by Mark Davis

It’s Wednesday Night at the Celebration! That means it’s the final night of preliminary competition of the 71st annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and a great final night it promised to be with 13 classes of competition featuring entries from the Fine Harness, three sections of Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings, Aged Geldings and Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions (Canter).

Of course, if the preliminary competition will be complete tonight, that means it will be time to hand out some roses tomorrow night so be ready!

The judges for the 71st annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration include Rollie Beard of Lewisburg, Tenn., Jennifer Bingham of Shelbyville, Tenn., Jamie Bradshaw of Union Grove, Ala., Mike Carpenter of Franklin, Tenn., and Sam Sorrell of Flemingsburg, Ky.

The invocation for the evening was given by the Rev. Lloyd Doyle, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Mark Hulsey of Atlanta, Ga.

Up first on the evening’s schedule was class 128, Fine Harness, who worked their way to the track with seven of the 19 on the program driving their elegant buggies down from Calsonic Arena to show off for the Wednesday evening crowd. Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge for the class. Driving to the win in the class was Lewisburg, Tenn.’s, Wayne Dean with Available Stock driving for Mike Floyd and Susan Coleman of Columbia and Unionville, Tenn. Scott Beaty and Clutch’s Power Play pulled in for the reserve honors for Double Springs Farm of Murfreesboro, Tenn. Catin’ Around and Ronal Young were third for Jack Heffington of Murfreesboro, Tenn.


Class 129A, Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings brought 14 of the 31 with reservations down to the historic Celebration Arena to show their very best for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his panel. Taking the win back to the Palmetto State was Call Me Ted and Emma Lee Cannon riding for Mary Ellen Owens of Sumter, S.C. This duo preceded this win by picking up blues at the South Carolina Ladies Auxiliary Horse Show and the Land O The Sky Summer Festival. Bum In The Storm and Rhonda Stewart picked up the red streamers for Stewart Nursery and Farms of McMinnville, Tenn. He’s Solid As A Rock and Erica Jenne’ rounded out the top three for Frazier and Jenne’ of Jamestown and Belfast, Tenn.

Another section of 14 made the call for class 129B, Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings and worked for their chance to make that sentimental journey down victory lane tonight. Judge Mike Carpenter led the panel in the section. Making the winning pass in the section was Dressed For Cash and Erica Jenne’ in the irons for Frazier and Jenne’ of Jamestown and Belfast, Tenn. Grinding out a strong reserve was Limestone Lucy and owner/exhibitor Steve Heitmiller taking the honors way out west to Laguna Beach, Calif. Headed Carolina way, She’s Electric and Rhonda Warren collected the golden streamers for Rhonda Warren and Tyler Baucom of Winston-Salem and Monroe, N.C.


Class 129C, Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings featured 20 of the 32 on the books taking their spot on the rail as Judge Sam Sorrell called the gaits in the split. Picking up his second blue of the week, Muchos Colores, already a World Champion Three-Year-Old Gelding with trainer Knox Blackburn, returned with MaryBeth Blessing to top this division for What A Blessing Farm of Bristol, Tenn. This duo rode to the blue on three occasions leading up to their Celebration acclaim at the Lady Azules Horse Show, the Cumberland County Horse Show and the O.K. Hege Horse Show. Rosetta Stone and Patty Marek pulled into the second spot for Patty Marek and Gary Smith of Shelbyville, Tenn. Jose’s Centerfold and Bill Williams were third for Great Oaks Farms of Ripley, Tenn.

The professional trainers were back in the big oval for class 130, Walking Geldings, Five Years & Over, Over 15.2 (Canter). Eight of the 26 with reservations made their way down the hill to work for Call Judge Rollie Beard and his panel. Busting through to the blue with a unanimous decision of the panel was Busting Special and Jimmy McConnell up for the Molly Walters family of Southlake, Texas. Bold Vengeance and Rodney Dick were reserve for Judy McDonald of Tullahoma, Tenn. Royal Luck and Chad Baucom were third for Ray Solley of Decatur, Ala.

Class 131 featured the Park Performance Walking Horses, Five Years & Over with 11 of the 29 expected making the gate call to work as Judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits in the class. Riding to his eighth World Championship title was All American Ritz with trainer Howard Hamilton in the irons for Cynthia Wright of Jackson, Tenn. Another Southern Serenity Farms entry, High Fashion Statement and Patrick Thomas pulled in for second for Jamie Gardner of Bridgewater, Va. The Concealed Weapon and David Landrum were third for Robert Pollack of Saratoga, Calif.

The Amateur Owned & Trained Walking Horses, No Professional Training within 90 Days were up next on the evening’s program, class 132 on the schedule. Eleven of the 20 on the books made their way for their chance at Celebration acclaim under the watch of Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his cohorts. Claiming the win in the division impressing all five judges was Jazz Eclipse and owner/exhibitor Justin Harney, 2009 champions at the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, of Murfreesboro, Tenn. Tarheel’s Angelique and Kenny Compton were second in the class for Rick Compton of North Tazewell, Va. Vigor’s Image and Chet Mills rounded out the top three for Fikes, Mills and Renegar of Hamilton, Ala., and Shelbyville, Tenn.


Seventeen of the 38 entries on the class sheet made the call for class 133, Young Trainers, 35 & Under, on Walking Mares or Geldings. Judge Mike Carpenter served as lead official in this class. The Prime Suspect and Aaron Self rode to the top of this division topping all five cards, riding for Brian and Candra Carroll of Sevierville, Tenn. A High Dollar Charge and Stephen Aymett were reserve for Beverly Sherman of Dallas, Texas. The Man Of The Town and Bill Callaway were third for Don Pratt of Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

The amateur riders were up next for class 134, Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, Five Years & Over, (Canter). Eleven of the 30 with reservations worked down the hill to show off their three-gaited walking ways under the watchful eyes of Judge Sam Sorrell and his panel. Impressing the judges and the crowd were the many time WGC Ironwork’s Tin Man and Steve Jones in the saddle for Ray Jones Trucking, Inc. of Greenville, Ky. Roll The Gold and Spud Warr were a strong reserve riding for Jeanette Warr of Phenix City, Ala. MOAB and Kenny Compton were picked up the yellow ribbon for Della Compton of North Tazewell, Va.

Adding a little variety to the evening schedule, class 135 featured the Mare & Foal class with all ten of the scheduled teams of mommas and babies working to the rail as Judge Rollie Beard served as Call Judge for the class. As the judging panel walked the lineup, Celebration organist Larry Bright, always one to have the right song for the moment, broke out into his rendition of “Baby Face”. Topping the class was Stylin’ and her foal, Always In Style with Dr. Brian Wright and Amanda Winters at the lead for the George Wright family of Mt. Juliet, Tenn. Jose’s Special and Lady Oops, Peek A Boo with Logan Goostree and Carla Hurley at the lead were reserve for Laurale Lowery of Hendersonville, Tenn. Eagle’s Lady Sue and Oops Sassy Lady with Ashley Say and Bobby Richards at the lead were third for the Womack and Say families of Nashville, Tenn.

Class 136 brought the Park Pleasure Walking Stallions, Five Years & Over to the ring with five of the thirteen expected finding their prime spot on the rail to work for World Championship acclaim in the division as Judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits in the class. Taking the win back way out west with the approval of all five judges, was Sam Whiskey and Jamey Thompson making the victory pass for Stonegait Farms of Orange, Calif. Yao Ming and Bruce Hankins pulled in for the reserve honors for Nicole Coffey of Lewisburg, Tenn. Another California entry, Gen’s Major Coin and Brad Davis were third for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif.

Class 137A brought the Walking Horses, Five Years & Over (Specialty) to the track with five of the 24 in the official Celebration program beating the clock to work for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his panel. Jazzed Up and John Allen Callaway were called to the winner’s circle in the event for Bramlett and Wilson of Shelbyville, Tenn. Jazz’s Master and David Landrum rode into the second spot for Bryce and Lisa Stasney of Lincolnton, N.C. Jimmy McConnell and Up For Parole were a popular third for Robert and Janelle Jones of Memphis, Tenn.

Walking Horses, Five Years & Over (Specialty), class 137B, rounded out the Wednesday evening performance with eight of the 22 with reservations working down to the big oval to work for Judge Mike Carpenter and his cohorts. Riding to the final blue of the evening were Jazz Country and Tim Smith riding for Beverly McNeill of Andalusia, Ala. Chad Way and Lots Of Luck had just that as they rode into the second spot for Joe Dietz of New Castle, Ind. Made Over All Over and Don Mason were third for Preston Swing of Murfreesboro, Tenn.


And with that, the preliminary competition of the 71st annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was complete and in the record books. Be sure you’re on hand on Thursday evening for an outstanding night of Championship competition highlighted by the 15.2 & Under World Grand Championship and the Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship. It will be one very exciting night, so make sure you’re on hand to see history being made at The Celebration.