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It’s ladies night … and (hat) night



By Sadie Fowler

If Saturday morning was for the youth of the industry, Saturday evening was a prime example that some things are better with age. If you’re a part of the Tennessee Walking Horse world, both young and old alike can find their way.

The preliminary round of the aged stallions served as the evening’s highlight with two sections closing out the show. Blaise Broccard has given the Celebration crowd something to talk about so far this week by delivering memorable performances in the open divisions the last two nights and Saturday night she earned huge support from the crowd with her reserve world championship ride aboard Incredible Machine for Linda Stewart. Still, the unanimous victory went to frontrunners all season long, Gen’s Black Maverick and Bill Callaway. The new world champions were first across the board for owner Lorraine Rosbury in the A division.

When the B division entries made their way into the ring walking to the Flat Walk Boogie, many wondered and hoped if I Am José would make a return to the Big Oval. Sighs of disappoint perhaps quietly echoed when he didn’t enter, but the four who did made solid shows and each had their fan base. I’m Mayhem and Rodney Dick left as the winners for Jo Ann Dowell and Susan Coleman.

The first Saturday night kicked off with hats in abundance as Karen Inman’s idea from a few years ago carried on the new tradition at the Celebration with Hat Night. The Celebration’s annual corporate sponsors’ party was held at 4 p.m. in the Blue Ribbon Club, offering a different type of salute to annual patrons from its traditional Sunday evening format. This brought even more local faces to the show Saturday evening with lots of families showing up as well.

“What stood out to me is the strong sense of family tonight,” said the Rev. Lanita Monroe of Shelbyville’s First United Methodist Church who was in attendance for hat night. “It’s really nice watching people having such a good time from the box.”  

Most wearing hats just so happened to be ladies, and ladies were on display again in the first class of the night, the amateur ladies geldings class. Perfect to go along with any lady wearing a hat, Gin Toddy and Sue Irby defended their title from last year to wear the blue. 

Anyone familiar with the walking horse industry appreciated the winning performance of She’s Blue As Ice in the three-year-old mares section A class for owner Patty Wilson. It’s been nice seeing Wilson’s return to the show world and trainer Philip Trimble made her proud on board this fancy mare acquired not too long ago by Wilson. 

Deep-rooted enthusiasts were met with relatively newcomers to the breed as well with Lilly Beth Harville showing anyone can succeed at the Celebration with the right dose of talent, luck and timing. Harville provided one of most celebrated moments of the night when she captured the novice youth victory for 12-17 year-old riders on The American Patriot.

Of course, the ladies weren’t the only success stories of the night. Feelings of excitement for Grey Barker and Memphis Raines echoed throughout the stands following his huge victory in the novice class for the gentlemen riders on board their stallions. 

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