Posted August 24, 2001

by Carole Hargett

Tonight the Celebration moved to the “big oval”. The track was in peak condition, the trophies and ribbons were in their appropriate places, and fans filled the stands. Familiar faces were seen as everyone prepared for the first Thursday night: announcer, Chip Walters, organist, Larry Bright and photographer, Jack Greene.

In addition to the record number of entries this year, the first Thursday night crowd established a new record of attendance with 10,263 people through the gates of 20,679 paid admissions. It was also a repeat of the first Thursday night in 2000 as “workout” became a familiar word to those in attendance.

There were three split classes, the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions, the Three-Year-Old Walking Mares and the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions, Specialty.

Snow On The Mountain and Bud Seaton presented the national colors in great Celebration tradition. The Reverend Michael Welch gave the invocation and Mark Halsey sang the National Anthem.

The evening started as the young riders entered the ring for class 24, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders on Walking Mares, Riders 11 Years and Under. Ten riders made the trip into the ring of the possible 13 entered. Carpenter called the class to perform their gaits. One rider asked for and received permission to leave before the judges tied the class. “Welcome to My World” played as the youngsters awaited the decision. Two challenge trophies were presented. The Ebony’s Go Boy’s Dream Challenge Trophy and the Clovis G. Chappell Challenge Trophy. First blue of the first night in a good class was Pushin The Limits and Madison Holloway for Overcash and Kinkaid of Davidson, NC. Following Holloway for reserve was 10 time world champion, Gen’s Sundance Lady with Maisie McSwain up. The classic horse and winner of last year’s class was world grand champion, Generator’s Fantasia and Maria Holland who garnered the third place tie.

The Three-Year-Old Walking Geldings, class 25 opened with an announcement that a workout would be held. “Make your ride count”, said Chip Walters. Thirty-eight riders and horses of the 49 registered did just that. Exhibitors filled the ring, sometimes three and four horses deep to get the judges attention. As the class lined up, a time out was called but quickly resumed. Hand assumed the duties of call judge. One entry was excused from the line up. Eight entries were selected for the initial park-in and eight more numbers were added to those already selected. Three more entries asked for and received permission to be excused. Sixteen exhibitors readied themselves to compete for championship honors. Mr. Fitzgerald ridden by Ramsey Bullington for Caryl Rose of Franklin, Tenn. made the victory pass. Ray Gilmer directed reserve champion, Kat Man Dude for Mr. & Mrs. L. H. Gaines. Hot on their heels was the two-year-old world champion gelding, Pushin That Jazz and Joe Martin as they received the yellow ribbon.

It was Hankins turn to assume the call judge duties for class 25, Division A of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions. Riders were given notice of the inevitable workout as soon as the gate closed. Fifty-nine entries were listed, however 25 answered the call. Nine riders initially were called to park in; five numbers were called to join the original nine as competition continued. Riders carefully picked their spot on the rail and they were off and “walking”. The roar came from the crowd as they hit the running walk.

The Mary and John C. Miller Memorial Challenge Trophy was presented for the second challenge. Accepting the challenge and class trophy and the blue ribbon was I’m Willie Wonka and Janice Fostek of Roanoke, Va. A force to be reckoned with all year long, they have also posted wins at Bethesda and Lynchburg. Close behind was Bebopper and Patti Gray for Tim and Patti Gray of Shelbyville, Tenn. as they carried away the reserve honors. A good third was Ritz’s Perfect Touch and Californian, Susan Gordon for Arthur and Susan Gordon.

Division B of class 26 was called by Martin. The judges received 27 exhibitors into the ring of a possible 52 entries. One entry asked for permission to leave the ring and permission was granted before the workout began. A short time out was taken prior to the entries returning to the rail. The twelve riders who made the cut put on a good show and the crowd acknowledged their efforts. Earning their victory the hard way in the stiff competition was Darwin Oordt and The Total Score sired by his stallion, Pusher’s Big Score. This winning team has built quite a treasure chest of trophies this season. McDonald and Oordt own this entry. Jeanine Gullet and her new acquisition, The Golden Sovereign, were a competitive second. I’ve Got The Blues and Gail Walling were not crying the blues when they claimed the third place tie.

Bring ‘em on, bring ‘em on. Class 27, Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares and Geldings, Five Years and Over, Over 15.2 was not split this year. Thirteen entered this canter class of the 22 possible. The smaller number of entries enabled the exhibitors room to gain the eye of the judges. The Pat Kimbrough Memorial Challenge Trophy donated by the Kimbrough family of Atlanta, Ga. will be presented in the class. The trophy must be won three times for permanent possession. Bragging rights went to Backfield In Motion and Holly Liddell as they advanced to blue ribbon status from their reserve tie last year. James Walker for Teera Walker claimed the red ribbon on Pusher’s Twist of Fate. Trial Run, a world champion himself, had owner Eric Lackey aboard when they picked up the third tie.

The track was smoothed out as class 28 prepared to enter for the Park Pleasure Driving, 2 or 4 Wheel Vehicle class. A variety of carts and buggies sparked the interest of the crowd as thirteen of a possible 19 entries entered to the tune of “Surrey with the Fringe on Top”. Carpenter again assumed call judge duties. The track was full as each entry carefully chose a strategic position. As the class lined up head to tail around the ring, spectators were able to fully appreciate the interesting and beautiful entries. Both horse and driver were all judged on their neatness and attire, and tack as well as the horse’s way-of- going.

Adding to the world championship titles, Mr. Mission Impossible owned by Gayle Smith of Houston, Texas made this mission possible. Larry Derryberry was at the whip as they made their victory pass. Taking the red ribbon home to Waterfall Farms was WHAM and Dr. Mike Harry. Bob Medina was at the whip as he guided his entry, Cicero to third place honors.

Thirty four ladies, mares that is, took to the ring for Division A of the Three-Year-Old Walking Mares. There were 48 eligible to vie for honors. A workout was on everyone’s mind as the class reversed. One entry exited the ring prior to the line up. Sure enough, seven numbers were called initially and seven more were added for the judges consideration. The Cliff Gillespie Memorial Challenge Trophy will be presented for the first time this year. The Jack Warren Memorial Challenge Trophy and The Dr. Dewitt Owen Memorial Challenge Trophy will also be presented to the winning entry.

It has certainly been a night for workouts. But it was no miracle as Joe Cotton and Miracle At The Ritz were victorious in the tough class. Denise Smith of Brentwood, Tenn. owns this entry. It was a sweet reserve tie for world champion, Sweetie Sky and Link Webb for James and Peggy Vernon. Bringing home the third place ribbon was The Paper Rose ridden by Allen Callaway. John and Susie Harmon are the owners.

If Division A was any indication of the show expected in Division B, then everyone was in for a treat. The Three-Year-Old Walking Mares again filled the ring with 33 entries in class 29B. As expected, the inevitable workout was announced as soon as the gate closed. Each entry did their best to catch the judge’s eye as the fine-looking horses packed the track. Hankins directed the calls. Seven numbers were announced. Four entries requested permission to leave and it was granted. Eight numbers were added to the initial seven for a 15 horse workout. Lock and Load and Jimmy McConnell locked in the Celebration blue for owners Mr. & Mrs. Odell McConnell. Rodney Dick and Kissed By JFK accepted the second place tie for owner Debbie Fly of Columbia, Tenn. Link Webb and Mistress were not shy about carrying away the yellow ribbon for William and Susan Johnson.

Larry Bright welcomed the next class into the ring with “Tiny Bubbles”. Martin called the class of Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, Specialty, Riders 5o Years and Over. Class 30 got underway with 28 answering the gate call of a possible 50. The entries now rode to “If They Could See Me Now”. Perhaps it should have been “Baby Workout”. This time 14 horses made the workout. World grand champion, Pride’s Sundance Star and Kay Green picked up another world championship for Kay and husband Jim Green. Poplar Creek Farms greeted their reserve champion, I’m Busted with Charles Wharton up. World champion, Blues and Wilsene Moody earned the third tie.

The ladies were in the limelight as Tuck called class 31, Show Pleasure Walking Horses, Specialty, Amateur Lady Riders. Twenty-two ladies fought for that Celebration blue of the 33 possible. An across the board unanimous decision was rendered for the 2000 show pleasure world grand champion, Coinmaker. Suzanne Littrell took another victory ride for Bud Moore and Suzanne Littrell. Scoring a reserve tie was Slippin Around & Scored and Sheron Richmond. Patti Pollack and Pusharama earned the third place ribbon.

Division A of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions, Specialty welcomed 31 horses and riders of 38 listed. It was now Carpenter’s turn to call the class. A time out was called for a lost action devise. After it was located, the class promptly resumed. What would a class be without a workout? In typical fashion tonight, six were called to park in. Ten additional numbers provided a 16 horse run for the blue. Brother Splash won the world championship honors with Pat Rigual in the irons. This good entry is the property of Dr. & Mrs. Rigual. A close second, Dr. Perfect and Sandra Hodgson captured the reserve title. Woodbury champion, Capone and owner/rider Mike Hooper earned the yellow ribbon.

Class 32B welcomed 27 entries for the first workout as the exhibitors entered the ring and the gate closed. Shortly after that, a time out was called for a cast shoe. Larry Bright kept the crowd entertained while the farrier made repairs. Watchtower and Robby Biggs added another world championship to their resume. Carolyn Miller and Command At Sunrise were on the heels of the winning entry as they accepted the reserve honors. Bill Johnson earned the third tie on Spirit’s Midnight Rider, property of William and Sandra Johnson.

Last but not least, the Walking Geldings, 15.2 and Under, class 33, received 13 entries of 24 listed. A loyal crowd stayed to see the class tied. Gen’s Color Me In cast a shoe as the class was called. One entry asked for permission to leave and it was granted. Gen’s Color Me In and Rodney Dick returned for world championship acclaim for another year. They were blue ribbon winners last year. The Rick Trumble family are owners. Pusher’s Return and Mickey McCormick earned the second place ribbon for John Manning and Keith Johnson. Walking away with the third tie is Wilson Pickett and Knox Blackburn for the Robert Brindley family of Pulaski, Tenn.