to the big oval to work for Judge Nathan Clark and his panel.  Making the stunning performance to ride away with the win was the stylish team of The Golden Sovereign and Virginia Stewart riding for Evergreen Walking Horse Farm of Shelbyville, Tenn.  This win added to an impressive 2008 resume that featured wins at the National Trainers’ Show, Jackson, Miss.’s Mississippi Charity Horse Show and Pulaski, Tenn.’s Red Carpet Horse Show Of The South.  Reigning Elite WGC John FK’s Pusher and Robin MacDonald were reserve for Bruce and Robin MacDonald of Atlanta, Ga., and Shelbyville, Tenn.  Black Cash Delight and Gail Walling picked up the golden streamers for Judy McDonald of Tullahoma, Tenn.

Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Performance Walking Stallions were up in class 109 with nine of the 18 on the books walking to the very sloppy track to work for Judge Jamie Hankins as he worked hard to keep his rain hat out of his face.  Working hard as they were hungry for a big win, I’m Money Hungry and Alexis Tooley were looking good as they rode to the winner’s circle in the section for Sarah Withers and Alexis Tooley of Bowling Green, Ky.  This team has done well all season on the Kentucky circuit collecting wins at Stanford, Ky.’s Lincoln County Fair Horse Show, Columbia, Ky.’s Adair County Fair Horse Show, Liberty, Ky.’s Casey County Horse Show and Russell Springs, Ky.’s Russell County Fair Horse Show.  The Concealed Weapon and Patti Pollack were reserve for the Robert Pollack family of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  Owner/exhibitor Susan Coleman of Unionville, Tenn., and Olympic’s Supergizer were third.

Walking Mares, 15.2 and Under were up for class 110 with 10 of the 19 programmed entries beating the clock to work in the division under the watch of Judge Tommy Howell and his cohorts.  Riding to the win in the class was the former Mare WGC Watch For Glory and Herbert Derickson up for Erica and Maria Derickson of Wartrace, Tenn.  The Magic Line and Gary Edwards pulled into the second position for Dr. and Mrs. W.H. Hill of Powder Springs, Ga.  Blues Que and Bill Cantrell accepted the yellow ribbon for Larry and Linda Few of Six Mile, S.C.

The pleasure horses were up for class 111, Owner-Amateur Western Trail Pleasure, Adult Riders (Canter) with twelve of the 17 on the program taking their chance to ride in the big oval, even if the conditions were less than the best.  Judge Mack Motes served as Call Judge in the class. Walking away with the in was Ms. Street Walker and Denise Bader-Keyser  for Ralph Pinner and Denise Bader-Keyser of Senatobia, Miss. & Wemding, Germany.  Keeping it a little closer to home, A Sure Fire and Lynn Marchetti were reserve for Lynn Marchetti of Cottontown, Tenn.  Delight Silver Design and owner/exhibitor Darren Gray of Clermont, Fla. were third.

Class 112 highlighted the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings with 10 teams making their way from the dry confines of the warm up ring to the not so dry big oval.  Judge Rollie Beard called the gaits in the section.  Displaying that winning spirit that carried them all the way to the top was the great team of Silverado Spirit and Erin Graf capturing the win for David and Erin Graf of South Portsmouth, Ky.  With this win, coupled with a 2006 win in this division, the duo retires the Nelgene Bourne Memorial Challenge Trophy.  Jose’s Favorita and Grant Jones pulled into the second position for Ray Jones Trucking of Greenville, Ky. Royal Luck and Clay Mills were third for Corbin Mills of Mt. Airy, N.C.

The final class of the evening featured the Owner/Amateur Riders on Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Four-Years-Old with seven of the 11 with reservations making the wet ride as Judge Nathan Clark led the panel in the section.  Riding to the win with a unanimous decision of the panel was Yao Ming and owner/exhibitor Nicole Coffey of Lewisburg, Tenn.  Remington Wing Master and J.B. Grenier were reserve for Barnes and Grenier of Tullahoma, Tenn.  Williwalkin' and owner/exhibitor Sharon Higginbotham of Lewisburg, Tenn. were third.

It might have been a wet night in Shelbyville, but it was still one great horse show for those brave enough to stick it out with 178 horses showing in 13 classes.  Pretty impressive indeed.

Make plans to be back in Shelbyville tomorrow evening when, at least hopefully, the weather will break and we can really enjoy everything that makes The Celebration great!