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Hot Competition Gets The Celebration Underway

By Mark Davis

It’s Wednesday morning in Shelbyville, Tenn.  The cool breezes were blowing through Calsonic Arena and the time was just about here for the 70th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration to get underway.  Promptly at 9 a.m., morning announcer Mark Farrar, Jr. welcomed everyone and called the judges to their positions and the first class to the ring.

The judges for this year’s event include Rollie Beard of Lewisburg, Tenn., Nathan Clark of Arab, Ala., Jamie Hankins of Paris, Ky., Tommy Howell of Shelbyville, Tenn., and Mack Motes of Eagleville, Tenn.

The first class on the morning’s schedule brought the Model Pleasure Walking Mares to the ring, as usual.  One thing different this year was the handler leading the winning entry, since Tommy Howell was officiating the event.  Howell has won the event for at least the past 10 years.  Twelve of the 13 expected for the class made their way to the track to show off their striking good looks for Judge Rollie Beard and his panel.  Taking that first blue of the 70th Celebration home was Hot Silk and Beverly Lamp at the lead for Carol Hargett of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Jungle Lilly and Lynn Womack picked up the red streamers for James, James & Howard of Broken Arrow, Okla., and Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Jeremy Carlton and Hay Dare Spunkie One were third for Allison Carlton of Milton, Tenn.

The trail pleasure entries were up for class 2 and the A division brought 18 of the 19 programmed entries to the track for the Owner-Amateur English Trail Pleasure, Adult Riders event as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits.  Bedford County School teacher Liz Gassaway was playing hooky from school today and she sure was glad that she did as she rode to the winner’s circle with her Spring Fun Show and International champion Playin’ Hooky.  The team hit paydirt twice at the 2007 Celebration in the Amateur Owned & Trained Trail Pleasure division and was third in this event.  Generator’s Sundevil and Glenda Levine were reserve in the talented division for Glenda Levine and B.J. Richards of Jamestown and Franklin, Tenn.  Headed back to the west coast with the golden streamers were The Kid Rock and Rebecca Emerick riding for Emerick and Cook of Hillsborough and Devore Heights, Calif. 

Class 2B, Owner-Amateur English Trail Pleasure, Adult Riders, brought 18 of the 21 expected into the cool Calsonic Arena to work for Call Judge Jamie Hankins and his cohorts.  Taking the Celebration blue back to the land of the Razorbacks, 2008 International Champions I’m Benny Too and Tim Brooks put on a great show to top the division for Tim and Terri Brooks of Hot Springs, Ark.  Maggie Moore and Dirty Martini, champions this past weekend at Lebanon, Tenn.’s Betty Freeman Memorial Classic, were in the second position taking the honors back to Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Push N For Pleasure and Patti Pollack were third for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.

Adding a little variety to the morning schedule, class 3A brought the Show Pleasure entries to the ring for the Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Show Pleasure Walking Horses event.  Twenty-nine of the 34 with reservations came up to work as Judge Tommy Howell served as Call Judge for the split.  Riding their way out of the novice division with an outstanding performance was the duo of Ultra’s Prime Mover and owner/exhibitor Sabrina Young of Mt. Sterling, Ky.  This team had already had a good 2008 season on the Kentucky circuit with wins at Morehead, Ky.’s Spring Show, Richmond, Ky.’s Madison County Horse Show and Irvine, Ky.’s Estill County Horse Show.  Legend Of JFK and Barbara Kenehan pulled in to pick up the reserve honors and remained a novice for another day for Jay and Barbara Kenehan of Flat Creek, Tenn.  Ricky Manser and What A Beautiful Sky took home the yellow streamers for Buist Carr, Ashlen May and Ricky Manser of Goodlettsville, Tenn.

Another big group of 29 were up next for class 3B, Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Show Pleasure Walking Horses.  Judge Mack Motes called the gaits and led the panel in the division.  Picking up their first Celebration blue and taking it home to the Bluegrass state with a dominant performance were Two Gun Silver Dollar and Evan Alexander riding for May & Lacer of Richmond and Simpsonville, Ky.  Keeping it headed Kentucky way, Major Player and Darrell Oliver were close behind accepting the reserve honors for The Oliver Family of Bowling Green, Ky.  Noon’s Megan and owner/exhibitor Luke Benham were third.

Back in the pleasure division, class 4 brought the Amateur – Owned and Trained Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod to the track with 16 of the 18 programmed entries working hard under the watchful eye of Call Judge Rollie Beard and his panel.  Putting the hammer down on the competition in the event were the reigning Lite Shod World Grand Champions, Drop The Hammer and Connie Waldo, riding for Waldo & Leek, LLC of Cedar Creek, Texas and Shelbyville, Tenn.  Headed back to the Magnolia State with the red streamers were A Fairy Tale and Karla Massey riding proudly for James Nichols of Oxford, Miss.  Heading a little further down south, It’s Up In Arms and Darden Gladney pulled in for the yellow streamers for Gladney Farms of Homer, La.

Class 5, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 on Plantation Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings, Lite Shod, was up next on the schedule with all six of the expected duos beating the clock for their chance to work for that coveted Celebration blue as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits in the class.  Picking up the first unanimous win of the morning and pushing the competition over along the was Move It Or Lose It and Scarlett Hendrickson riding for Marzinzik, Hendrickson and Carrier of Saugus, Calif.  The classic horse (meaning a horse 15 years or older) Senator’s Grand Finale and Bo Beam pulled into the reserve position for Diane Hasty and Ashley Latham of Hartselle, Ala.  Tex-R-Us and Ashley Pollack were third for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif., and Shelbyville, Tenn.

Ah, it was time to get in the western way for class 6, Owner-Amateur Riders on Western Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Four-Years and Under.  Fourteen of the 19 with reservations worked their way to the ring to show off their very best for Judge Jamie Hankins and his cohorts.  Walking their way to the winner’s circle in their western best, garnering the approval of all five judges, was the team of Lined Up At The Ritz and owner/exhibitor Sandra Johnson of Atlanta, Ga.  Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Nicole Coffey and her Yao Ming were a strong reserve in the talented division with Catastrophic and Doug Toone pulling in for the golden ribbon for Laurie Toone of Bell Buckle, Tenn.

Keeping it in the western way, class 7 brought seven of the eight expected for the Western Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod (Canter).  Judge Tommy Howell served as call judge in the event.  Defining a true western horse, 2008 International Western Lite Shod Grand Champions Red Sunday Best and owner/exhibitor Laurie Toone of Bell Buckle, Tenn., rode away with the World Championship honors.  They’re other 2008 wins included the Big D Charity Horse Show, Woodbury, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show and Memphis, Tenn.’s Germantown Charity Horse Show.  Drop The Hammer and Connie Waldo were back to pick up the red streamers in this event for Waldo & Leek, LLC of Cedar Creek, Texas and Shelbyville, Tenn.  Another Lone Star State entry, Slammin’ Rammer and Bobby Richards were third for Dave and Joy Buck of Conroe, Texas.

Back in the Trail Pleasure division, class 8A brought 28 of the 30 expected up from the warm up ring to work for their very own chance in the spotlight in the Owner-Amateur English or Western Trail Pleasure, Two and Three Years Old, Adult Riders division.  Judge Mack Motes called the gaits in the split.  Dancing their way to the top of the division was Cha Cha Cha and Jordan Howell riding for Howell and Irby of Abaco, Bahamas and Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Loot and Ashley Wadsworth rode into the reserve position for Wadsworth Farms of Hernando, Miss.  Owner/exhibitor Belinda Mendenhall of Shelbyville, Tenn., and her A Usual Suspect pulled in for the yellow streamers in the extra large division.

The B division of Class 8, Owner-Amateur English or Western Trail Pleasure, Two and Three Years Old, Adult Riders was just as large with 26 of the 29 programmed entries taking the rail to show off their very best for Judge Rollie Beard and his panel.  Taking the honors back to the Great Northwest was the duo, A Royal Attraction and Bailey Moab, riding to the winner’s circle for Bruce and Betty Chalfant, Bailey Moab, and Denise Bader of Enumclaw, Wash.  Suiz and Joseph Abernathy rode into the second position for Allison Thorson and Joseph Abernathy of Huron, Ohio and Byhalia, Miss.  Mr. Natural and Jared Carrier were just that as they walked to third for Chip Carrier of Franklin, Ky.

The Novice division was back on the schedule for class 9, Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Park Pleasure Walking Horses.  Fifteen of the 17 with reservations checked in right on time as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits in the event.  Novice’s no more, Busted Buttons and Angela Klutz put on a flawless performance to top the division for Terry Butler and Angela Klutz of Mocksville, N.C.  Walkin’ they were as Williwalkin’ and owner/exhibitor Sharon Higginbotham of Lewisburg, Tenn., pulled in for the reserve.  Blast of Black Power and Allyson Yates picked up the golden ribbon for Phyllis Langley of Sandpoint, Idaho.

Rounding out the morning performance, after a quick drag of the track, was class 10,  Plantation Pleasure Driving, Lite Shod, 2 or 4 Wheel Vehicle.  Ten of the 13 entries expected made the call to work in the event for Call Judge Jamie Hankins and his panel.

Driving to Celebration acclaim was Armed’s Scarlett O’Hara and Jeff Laughlin at the whip for Kerri Laughlin of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Major Orders and Sue Fullerton accepted the red streamers for Fullerton and Gay of Inverness, Fla.  Little Dumas and Kathy Jamison were third for CB & Linda Daughtridge of Rocky Mount, N.C.

Make plans to be back in Shelbyville as the morning sessions continue in Calsonic Arena Thursday through Saturday, take a break on Sunday and return for a final session on Monday morning and remember, the action gets underway in the big oval on Thursday night, and it’s always a great one with classes including the Youth 11 and Under on Walking Mares, Three-Year-Old Walking Mares and Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions just to name a few.

Memories are being made every minute at the 70th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  Don’t miss out!

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