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HOT Competition On A HOT Thursday Night



By Mark Davis


            It’s finally CELEBRATION TIME IN TENNESSEE!  Yes, there have already been two successful sessions of day classes held on Wednesday and Thursday mornings at Calsonic Arena, but for so many people (this reporter included) The Celebration really never gets underway until that great white flag horse strides down the hill into the big outdoor oval.  As always, promptly at 7 p.m., that tradition continued with Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton presenting the American flag in all its glory. 

            The invocation for the first evening performance was given by Charles Williams of Fair Haven Baptist Church, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Gary Haile of Shelbyville, Tenn.

            As Bud and Counterfeit Dollar head up the chute, it’s time to call for the traditional first class on the Thursday night program, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Walking Mares, class 22 on this year’s schedule.  Fifteen of the 20 expected made their way down to the big oval to work for their chance to make that sentimental journey down victory lane in Shelbyville.  Judge Allen Forman called the gaits in the event.  Making that journey down victory lane was the duo of A Fire In Dixie and Robert Cortner, 2007 champions at Manchester, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show, Gallatin, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show and Lynchburg, Tenn.’s Moore County Horse Show, riding hard for The Cortner Family of Winchester, Tenn.  Headed back to the Magnolia State, A Private Benjamin and Bradley Moran picked up the reserve for W Mitchell & Wendy Moran of Carthage, Miss.  Spring Loaded Santana and Ty Hodge were third for Angie Nicholson and Julia Livingston of Sylva, N.C & Church Hill, Tenn.

            Class 23, brought the riders aged 50 and Over to the ring in the Elite Owner-Amateur Gentleman Riders on Walking Stallions class.  Eleven of the 19 with reservations hit the track to work for Call Judge Justin Jenne’ and his cohorts.  It was a familiar face taking the blue in the division back to the Peach state, Ed Breedlove and Kid Callahan, champions earlier this year at Panama City Beach, Fla.’s Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, riding for Keith Breedlove of Buford, Ga.  Another Georgia entry, A Special Ultra Copy and Bobby Mixon rode for the red streamers for Bobby and Linda Mixon of McIntyre, Ga.  Dragonfly and Bob Medina accepted the yellow streamers for Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J.

            The professional trainers made their first appearance in the big oval for 2007 in class 24A, Three Year Old Geldings.  Judge Sam Sorrell led the panel in the event which featured 12 of the 23 programmed entries.  Riding to the top of the division was It’s Silver Dollar Time and Joe Cotten riding for The Dan McSwain Family of Alpharetta, Ga.  Ritz At Sundown and Jimmy McConnell were a popular reserve for Dr. Les McGowan of Memphis, Tenn.  Jazzin’ Cash and Rollie Beard were third for Charles Gleghorn of Fayetteville, Tenn.

            Class 24B brought the trainers back for another section of Three Year Old Geldings.  Eighteen of the 21 expected made their way down the hill to work as Judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits in the split.  Making their way to the winner’s circle and playing a sweet tune all the way, was I’m Louis Armstrong and Joe Martin riding for Joe and Cena Martin of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Jose’s Sure Thing and Sam Martin carried the reserve back to the Palmetto State for Sarah Sheffield of Bennettsville, S.C.  Winky Groover and Just Another Command rounded out the top three for Crawford Colts of Carrollton, Ga.

            The Amateur riders with their young horses were up next on the evening’s schedule for class 25A, Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions.  Twenty-two of the 36 with reservations beat the clock to get the opportunity to work for World Championship acclaim under the watch of Call Judge Mike Carpenter and his panel.  Hitting it out of the park to make that coveted victory ride were The New York Yankee and Clay Mills, 2007 champions at Asheville, N.C.’s Land-O-The-Sky Summer Festival, making the strong ride for Lee Mills of Mt. Airy, N.C.  This win marked Mills’ second of the day as he topped the Amateur Owned and Trained division with Doc Ty during the Thursday morning session.  Gin And Juice and Marty Irby rode into the second position for Rick and Marla Lovett of Mobile, Ala.  Barbados and Lucky Collins accepted the golden silks for Don and Lucky Collins of Ft. Myers, Fla. & Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Nineteen of the 35 on the entry sheets made their way to the track for class 25B, Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions.  Judge Allen Forman called the gaits in the split.  Keeping the Ritz winning tradition alive and well, William Johnson and Naples Ritz made the stellar performance to ride down victory lane for William B. Johnson of Atlanta, Ga. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  This win added to their 2007 resume which featured wins at the Bethesda Horse Show and Lynchburg, Tenn.’s Moore County Horse Show.  Probation Officer and Suzanne Moore arrested the competition to walk away with the red ribbon for Bud and Suzanne Moore of Catherine, Ala.  Like A Rolling Stone and owner/exhibitor Kevin Parton of Washington, D.C. were third. 

            The pros were back for Class 26A, Three-Year-Old Walking Mares with 18 of the 26 expected making the trip down the hill to work for top honors in the division under the watchful eye of Call Judge Justin Jenne’ and his staff.  It didn’t take long for the secret to get out as Gary Edwards and Victoria’s Secret put on a flawless exhibition to top the tough division with style for Chester and Lynda Stokes of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.  Don’t think for a minute the crowd didn’t get excited about this duo’s performance, as they received a standing ovation from the East Grandstand as they made their victory pass.  Sheza Hottie and Rodney Dick rode in for the reserve honors for Jay and Barbara Kenehan of Oconomowoc, Wi. & Flat Creek, Tenn.  Out On Bond and Jerry Collier accepted the yellow ribbon for Harold Malone of Tuscumbia, Ala.

            Class 26B brought 23 more entries to the track for their split of the Three-Year-Old Walking Mares.  Judge Sam Sorrell led the panel in this division.  Leading this division was Bella Sera At The Ritz and Knox Blackburn, champions at Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show,  making the outstanding performance for The Anthony Joseph Family of Columbiana, Ala.  Dark Escape and Dale Watts accepted the red streamers for Brett and Lisa Jones of Tylertown, Miss.  Charlie Green and Ms. Jose Walks were third for Tommy and Sister Milligan of Panama City Beach, Fla.

            The Park Performance division took center stage for class 27, Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Performance Walking Mares or Geldings.  Twenty-six of the 37 programmed entries came to work as Judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits.  Topping the division for the second consecutive year, All American Ritz and Cynthia Wright topped the competitive division taking the honors home to Jackson, Tenn.  This duo preceded this win by collecting top honors at Shelbyville, Tenn.’s National Walking Horse Trainers’ Show, Henderson, Tenn.’s Chester County Horse Show and the Parkers Crossroads, Tenn. Horse Show.  The High Maintenance Lady and Gloria Dixon were reserve for Randall & Gloria Dixon/Red Eagle Farms of Dacula, Ga.  Paul Bryan and Mr. Rody rode away with the yellow streamers for The Paul Bryan Family of Thomasville, Ga.

            Back in the Amateur division, twelve of the 33 with reservations made their way down the chute for class 28, Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, 15.2 and Under.  Judge Mike Carpenter led the panel in this event.  Proving themselves to be a menace to the competition, The Phantom Menace and Thom Meek topped the division for Deerwood Manor of Brentwood, Tenn.  The duo came into The Celebration with an already impressive resume garnering wins at Panama City Beach, Fla.’s Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, Columbia, Tenn.’s Spring Jubilee, Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s Exchange Club Horse Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show.  Gossip and Candy Green were walking the walk and talking the talk as they accepted the reserve for Whitey Whitehead of Mt. Orab, Ohio.  Lucky Collins and Rocky Mountain Sky picked up the golden ribbons for Don & Lucky Collins of Ft. Myers, Fla. & Flat Creek, Tenn.

            Class 29, Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Geldings brought an extra large group of 34 to the ring to work under the watch of Judge Allen Forman and his staff.  The panel determined that additional work would be necessary to determine a champion in the division and asked 13 of the original 34 to remain for additional work.  When the work was complete it was the dynamic duo of Adrenaline and Patti Pollack riding to the winner’s circle for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  Beth Sims and Gen’s Major Motion accepted the red streamers for The Mike Chiappari Family of Santa Rosa, Calif.  Papa’s Smokin’ Pusher and Kelly Sherman were third for Floyd Sherman of Dallas, Texas and Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Class 30A brought the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions to the big oval with 22 of the 31 with reservations making the call to work for Judge Justin Jenne’ and his panel.  It was a tight race throughout the class, but when the work was complete it was clear who had passed the finish line first, The Indy 500 and Sue Ann Dowell, who had previous wins at Shelbyville, Tenn.’s MoneyTree Classic and Lynchburg, Tenn.’s Moore County Horse Show, riding for Jo Ann Dowell of Canton, Ohio.  I’m P Diddy and Sherri Pollack were close behind in the second spot for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  The Who and Carolyn Joseph rounded out the top three for The Anthony Joseph Family of Columbiana, Ala.

            Seventeen of the 27 expected made their way to the rail for Class 30B, Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions.  Judge Sam Sorrell called the gaits in the event.  It might not have been muddy in the ring (especially since it hasn’t rained in Middle Tennessee since spring) but that didn’t stop reigning Three-Year-Old Amateur WGC Muddy Buddy and Alicia Perry from walking their way back to the winner’s circle and taking the honors home to Gaffney, S.C.  The team picked up 2007 wins at Clemson, S.C.’s South Carolina Ladies Auxiliary Horse Show and White Pine, Tenn.’s East Tennessee Classic.  He’s Extraordinary was just that with rider Patti Pollack as he walked to the reserve title for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  Courtney Luttrell and Air Force One accepted third for Luttrell and Spangler of Alvaton, Ky.

            Class 31 brought the professional trainers back to the big oval for the final time of the evening for the Walking Geldings, 15.2 and Under (Canter) event.  Twelve of the 22 programmed entries came to show their stuff for Call Judge Ronnie Spears and the panel.

On a calm night in Shelbyville, He’s Wild Eyed and Wicked and Knox Blackburn stirred up things to top the good class for Eva Eddleman of Chattanooga, Tenn.  Blackburn’s father-in-law, Jimmy McConnell was in the second position with He’s Dr. Cash riding for Larry and Farrah McAlexander of Oxford, Miss.  Jazz Man’s Echo and Herbert Derickson garnered the yellow streamers for J & M Farms of Baileyton, Ala.

            The final class of the evening, Class 32, brought the Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses to the big oval with 27 of the 42 on the entry sheets making their way to work for Call Judge Mike Carpenter and his cohorts.  Topping the event was the team of Zulu and Suzanne Moore riding for Bud and Suzanne Moore of Catherine, Ala.  Coin’s Black Stroke and Jean O’brien accepted the red streamers for Reggie Pimental of Bell Buckle, Tenn.  I’m Armed & Lethal and owner/exhibitor Carolyn Rutner of Northport, Ala. accepted the yellow streamers.

Even though the temperatures were still near 100 degrees at show time, it didn’t stop the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration as 10, 419 fans were on hand, not a record, but a very strong attendance for a first Thursday, especially considering the extreme weather conditions.  It was strong night of competition as well with 290 entries competing at the highest level for that coveted Celebration blue.

            Make plans now to be back in Shelbyville on Friday evening to see the Youth Riders 11 and Under on Walking Geldings and Three-Year-Old Stallions and you won’t want to miss Patriotic Night, which is scheduled for Saturday night.  If you’ve never been to see the Patriotic Night presentation, you won’t want to miss it.  Oh, and by the way, we’ll get our first look at the Aged Stallions on Saturday night as well.

            It’s all a part of history being made at The Celebration.

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