By Mark Davis


            It’s Monday night at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and it promises to be one exciting evening.  Thanks to the rescheduling of the classes that were to be held on last Friday evening, this evening may prove to be the most entertaining of the entire schedule with the Two-Year-Old Stallions, Three-Year-Old Stallions and 15.2 and Under Stallions all this evening, you’d better believe it will be a fun night.

            Rain showers have been scattered throughout the area this afternoon, but it appeared Shelbyville had been spared.  Hopefully, that will hold true throughout the evening.  The invocation for the evening performance was given by Bobby McGee of Edgemont Baptist Church, Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by the Edgemont Baptist Church quartet.

            Up first on the evening’s schedule was class 47, Two-Year-Old Walking Geldings, rescheduled from Friday evening.  Sixteen entries made their way down the hill to work for World Championship acclaim as Judge Tommy Loid called the gaits.  Topping the division was General Kennedy and Joe Cotten showing for The Rick Nesius Family of Chapel Hill, Tenn.  This had been a big day already for the Nesius Family as daughter Amy Nesius topped the Auxiliary Equitation Championship this morning.  We will see her make her victory pass with the roses a little later in the show.  OOPS On Parole and Ray Gilmer broke out for the reserve title for Tommy and Annie Jowers of Leesburg, Ga.  He’s A Powerhouse and Herbert Derickson were third for The Scott Beal Family of Wartrace, Tenn.

            Class 49 A, Three-Year-Old Stallions fell next on the evening’s schedule with 17  making the call to work their way toward World Championship acclaim in the big oval as Judge Ronnie Spears and the panel look on.  Proving to be a true warrior as he battled over the competition, reigning National Trainers’ Show and Spring Fun Show champions, He’s A Weekend Warrior and Sam Martin were very impressive as they topped the event for Jones and McLaughlin of Dillon and Florence, S.C.  Atlanta Ritz and Larry Edwards strided to the reserve position for the Carl Edwards & Sons Stables of Dawson, Ga.  Jose’s All Pro and Bill Bobo were a popular third for Dan and Janice Rowsick of Eighty Four, Pa. 

            The B division of Three Year Old Stallions featured 26 hitting the track to work for their share of World Championship acclaim as Judge Jamie Bradshaw served as Call Judge in the event.  Running away with the preliminary title was the 2005 Two-Year-Old World Grand Champions, Gen On The Run and Justin Harris, winning in 2006 at the Shelbyville Central High School Band Boosters Horse Show and the Tony Rice Horse Show, making the outstanding performance for Michael Hart of Corbin, Ky.  Command Again and Knox Blackburn took command of the red streamers for Mike and Annette Weber of Dousman, WI.  Holyfield and John Puckett were third for Bob Hill of Albemarle, N.C.

            After a quick drag of the track, it was time to proceed with the regular Monday evening schedule.  Up first, class 100, Owner-Amateur Gentleman Drivers, Fine Harness  Five of the 10 programmed entries worked for World Championship acclaim in the division as Judge Tommy Loid called the gaits.  The classic horse and many time World Champion On The Money and Ben Harrell teamed up once again to top this division for Double Springs Farm of Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Pride’s Sharp Dressed Man and Gavin Kasser drove to the red silks for Carol Ann Gavin of Dalton, Ga,, and Wartrace, Tenn.  Major Miss Understood and Tony Neill were third for Partners By Choice of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

            Up next, class 101A, Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions hit the track with 31 making the gate call.  Ah, yes, we see the future of our industry very clearly in these outstanding youngsters.  One just be looking at a future Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion and not even realize it!  Judge Huck Moss led the officiating in this event.  Due to the large crowd, it was determined that additional work would be necessary to determine the champion and 14 of the original 31 were asked to remain for additional work to see who would be crowned Two-Year-Old Stallion, Div. A World Champion.  Claiming that title would be He’s Out Of Sight and Jackie McConnell who were just that in picking up a first place tie from all five judges to make the storied victory pass for Kelly Sherman of Dallas, Texas.  Stealing reserve were Jose’s Bandit and Larry Edwards riding for Herb Murrath of Stone Mountain, Ga.  Headed back North Carolina way with third were Ozone’s Cut Above All and Derek Bonner riding for Sharon Thomas of Columbus, N.C.

            Class 101B, Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions looked to be just as exciting with 25 entries making the call to work as Judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits. I’m NRA and Keith Blackburn, champions at Columbia, Tenn.’s Spring Jubilee and Owingsville, Ky.’s Horse Show, made an outstanding performance to top the division for Linda Sisk of Columbia, Tenn.  Palm Beach Ritz and Billy Gray were a popular reserve showing for William B. and Sandra Johnson of Atlanta, Ga., and Shelbyville, Tenn.  Riding to third were Dangerous Decision and Jimmy McConnell showing for Lee Wall and Mike McGartland of Jackson, Miss.

            Class 102 brought 10 of 20 expected in the Owner-Amateur Gentleman Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses.  Judge Jamie Bradshaw served as Call Judge in the division.  Topping the division is the reigning Show Pleasure World Grand Champion Ironworks Tin Man and Grant Jones showing for SRJ Land and Cattle Co. of Greenville, Ky.  Oh, it was with a unanimous decision of the panel.  One had to know that Keith Johnson wasn’t going to stay out of the Show Pleasure division long and he’s back with Generator’s Top Dollar and picked up the reserve title.  San Juan and Eric Lackey were third for Mr. & Mrs. Eric Lackey of High Point, N.C. and Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Following class 102, Equitation Finals Champion Amy Nesius of Chapel Hill, Tenn., entered the ring to show off her talents for the Monday night crowd.  The crowd congratulated her warmly as she made her ride with the roses .

            Continuing the Monday night excitement, class 103 brought the Walking Stallions, 15.2 and Under to the ring with 16 of the 38 with reservations hitting the track as a light rain began to fall and sent the crowd searching for their ponchos.  Judge Wink Groover served as call judge for the event.  As the work got started, the light rain turned in to a rather heavy rain, but it didn’t last long and, as normal, the show carried right along.  Link Webb and Santana’s El Nino, champions in 2006 at the National Trainers’ Show, Shelbyville Central High School Band Boosters Horse Show, Columbia Spring Jubilee and Woodbury, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show,  put on an outstanding show to dominate the division and collect all five judges first place ties for Michael and Ann Jones of Lafayette, Ga.  Dragonfly and Jimmy McConnell were right behind to collect the red streamers for Bob and Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J.  Really and Joel Weaver were third for McJunkin Farms of Richardson, Texas. 

            The amateurs were back for class 104, Elite Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Stallions with 16 of the 35 entered hitting the track as the rain drug on.  Judge Wink Groover handled the Call Judges duties for the class.  Pushing their way through the storm to capture the division with a unanimous decision of the panel was reigning Elite WGC John FK’s Pusher and Robin MacDonald showing for Bruce and Robin MacDonald of Atlanta, Ga., and Shelbyville, Tenn.  This win was preceded with victories at the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, Spring Fun Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show.  Wilsene Moody and Escalade cruised in for the red silks for Opal Moody of Batesville, Ark.  Rocky Mountain Sky and Lucky Collins were third for Don and Lucky Collins of Ft. Myers, Fla. and Shelbyville, Tenn.

            The Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Performance Walking Stallions was up next, class 105, with 14 of the 32 with places held coming down the hill to show in the increasingly sloppy conditions as Judge Huck Moss led the panel.  The sloppy track sure didn’t hurt the team of The Concealed Weapon and Patti Pollack as they topped the division and had the honor of the winner’s circle photo for S & P, LLC of Saratoga, Calif.  By the way, they had a unanimous decision of the panel!  Pushing T Bone and owner/exhibitor Jamie Graham of Murfreesboro, Tenn., pulled in for red silks.  Strickly A Rocker and owner/exhibitor Lenita Erickson of Las Vegas, NV was third.

            The professional riders returned for class 106, Walking Mares, 15.2 and Under (Canter).  Fourteen of the 25 expected made the turn from the entry gate to work for Judge Ronnie Spears and his cohorts.  Topping the division and capturing her second blue of the week was My First Dollar and trainer John Allan Callaway in the irons for Don Pratt and Shawnee Mission, Kansas.  George-Ann Pratt picked up her win with the mare in the Novice division on Saturday evening.  Hosanna and Larry Edwards presented to the reserve title for The Louis Hawkersmith Family of Tullahoma, Tenn.  Knox Blackburn and Ritzy Zone were third for The Anthony Joseph Family of Columbiana, Ala.

            Adding a little variety to the schedule, class 107 brought the Owner-Amateur Western Trail Pleasure, Adult Riders (Canter) to the ring to work as organist Larry Bright pulled out his western songs and Judge Jamie Bradshaw called the gaits.  Sixteen of the 23 expected made the gate call to work for that coveted Celebration blue in the division.  Walking away with their third World Championship of the week thus far, Bluegrass Bandit and Jared Carrier topped the division on a dark and stormy night for The Carrier Family of Franklin, Tenn.  Generator’s Miss Blaze and Miles Irby, who also have a 2006 World Championship to their credit, were in the second position for Irby, Barnes & Means of Murfreesboro, Wartrace & Shelbyville, Tenn.  Push N For Pleasure and Patti Pollack collected the yellow streamers for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif.

            Class 108 brought the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings to the ring with thirteen teams working with hopes of taking home that Celebration blue as a reward for working hard on a night when most people would have rather been at home.  Judge Wink Groover served as call judge in the class.  Topping the event with a unanimous decision of the panel w  the multi-titled WC and WGC team of Silverado Spirit and Erin Graf showing for David and Erin Graf of South Portsmouth, Ky.  This win marked the duo’s fourth consecutive win in this event.  Foolish Dollar and Wilsene Moody picked up the red silks for Opal Moody of Batesville, Ark.  Liz Claborne and Henry Findley were third for Guy & Murlene Findley of Buford, Ga. 

            The final class on the evening’s schedule was class 109, Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Four-Years-Old.  Judge Tommy Loid called the division that featured nine entries working for that final blue of the evening.  Heidi Mc Williams had a wet ride to the winner’s circle, but enjoyed it all the same with The Lady Has Connections for Mc Williams Realty of Cookeville, Tenn.  Blast of Black Power and Van Barnes were reserve for Phyllis Langley of Sand Point, Idaho.  He’s Lynnard Skynnard and Donnie Headrick were third for Mr. & Mrs. Donnie Headrick of Arrington, Tenn.

Well, the evening proved to be just as exciting as was originally expected and really peaked some interest as to how tough and competitive several of the championships should prove to be later this week.  The weather also made things exciting dumping rain and a little thunder and lightning throughout the last half of the show, but it wasn’t enough to stop The Celebration.  Prior to the rain, there was an actual attendance of 9,518 on hand, up 2012 from 2005 and ranking as one of the largest Monday night crowds of all time.  Come back and join us Tuesday evening when we’ll have another great horse show highlighted by the Four-Year-Old Walking Mares, Owner-Amateur Riders on Three Year Old Walking Stallions and Show Pleasure Walking Stallions.  Come back and join us for the fun!