SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – State flags were waving around sun splashed “Big Oval”, providing a cooling breeze for fans and sending the smells of Optimist Club doughnuts and country ham from the VFW food booth wafting through the first night of the 83rd annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. Anticipation was high with 14 classes, featuring riders young and old and splits of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Stallions and the Owner-Amateur Novice Mares & Geldings classes. 

Announcer Mark Farrar gave a welcome to fans that it was “horse show time in Tennessee” as the show started at 7 p.m., right on time as always. Organist J. Brantley supplied the music for the classes filling in for long-time Celebration keyboard man Larry Bright. 

The show opened with the tradition of the Stars and Stripes presented by a rider on a white horse with Ronnie Spears doing the honors aboard White Diamond Dollar. Larry Crisman from Bright Temple Church of God in Christ gave the invocation. Stephanie Nash from Chapel Hill, Tennessee, presented a powerful rendition of our “National Anthem”.

Youth was served in the opening class with eight of 11 entries answering the gate call for the Owner-Amateur Youth 6-11 Mares class. Extra Special Jose and Emma Wright retired the Ebony Go Boy’s Dream Challenge Trophy with their third world championship ride in the class. Wright, from Reagan, Tennessee, co-owns Extra Special Jose with Sammy and Gayle Cagle of Lexington, Tennessee. Miss Ebony Rose bloomed to a reserve finish John Winston Clark in the saddle for The Clark Family and Sudie Reed. Dixie Rita was third co-owner and exhibitor Aaleah Ann Bell and Mike and Kristie Bell.

Mr. Heisman and Bruce MacDonald rode to top honors in the Elite Owner-Amateur Gentlemen Riders on Stallions World Championship as seven of 13 entries competed. It was the fourth world championship for Mr. Heisman with wins in 2020, 2019 and 2018 and the second blue in a row this year for Bruce and Robin MacDonald of Shelbyville, Tennessee. It was the first world title for Bruce aboard Mr. Heisman. Cash Agenda carried away a red ribbon with Jimbo Conner in the saddle. Jose’s Premier and Ron Lawrence won the third award. 

When the gate closed, 10 of 14 entries were ready for the Owner-Amateur Pony Stallions class. Shelbyville’s Lisa Baum did not swing and miss as she guided Strike to the world championship. The pair has four wins in five shows in 2021. Win Dixie A received the red ribbon with Gail Walling in the irons. Dark Rain took home a yellow streamer with Taylor Walters riding for Stewart and Walters.

The Trail Pleasure class attracted seven entries of the 10 listed in the program. Blacklist was most wanted by the judges for the world championship. Carrie Martin DeJarnatte was aboard for owner Sherry Kessler of Mount Juliet, Tennessee. I’m Thunderstruck N.D.R. was ridden to second by David Mast for owners Wayne and Debbie Simons. Honey Badger was third with Hannah Myatt riding for LaMar DePoyster.

Twenty horses were entered in class 30A, Owner-Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallions and 15 entered the ring. Sam I Am Jose may not like green eggs and ham, but he and Dr. Ann Rea of Ellisville, Mississippi, loved the color blue of their unanimous world championship. It was the fourth blue in a row and the fifth of the season for the duo. Maverick MHF and Amber Zahnd walked away with reserve honors. Chaos SF was given a yellow streamer with Meghan Hammond riding for Shamrock Farms. 

The Owner-Amateur Western Park Pleasure class welcomed five entries of the six officially entered. A Titleist Masterpiece and Blake Cammack won the world championship for Champion Stables of Longview, Texas. It was the third blue in a row and the fifth of 2021 for the team. Armed But Kid’N was ridden to the reserve award by owner Sister Milligan. Boston Bay was the third tie with Alex Johnson in the irons. 

Division B of the Owner-Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallions featured 12 of the 20 entries listed In the program. A Shade Of Jose and Eric Lackey of High Point, North Carolina, won the world championship. It was the third blue for 2021 for the duo. Jose’s Scat Cat and Ben Moss were reserve, while Kid Can Do was third with Robert Deutsch.

Nine of 14 original entries were in the ring for the Owner-Amateur Youth 15-17 Mares & Geldings class. Punisher and Counti Green showed no mercy on the rest of the class winning the world championship. Green and Barbara Smith co-own the winner. I’m Coach Cal rode to a red ribbon with MacKenzie Lawrence in the saddle for Jamie Lawrence. Los Lobos, with Brody Bradshaw aboard for Jamie Bradshaw, walked away with third.

In the Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions class 10 entries of the 15 in the program were ready to compete when the gate closed. Marty McFly and Janice Fostek won the world championship for the third year in a row. With the unanimous decision of the judges, the team is undefeated in four shows in 2021 for owner Joe Fostek from Roanoke, Virginia. He’s Made In The USA and Gayle Holcomb walked away with second, while Command On Parole and Sheryl Crawford took home a yellow ribbon for Saddlecrest Farms.

A total of 16 entries entered the ring in Division A of the Owner-Amateur Novice Ladies on Mares & Geldings class failed to show. Winning their first world championship at The Celebration was Harley Quinn and Beth Collins of Pilgrims Knob, Virginia. It was their second blue in a row this season. Legally Blond M and Brenda Marmon received a red ribbon. Jose’s Lilly Rose rode out with a yellow streamer with Elizabeth Tew in the saddle for Kimble and Madeline Tew.

The Five & Under Park Performance class listed 13 entries, but only six showed. I Talk The Talk THF has something to talk about with a world championship performance. Jeff Laughlin was in the irons for Russell Enterprises and Carol Missildine from Smithfield, North Carolina. Wanted THF and Patrick Thomas were second for the Manis and Pope partnership. Just Jose It was third with Jonathan Baskin aboard for owner Kim Leonard. 
Division B of the Owner-Amateur Novice Ladies Mares & Geldings class saw 16 of the 17 entries in the big oval. Charlie’s Perfect Angel lived up to her name granting Tara Rhoades from China Grove, North Carolina, her dream of her first ever Celebration world title. It was their third win in a row and sixth of 2021. Miss Stone’s Cash and Lynda Botsch took home a red ribbon, while Kendra White rode Where’s My Cash to third.

The Owner-Amateur Park Performance Mares & Geldings class featured 16 entries competing. Gin In Everything was named the world champion with John Gladney riding for Gladney Farms of Homer, Louisiana. It was their third blue in a row and their sixth for 2021. Do Right took the red ribbon with Dr. Jim Baum in the stirrups for Lisa Baum. Top Recruit was awarded the third place spot with Darlene Harris riding. 

In the finale of the night, 16 of 23 entries presented themselves for the Owner-Amateur Lady Show Pleasure class. With the moon peeking out of the clouds, Epic was just that winning the wWorld championship in the class for the second year in a row with Meghan Hammond riding for Shamrock Farms of Shelbyville, Tennessee. They are undefeated in four shows in 2021. He’s A Jailbird J.A. and Sherry Bonner were reserve for Joe Bertram. The Crimson Sky was awarded third with Ashley Case in the saddle for Judy Case.