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Game World and Edwards Crowned World Grand Champions



By Mark Davis

It’s finally the night that horse show lovers all over the United States wait for all year long, Championship Saturday at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

We’ve already seen two great nights of championship competition, highlighted by the crowning of Honors and trainer Larry Edwards as Three-Year-Old World Grand Champions and Copperfield and trainer Knox Blackburn as Junior World Grand Champions. Tonight, we’ll see 13 great classes of Championship competition highlighted by the Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship, which will take place about half way through the evening’s schedule and the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship, the final class of the show. The championship program supplement provided by the Lions Club shows good entry numbers in all the evening’s classes, so it should truly be a great night.

The judges for the 73rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration included Jennifer Bingham of Shelbyville, Tenn., Jamie Bradshaw of Union Grove, Ala., Jamie Hankins of Paris, Ky., Ronnie Spears of Tullahoma, Tenn. & Jeff Willis of Shelbyville, Tenn.

The invocation for the evening was given by Bro. Ron DeWitt of the First Church of the Nazarene of Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Pamela Greenway Hanes of Shelbyville, Tenn.

When the opening ceremonies were complete, it was time to call class 163, the Lead Line Ponies, Riders 6 and Under World Grand Championship. This class was moved from the morning performances to the first class on Saturday evening last year, and it was certainly a great way to get the evening underway and should be once again tonight. Fifteen of the 16 on the program made the call to work for the roses in the class as Judge Jennifer Bingham served as call judge. As one would expect, there was quite the excitement around the ring as it seemed every fan in the stands had their favorite and was letting the judge’s know it. Making the spotlight ride (and walk) was Ace and Colton Trimble, with mom Amy Trimble at the lead for Kyle & Tyler Bailey of Lynchburg, Tenn. Of course, Ace is a classic horse (older than 15 years of age). I believe that Ace is 23 years young, if my memory serves correct. Rattle & Snap and Ashtyn Claire Brown were reserve, with Carla Brown at the lead for Ashtyn Claire Brown of Columbia, Tenn. Dixie Princess and Grace Wilhelm were third, taking honors home to Shelbyville, Tenn.

Class 164 brought the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Ponies World Grand Championship to the track with nine entries making the call to make their championship performance as Judge Jamie Bradshaw called the gaits in the class. Making the walk down the winning line was The Dixie Lineman and Gail Walling, winner of the Pony Stallions preliminary on Saturday night, in the irons for Judy McDonald & Gail Walling of Tullahoma & Wartrace, Tenn. The Royal Dollar and Lee McGartland were reserve riding for Mike & Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas. Texas Joe Black and Kathy Zeis rounded out the top three with a cheer from the crowd for Steve & Kathy Zeis of Douglasville, Ga.

The trainers were on the track for class 165, Show Pleasure Walking Horses World Grand Championship (Riders Cup) with all seven of the expected entries making their way down from Calsonic Arena to work for the spotlight ride in the division as Judge Jamie Hankins called the gaits in the class. Putting the "chill" on the competition and capturing the win and all the honors for Steve Mozeley of Charlotte, N.C. A Line Dancer and Bill Callaway were reserve in the class riding for S & J Enterprises of Huntsville, Ala. Turnbow and Brad Davis were third riding for Lynn Womack of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The babies of the industry were up next on the schedule with nine entries making the gate call for the Walking Weanling World Grand Championship. Judge Ronnie Spears served as the Call Judge for the halter division. Leading out of the spotlight and making that once in a lifetime stroll around the ring was the team of Amanda Wright and Intimidator’s Cover Girl making that walk for the Andrew Waites Family & the George Wright Family of Hattiesburg, Miss. & Mt. Juliet, Tenn. Oh Pancho Oh Cisco and Roger Richards Jr., pulled in for the red streamers for Dr. Roger D. Richards of Hendersonville, Tenn. Jazz ON My Mind and Robert Nelms were third for Carole Hargett of Shelbyville, Tenn.

The Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings World Grand Championship was up next on the schedule, class 167 on the program. Eighteen of the 20 with championship reservations beat the clock and worked their way down the hill to the storied big oval to work for Judge Jeff Willis and his cohorts. After being reserve in this Championship in 2011, My First Dollar and George Ann Pratt made an impressive ride to move up to the winner’s circle in the division for Don Pratt of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Sophisticated and Renee Carlton were reserve taking honors back to Corinth, Miss. Pushin’ That Jazz and Dalia Smith were rounded out the top three in the large, talent-laden class for Molly & Annabelle Smith of Manchester, Ky.

Staying in the Amateur division, class 168 brought the Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Horses World Grand Championship down the hill with 15 of the 19 expected taking the rail to work for the approval of the judges and the knowledgeable Saturday night crowd in the division. Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge for the class. Making an outstanding performance and carrying top honors back Virginia way was I’m Pushin’ In Line and Janice Fostek riding for Joe Fostek of Roanoke, Va. This team was the winner in the A division of the Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallions on Tuesday evening. Gin Toddy and owner/exhibitor Sue Irby of Shelbyville, Tenn., were reserve in the large class. He’s Bustin The Gin and Megan Mozeley was third for Steve Mozeley of Charlotte, N.C.

Class 169 brought the young riders down the hill for the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 Years English or Western Trail Pleasure Walking Horse World Grand Championship. All eight of the expected teams made the gate call to work for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his cohorts. Riding to her third set of roses of the 2011 Celebration, Allison Thorson picked up the win in this division with Suiza, taking the honors back to Sandusky, Ohio. A Wicked Bond and Rachael Allen were reserve riding for Krysta Allen & Ty Irby of Pleasonton, Calif & Shelbyville, Tenn. I’m Manhatten & MacKenzie Morgan were third riding for Tamara Hader & MacKenzie Morgan of Bainbridge, Ga. & Shelbyville, Tenn.

The Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship was up next on the schedule, one of the highlights of the evening for sure, with 14 outstanding entries working to the track to show as Judge Jamie Hankins called the gaits for the class. The class certainly didn’t disappoint and made the decision for the judging panel particularly difficult. But only one team could capture the title of 2011 Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship and that would be I Am Jose and Casey Wright riding for Billy and Debbie Woods of Lexington, Tenn. This team captured this title with a unanimous decision of the judging panel. I’m Coach Cal and John Allen Callaway were reserve in the deep class for Don Pratt of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Blue’s Master and Jimmy McConnell rounded out the top three for Mike & Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas.

The pleasure horses were back for class 171, Owner-Amateur Riders on Lite Shod Walking Horses World Grand Championship with 11 of 13 entries making the gate call to work for Judge Ronnie Spears and his panel. Making the winning ride in the class was Lil’ Wayne and Carlan Cotton riding for Jeff Gillespie of Tazewell, Va. Honor My Cash and Rebecca Emerick were reserve riding for Roger & Rebecca Emerick of Hillsborough, Calif. Kick Start Jazz and Justin Manis were third riding for Manis & Richardson of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

During a break in the action, the 2011 WHTA Trainer Of The Year honors were presented to Chad Baucom of Monroe, N.C.

Back in the performance division, class 172 featured the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Horses World Grand Championship. Riding for the blue and all the honors that come with being a World Grand Champion were the team of He’s Vida Blue and Kay Green riding for Dr. Jim & Kay Green of Meridian, Miss. This duo captured the win with the approval of all five judges on the panel. A Bruce Pearl and Lee McGartland pulled into accept the red streamers riding for Mike & Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas. Headed up north Ohio way, One Bad Hombre and Sue Ann Dowell were third riding for Jo Ann Dowell of Powell, Ohio.

Nine entries made the gate call for class 173, the Park Pleasure Walking Horse World Grand Championship, to work for their moment in the spotlight in the class as Judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits. When the spotlight came surveying the lineup looking for a champion it settled on #1186, B B King’s Jazz and Brock Tillman riding with a unanimous decision of the panel for Jeannae Patterson of Gulf Hammock, Fla. This makes BB King’s Jazz’s second set of roses as he was the winner of the Amateur Park Pleasure Championship on last evening. Celine Neon and Howard Hamilton were reserve in the strong class riding for Buster & Brenda McAdory of Louisville, Miss. Sure Cash At The Ritz and Jacob Baum were third for Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn.

Only two classes remain of the 2011 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and class 174 brings the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses World Grand Championship (Canter) with five of the six with reservations working to the historic big oval to show their very best for the panel and the crowd, who were moving to their seats and finding their place in preparation for this class, and what comes next, the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship. Judge Jamie Bradshaw served as Call Judge in the class. Of course, this class gave the big crowd their first chance to see all three gaits that make the Tennessee Walking Horse famous. Making the spotlight ride in the class, after winning the Amateur Stallion preliminary on Wednesday night, was NYPD and Kenny Compton riding for Jack Compton of North Tazewell, Va. With this win, coupled with their 2008 win in the division, the team retired the Cliff Gillespie Memorial Challenge Trophy, the Ebony’s Dixie Belle Memorial Challenge Trophy and the Florence T. Daugette – Moonglow, Jr. Memorial Challenge Trophy. Reserve honors went to the team of Strollin Thru The Ritz and Brian Reece riding for the Jimmy Reece Family of Pikeville, Tenn. On The Line and Suzanne Moore were third riding for Bud Moore of Catherine, Ala.

Finally, it was the time that horse show fans had been waiting for all year. It was time for the big orange Kubota tractor to drag the track! Of course, everything has to be just perfect prior to calling the very special class 175, the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship.

When the tractor headed out the gate, it was time to call class 175, the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship down the hill to the historic big oval where a crowd of approximately 25,000 eagerly await. Organist Larry Bright started playing "All Shook Up" on his keyboard and it was time for those contenders to make their way down the hill and show what they’ve got tonight. Seven entries made the gait call to work for the honor of being named the 2011 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion. Judge Jamie Hankins served as Call Judge for the final class of the 73rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. Once the first work was complete, it was time line up the entries and remove the saddles for conformation judging. The entries were lined up four on the west side and three on the east and the grooms came in to assist with the removal of the saddles so the panel could take a closer look at each entry.

Once that was complete, it was saddles back on and riders back up, it was time for all entries to take the rail for additional work. When all the work was complete, the entries were lined up on the grass on the south side and the spotlight was turned on, looking for a 2011 World Grand Champion. When the spotlight finally settled on a champion, it was Game World and Gary Edwards making the outstanding performance to be crowned the 2011 World Grand Champions for very proud owners Chester & Lynda Stokes of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Folsom Prison Blues and Rodney Dick were 2011 Reserve World Grand Champions riding for the Jimmy Smith Family of Oliver Springs, Tenn. Ozone’s Cut Above All and John Allan Callaway were third in the excellent class riding for Don Pratt of Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

With that, it was time for Game World and Gary Edwards to make their championship victory pass with the overwhelming applause of the Saturday night crowd. And, with that, the 73rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was history and in the record books, and what a great Celebration it has been. Great horses, Great Riders, Good Weather (even if it was a little hot) and old friends, who could ask for anything more. It’s so much fun, that this reporter’s (and many others alike) a little sad that it’s over for another year. But, never fear, the Celebration officials are already working on the 74th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, and it will be even better than the 73rd, so make your plans now to be here. With all the good times that are had here, who would want to be anywhere else?

 

 

 

 

 

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