A record breaking crowd of 18,131 greeted the first class of Thursday evening performance which was also the first championship class of the evening. The 15.2 and Under World Grand Championship gave the night a great start with nine entries competing for the tricolor ribbon. Judge Don Milligan was the call judge in the class. With victories at Jackson, Gallatin, the Moneytree Classic, and Woodbury, it was no surprise when The Lottery was crowned 15.2 and Under World Grand Champion with Joe Cotten. Dr. Rafael and Pat Rigual are the owners from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Reserve honors went to 2002 15.2 and Under World Champion London Rain and Steve Aymett for Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clark. Third was presented to 2001 15.2 and Under Reserve World Grand Champion Pusher’s American Patriot and Blake Sims for the Mike Chiaparri family.

A competitive class of Walking Ponies with Riders 17 and Under filled the ring next. Judge Whitey Whitehead was the call judge. After finishing reserve in the preliminary, SIlver Design and Thad Way did one better and took the Walking Pony World Grand Championship. The J & R Partnership of Franklin, Michigan and Tuscaloosa, Alabama owns the silver stallion. A crowd favorite and superb rider, Tyler Baucom directed Busted And Broke to the reserve award for Warren and Baucom. The third place tie was awarded to Final Keeper and Morgan LeGate for the Gary LeGate family.

Twenty-one fine young riders and their horses answered the gate call for the Owner Amateur Youth Riders 11 and Under on Walking Mares or Geldings World Grand Championship. Judge Rollie Beard called the class. Last year’s 15.2 and Under Mare World Champion, Gen’s Sundance Lady was directed by Maisie McSwain to a win in the class. The Dan McSwain family of Atlanta, Georgia owns the gifted mare. Reserve honors went to Flashy Cash and Lindsey Wall. This Is It and Lindsey Landrum placed third after a good ride.

The first ever Elite Owner Amateur Riders on Walking Horses World Grand Championship was next. Great horses and gifted riders filled the ring as Judge Ray Gilmer called the class. Papa’s Smokin’ Pusher and Beverly Sherman were on fire as they took the inaugural title. Floyd Sherman of Dallas, Texas owns the entry. Following a win last night with Preach Fleming, Push Me Bold and Donald Stephens made a great ride for second place. Third was presented to Generator’s Man Of Magic and Bill Johnson.

Three top contenders took the top three positions in the Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod World Grand Championship. Judge Irby called the fine class. The team of Pusher’s Beaming Pride and Howard Hamilton were selected to take the spotlight ride after a good show. Debbie and Jim Nichols are the owners from New Market, Tennessee. The red ribbon was then presented to Starstruck By JFK and Lorenzo Smith for Red Eagle Farms. World Grand Champion Sun’s Top Gold and Craig Swaggerty placed third.

The Weanling World Grand Championship was the next class. It was Judge Milligan’s turn to call the class. After each handler had their entry parked out and the judging panel had inspected them it was time to announce the winner. Mucho Grande and Bobby Richards were called to receive the floral horseshoe for owner Lindy Holt. Holt, from Bell Buckle, couldn’t have been any happier. Reserve honors went to Weanling Futurity Champion Hey Hey Jose and Bill Beech for owner Ray Beech. Third award was given to Cotton’s Power Pusher and Kathy Potter for Dillon Potter.

With eleven entries participating, the Western Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod World Grand Championship was off and running. Judge Whitey Whitehead was appointed call judge of the class. Genius’ Dixie Chick came all the way from California to win the championship class with Trish Wooten. The versatile horse made a perfect victory pass with no bridle! Sheila Mack Kyle is the owner from Los Angeles, California. A Style File and Laurie Toone took home reserve to Darwin and Linda James. The yellow ribbon was awarded to Cicero and Wallace Brandon for Bob Medina.

A large class of twenty five competed in the Amateur Show Pleasure class. Judge Beard called the fine class. For the second year in a row, Coin Maker and Susanne Littell won the Show Pleasure Grand Championship. The team has won numerous victories throughout the season and will no doubt continue to do so next year. Reserve honors were bestowed upon Insomnia and Keith Baker. Third place was Slippen Around And Scored and Sharon Richmond.

Nine talented entries took over the show ring next in the Owner Amateur Riders on 15.2 and Under Walking Horses class. The honorable Judge Ray Gilmer called the class. First place honors in the class went to All American Cash and Kelly Garrett. Floyd Sherman owns the talented horse from Dallas, Texas. Second place was then presented to Cash In My Stock and Charles Gleghorn. Third place was given to the team of Capone and Mitzi Hooper.

A fine group of horses and riders competed for the Park Pleasure Walking Horse World Grand Championship. The call judge in the class was Judge Irby. It was quite a night for Howard Hamilton as he was called to be crowned Park Pleasure Grand Champion atop Armed Red Baron. Lauren Hamilton is the proud owner from Cedar Grove, Tennessee. Push My Score and Ronnie Tabor received a strong reserve in the class for Elsie Tabor. Third place was then presented to Gen’s Sundancer and Jeff Givens for Ralph and Elaine Pinner.

One of the best classes of the entire Celebration so far was the Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship. Twenty entries competed in the good class as Judge Milligan called it. A unanimous decision was then handed down by the judges, the 2002 Three-Year-Old World Grand Champion would be Gen’s Black Gin. The black stallion is ridden by Keith Blackburn and owned by William B. and Sandra Johnson. Reserve honors went to I’m Mr. Threat and John Allen Callaway for Hidden Acres Farm. A great performance earned Gold Picture and Bill Bobo third in the class for Drs. Cliff and Linda Gararrd.

Tomorrow night a great class of four-year-olds will entertain the crowd. Also the retirement for Pride’s Jubilee Encore will be held.