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Honors Impressive On Sunday Night



Ah, Sunday . . .A day of rest!  Not during the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration!  While there were no day classes, there was activity all over the grounds today including the WHTA Trainers’ Auxiliary Dog Show in Calsonic Arena and tonight, the action resumes in the historic Celebration Arena with 13 classes of competition on the evening’s schedule, highlighted by the final class of the evening, the Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions.

The judges for the 74th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration include Jennifer Bingham of Shelbyville, Tenn. (Pleasure, Halter & Performance), Chris Bobo of Shelbyville, Tenn. (Pleasure, Halter & Performance), Nathan Clark of Arab, Ala., (Pleasure, Halter & Performance), Brent Grider of Columbia, Ky. (Performance & Halter), Carol Smithson of Clarksville, Tenn. (Pleasure), Connie Waldo of Naples, Fla. (Pleasure), and Joel Weaver of Shelbyville, Tenn. (Performance & Halter).

As always, promptly at 7 p.m., the opening ceremonies got underway with the presentation of the American Flag by official flag horse, Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton. The invocation for the evening was given by Rev. Tom Bierovic of First Christian Church, Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Jennifer Vannatta-Hall of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The first class on the evening’s schedule was class 82, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-14 Years on Walking Mares or Geldings. As the horses made their way down the hill, organist Larry Bright opened the show in his usual Sunday Evening style, with “Just A Closer Walk With Thee,” as he has for all the years that he has played at The Celebration.  Eleven of the 21 with reservations made the gate call to work for Judge Brent Grider and his panel.  This duo was champions at the Tazewell County Classic and reserve champions at the Spring Fun Show in 2012.  Walking away with the win was the team of Be Cool and Jaclyn Compton up for Rick Compton of Tazewell, Va.  Jose’ Caliente and owner/exhibitor Chris Elliott of Tuscumbia, Ala., rode into the second position.  Stemwinder and Kosten McWaters were third for LaRue McWaters of Ashford, Ala.

The Park Pleasure entries took to the rail for class 83, Owner-Amateur Riders on Classic Park Pleasure Walking Horses with nine of the 14 on the official Lions Club program working to the rail as Judge Carol Smithson called the gaits in the class.  Riding to the winner’s circle was MP1 and Katie West up for Katie West and Jane Hill of Murfreesboro and Church Hill, Tenn.  Headed back Marshall County way with reserve honors was I’m Gunpowder And Lead and owner/exhibitor Kathy Baker of Lewisburg, Tenn.  Motown’s Title Masterpiece and Justin Manis rounded out the top three for Sonny and Debbie Sanders of Brownsboro, Ala.

Class 84 brought the Elite Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings to the big oval.  Ten of the 19 expected came to show off for the Sunday Night crowd as Judge Joel Weaver led the panel in the section.  If there was one team that was sky high after making a great performance and riding to the winner’s circle with a unanimous decision of the judging panel it was Rocky Mountain Sky and Robin MacDonald as they did just that riding for Bruce and Robin MacDonald Of Atlanta, Ga.  Dollar’s Bright Star and Jannie Chapman pulled into the second position for Bill and Jannie Chapman of Owen Crossroads, Ala.  Jose’s Miss Dolly and Jean O’Brien were third for O’Brien and McLaughlin of Florence, S.C. and Bell Buckle, Tenn.

It was time to get in a western frame of mind for class 85, Owner-Amateur Riders on Western Trail Pleasure Walking Horses.  Fourteen of the 22 on the books made their way to the big ring to work for the Sunday evening crowd as Judge Connie Waldo called the gaits.  Riding to the big oval winner’s circle was The Wicked Master and Sheryl Volkman up for John and Sheryl Volkman of Livermore, Calif.  This duo already has one 2012 World Championship on their stall door that they won in the Three-Gait Trail Pleasure division on Thursday morning.  However, it’s always fun and memorable to ride out of the big oval with a Celebration blue!  A Red Ruby and Liz Gassaway accepted the red streamers for Liz and Mitchell Gassaway and Mackenzie Morgan of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Bedazzled By Jazz and owner/exhibitor Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn., rounded out the top of the class.

The young riders were up next on the schedule in class 86, Owner-Amateur Novice Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings.  Thirteen of the 21 on the program made their way down the hill to work for their very first Celebration blue, a memory they certainly would never forget.  Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge for the class.  Riding out of the novice division and making a memory of a lifetime was Walk On Command and Jessica Lawwell up for Roger and Barbara Jenkins of Brentwood, Tenn. The team made this memory with the approval of all five judges.  Major Genius and Taylor Stickler were reserve for Kelly Stickler of Kingsport, Tenn. Gen’s Black Gin Creation and Storm Chiappari Sims were third for the Mike Chiappari family of Santa Rosa, Calif. and Shelbyville, Tenn.

It was again time for this evening’s edition of Steppin’ Into Cash, where tonight $500.00 was given away compliments of Cooper Steel of Shelbyville, Tenn.  It took two tickets tonight to get a winner, but Ava McMeen of Mt Pleasant, Tenn., was present and did go home $500.00 richer.

Staying in the Novice division, class 87 brought the Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Show Pleasure Walking Horses to the rail with 20 of the 30 on the official Lions Club program beating the clock to work for their very first sentimental journey down victory lane as Judge Chris Bobo serves as Call Judge for the class.  A novice no more, Spooky Dollar and Stephanie Elliott made that memorable ride down victory lane for Stephanie Elliott and Danny Gattis of Tuscumbia, Ala. Pearl Gunn and Linda Imler were reserve in the class for Linda Imler and Sally Fleck of Newman, Ga. and Shelbyville, Tenn.  Jubilee’s Awesome Dream and Shannon Cotter received the gold streamers for Ed and Shannon Cotter of Rossville, Tenn.

The young riders were back for class 88, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 15-17 Years on Walking Ponies with five of the nine expected making the call to work for Judge Nathan Clark and his cohorts.  It may have been a small class, but it was certainly a very talent laden class with several past World Champions and World Grand Champions and all five have been shown very successfully throughout the 2012 season.  However, there was only one blue ribbon and that honor went to the team of Lined Walkin’ and Lilly Waites up for the Andrew Waites family of Hattiesburg, Miss.  With this win, coupled with their 2011 win in this division, the team retired the Billy Boyd Memorial Challenge Trophy, the David Bledsoe Memorial Challenge Trophy and the Master Plan Challenge Trophy. Roll The Gold and Allison Thorson was reserve in the class riding for ThorSport, Inc., of Sandusky, Ohio.  Tommy Lee Jones and owner/exhibitor Benjamin Bowen of Randolph, Miss., accepted third.

Class 89 was a very special class as it was the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, Riders 70 Years and Over.  We’ve had the Classic Horse class and now we have the Classic Rider class!  Thirteen of the 23 expected made the call to work as Judge Brent Grider called the gaits in the class.  It truly is a testament to our breed that riders from 6 years of age to 70 years of age (and much, much older) can ride and show our horses.  Not just every breed can say that!  Riding to the top of the class once again was the team of Kudos For Cash and Dr. W.H. Hill up for Dr. and Mrs. W.H. Hill of Powder Springs, Ga. This win, coupled with his win in 2011, he retired his own challenge trophy, The Dr. W.H. Hill Challenge Trophy. Did I mention that Dr. Hill is a little older than 70?  He’s actually 94 years young and will turn 95 in November!  He won this class in 2006-2009 with Cash’s All Star and returned in 2011 and 2012 to capture the class with Kudos For Cash.  Very impressive indeed!  Jose’s Delightful Pusher and Kenneth Callicutt pulled into the second position in the class for John Callicutt of Seagrove, N.C.  Heidi McWilliams and Ritz’s Big Dipper rounded out the top three for McWilliams Farms of Cookeville, Tenn.

The pleasure entries were back for class 90, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years on Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings with five of the eight expected working down the hill to show for Judge Jennifer Bingham and her panel.  Riding away with the win was Santana’s Coin and Robert Cortner up for McNeely, Landrum and Cortner of Blowing Rock, N.C., Franklin, Tenn., and Winchester, Tenn. Fog At The Ritz and Abbey Fleming were reserve in the class for Jim Upchurch of Jackson, Tenn.  Miss Cheyenne and Mackenzie Niston were third for Larry Mesimer and Gordon Ezzell of Concord, N.C. and Rocky Mount, N.C.

Class 91A brought the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings to the track with 16 of the 22 on the program making the call to work for Judge Joel Weaver and his staff.  Headed to the winner’s circle, with organist Larry Bright playing “Yellow Rose of Texas” in the background was She’s A Shady Sister and Lee McGartland in the irons for Mike and Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas. This win was preceded with 2012 wins at the Spring Fun Show and the Woodbury Lions Club Horse Show.  More Horse Power and Jannie Chapman collected the red streamers for Bill and Jannie Chapman of Owen Crossroads, Ala.  Poker Face and Clay Mills were third for Clay Mills and Kayla Baucom of Mt. Airy and Monroe, N.C.



Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Mares or Gelding, class 91B, brought 13 of the 22 with reservations down the hill to show for the Sunday evening crowd.  Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge for the class.  Riding away with the win was Dirty Sexy Money and Laura Brandon up for Laura M. Brandon of Franklin, Tenn.  This team had a 2012 resume that included wins at the National Trainers Show, the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration and the Eagleville Lions Club Horse Show. Splashing At The Ritz and Sara Moersch were reserve for Dr. Barbara Moersch of Jacksonville, Ala. Powerstroke’s Evening Star and Pam Ingraham were third for McGee and Ingraham of Lenoir, N.C. and Shelbyville, Tenn.

Back in the novice division for a final time tonight, class 92 brought the Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Stallions to the ring 15 strong with each team in hopes of walking away with their very first Celebration blue tonight.  Judge Chris Bobo led the panel in the class.  Riding out of the Novice division tonight was Gin Toddy and owner/exhibitor Sue Irby of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Wired For Cash and Leslie Dotson remained a Novice for another day and accepted the reserve honors for the Terry Dotson family of Knoxville, Tenn. Bobby Boucher and Tammy Valmus rounded out the top of the class for Valmus and Rogers of Bell Buckle, Tenn. and Eatonton, Ga.

It was finally time for the highlight of the evening, the Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions (Canter) (Riders’ Cup).  Twelve of the 18 with reservations made the gate call to work as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits for the class that promised to be worth waiting for.  Worth waiting for it certainly was as the reigning Three-Year-Old WGC Honors and Larry Edwards rode to the winner’s circle with approval of all five judges and the loud approval of the Sunday Night crowd for Dan, Keith and Kelley McSwain of Gainesville and Duluth, Ga.  I’m Deuce and Casey Wright were reserve for Billy and Debbie Woods of Lexington, Tenn. The Jazz Player and Jimmy McConnell were third for Jimmy and Edith Dilday of Dresden, Tenn.

With that victory pass from Honors and Larry Edwards, the Sunday night session was compete approximately 11:00 p.m.  It was another great night and Monday night promises more of the same as we get our first look at the Two-Year-Old Stallions (three sections).  Come be a part of history being made at the 74th Celebration.

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