by Sarah Smith

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Wednesday, August 24, 2016, The 78th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration kicked off in Calsonic Arena promptly at 9 a.m. on a beautiful day in the heart of horse country.

Judges for the 11-day event are Chris Bobo, Nathan Clark, Ray Gilmer, Sam Sorrell and Leigh Stuart. Dallas Eubanks handled the announcing duties and Mike Inman, CEO of the Celebration is the Show Manager. Brian Peery entertained with his organ and Shane Shiflet captured the event as Official Photographer.

The first class to the ring to vie for World Championship honors was the Model Pleasure Walking Mares, a Riders’ Cup class. Making their way down victory lane was Adorable Diamond and Beverly Lamp for Lorraine Rosbury. Adorable Diamond added this World Championship to her five International titles earned earlier this season. In addition to this World Championship, Adorable Diamond was the 2012 Youth Weanling World Champion, the 2013 TWHBEA National Futurity Yearling Fillies Champion, Yearling Fillies World Champion and Yearling World Grand Champion. Reserve in the class of beauties went to Mystic Jazz and Robert Nelms for Rushing Creek Walkers. Mystic Jazz picked up wins at the Mississippi Charity, Columbia Spring Jubilee and Christmas In July shows before making her way to the Celebration. Stevie Nix and Karen Harnden earned the third award for Lisa Teel. This duo topped the competition at the Arab Park and Recreation show in July and was reserve at the Manchester Lions Club. 

Eighteen entries answered the gate call for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, Optional Tack. Jamie Noe directed Ms. Understood to the World Championship title. Ms. Understood had previous wins at the WHOA Academy Show, WHOA Kick-Off Versatility, WHOA Pleasure Jamboree, Christmas in July and two wins at the International. Checkpoint Charlie and Tamara Hader picked up the Reserve World Championship title. Checkpoint Charlie and trainer Laurie Toone won earlier in the season at the Columbia Spring Jubilee.  Rounding out the top three was I B Smokin’ Joe and Donna Byard for Holly Thrasher Schroeder. I B Smokin’ Joe earned four wins before appearing at the Celebration.

Defending his title and claiming the Amateur Owned and Trained Lite-Shod Walking Horses World Championship for the third consecutive year was Kick Start Jazz and Justin Manis for Justin and Amanda Manis. Amanda Manis directed the champion to a blue at the Spring Fun Show in May. Manis and Kick Start Jazz were the 2012 Owner-Amateur Lite-Shod World Grand Champions. Reserve World Champions in the class was the team of The Jazz Bandit and Chris Coats for Chris and Laurie Coats.  This marked the sixth show for The Jazz Bandit in 2016.

Reigning World Grand Champions Designer Champagne and Kimberly Coult-Walden kicked off their 2016 Celebration with the Owner-Amateur Riders on English Country Pleasure Walking Horses World Championship.  The team also claimed this honor in 2015 along with the Owner-Amateur Western Country Pleasure World Grand Championship. Prior to the Celebration, Designer Champagne won at the Manchester Lions Club, the Gulf Coast Trainers’ Show and the Money Tree Classic. Reserve in the large class went to Out There And Lovin’ It and Caroline Sinden for Lee & H. Bruce Sinden. Out There And Lovin’ It captured eleven wins before walking into the Calsonic Arena and to a Reserve World Championship.  Third was the team of A Guilty Pleasure and Patty Pollack. Justice Carter directed A Guilty Pleasure to two wins earlier this season. 

Walking out of the 18-horse lineup with the title of World Champion Owner-Amateur Riders on Two and Three-Year-Old Country Pleasure Walking Horses, Optional Tack was the new team of Lisa Weaver and Bella Belle. Carrie Martin directed the youngster to her first win and only outing prior to the Celebration at the International. Bella Belle is sired by Shoot To Thrill and is out of a Pusher’s Twist About mare. Roan Ranger and Maggie Moore earned the honor of Reserve World Champions. Roan Ranger and Maggie Moore earned 11 wins earlier in the year at the Mississippi Charity, WHOA Versatility, Germantown Charity, Christmas In July and the International. Sweet As Strawberry Wine and Kailin Kesselring rounded out the top three in the talent packed class. Sired by Jose’ Jose’ and out of a Jazzman mare, Sweet As Strawberry Wine earned top honors at the Upper Cumberland horse show back in the spring.

Next to the ring was the Owner-Amateur Riders on English Trail Pleasure Walking Horses. Riding to the winners’ circle to claim the World Championship was Fuego and Allison Thorson making the team three for three in 2016. Fuego picked up two World Championships and a World Grand Championship at the 2015 Celebration. The Reserve World Championship went to reigning World Grand Champions, Etta James By TJB and Kathy Zeis. Etta James By TJB walked her way to early season wins at the FAST Spring Showcase, Columbia Spring Jubilee and the Money Tree Classic. Dale Steinmetz rode Confederate Jazz to the third place honor. Before heading to the Celebration, Confederate Jazz earned eleven blues in 2016.

The Western Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Four Years & Under, Riders’ Cup took the track next. Riding to the World Championship with a unanimous choice of the judging panel was I’m Dixie Blue and Chris Helton for Kara Graham. I’m Dixie Blue won earlier in the year at the East Tennessee Classic and the Chestnut Hill Charity Horse Shows. Dixie’s Pistol Annie and Jeff Laughlin carried the reserve honor back to owner Jannie Chapman. This duo won at the Gallatin Memorial Show in July. Third place honors went to Dr. Golf and Patrick Thomas for Ginger Williams. Sired by The Titleist and out of a Dr. Elmer mare, this was the young talents third show ring appearance.

Four talented entries answered the gate call for the Western Lite-Shod Walking Horses, Four-Years and Under, Riders’ Cup. Riding to the World Championship honor with unanimous approval of the judges went to Big Time Bandit and Patrick Thomas for Scott and Kim Leonard. Sired by the Leonard’s beloved The Silver Bandit, Big Time Bandit made victory passes at the Mississippi Charity and Liberty Lions Club shows before taking on the Celebration. Joe Lester rode Little Toy Gunn to reserve honors for Christmas Creek Farm. Little Toy Gunn won twice at the Upper Cumberland Horse Show, twice at the Putnam County Fair and also at the Smith County Horse Show earlier in the season. Third in the class went to If I Were You and Laurie Toone for Lloyd Cassidy. This show ring appearance marked the third outing for If I Were You in 2016.

Youth riders took the track next to show off their Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings. Claiming their fifth consecutive World Championship in the division was Jackson Stephens aboard BB King’s Jazz for the Stephens and Womack ownership. BB King’s Jazz has topped the competition three previous times this year. I’m Johnny Dollar and Lake Weaver earned the Reserve World Championship for Vickie Penick. I’m Johnny Dollar and Jeff Laughlin won at the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show earlier in the season.

Riding to the World Championship title in the Lite-Shod Walking Horses, Three and Four Years Old, Riders’ Cup class was Moonshine At Midnight and Patrick Thomas for Sherry Roberts. This team won at the National Trainers’ Show and was a two-time World Champion in 2015 with both Patrick Thomas and Kyndra Myers riding. With wins at the Cumberland County and Christmas In July Shows earlier in the year, I’m Majestic and trainer Jeff Laughlin earned the Reserve World Championship for Karen Baum. Rounding out the top three was Little Toy Gunn and Joe Lester for Christmas Creek Farm.

Riding to her second World Championship of the morning was Kimberly Coult-Walden. This ride was aboard Jazzanova in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old English Trail Pleasure Walking Horses. This team also earned top honors at the WHAA Summer Classic. Reserve honors went to A Major Jose and Kyle Bush. A Major Jose added this title to his list of 2016 wins at the Upper Cumberland, Smith County and Money Tree Classic Horse Shows. The Kraken and Erica Hester carried home the third place award in the large class. The Kraken topped the competition five times prior to this Celebration performance in 2016.

Closing out the first session of the 78th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was the Owner-Amateur Riders on Country Pleasure Walking Horses, Four Years and Under, Optional Tack. Fifteen entries answered the gate call. Pulling from the line up and into the winners’ circle claiming back-to-back World Championships and her third of the morning was Kimberly Coult-Walden riding Diamond At The Ritz with a unanimous choice of the judges. This title continues the duo’s undefeated season.  Reserve honors went to 2015 World Champion Please Don’t Tell with Anna Kaminski. Please Don’t Tell had 2016 wins at the National Trainer’s Show, FAST Spring Showcase, Columbia Spring Jubilee, and The International.  Third in the class went to American Hustle and Jennifer Bingham for Bingham and Anderson. Kathy Anderson ride American Hustle to the winners’ circle at the Mid-Summer World Series Qualifier earlier in the year.

Action will continue in Calsonic Arena tonight with the TWHBEA National Futurity.