JFK’s Irish Dream, Gen’s Burning Rage, Cheatin’ Danger and The Golden Sovereign All Walk Out World Champions


By Mark Davis


It’s 6:30 pm in Shelbyville and that means it’s show time in Shelbyville at the Wednesday evening performance of the 68th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  Of course, this would be the final performance of preliminary competition with the rides for the roses beginning on Thursday evening.

            The invocation for this performance was given by Chuck Essary of First Baptist Church, Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of our national anthem by Gary Haile of Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Up first on the evening’s schedule, rescheduled from Friday night, was the Park Performance Walking Horses, Four Years Old and Under.  Twenty-one entries made the gate call to work under the watchful eye of Judge Wink Groover and staff.  Blowing their way to the winner’s circle were Straight Line and Jeff Green riding for Carolyn Deleon of Losi, Calif.  Making their mark as well were Pzazz Marks and Robby Black in the irons riding into the second position for Ralph Craighead of Chattanooga, Tenn.  JFK’s Ten High and Michelle Mercier were third for Cooper and Torrance of Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Thirteen entries were expected to head down the hill for class 55, Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares.  Due to the fall of the classes on the original program, Judge Groover once again served as Call Judge in this event.  It’s wasn’t a dream, it was JFK’S Irish Dream and Sue Harrington, 2006 champions at the National Trainers’ Show and Spring Fun Show, making that cherished victory rider for Joe Harrington of LaQuinta, Ca.  Oh, by the way, the duo topped the division with a unanimous decision of the panel.  Labeled In Lace and Gail Walling were in the reserve spot for Mark and Gail Walling of Wartrace, Tenn.  Already a World Champion with trainer John Allan Callaway in the saddle, Debbie Myers and I’m Causin’ Commotion were an impressive third for Jim and Debbie Myers of Flat Creek, Tenn.
            Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod, Riders 18 and Over, class 56, was up next with 11 entries hitting the track to work for the large Wednesday night crowd.  Judge Tommy Loid handled the duties calling the gaits.  Riding to the top of the division that might have been light on entries but high on talent with at least five current or past World Champions and two World Grand Champions was Reigning Lite Shod World Grand Champion Double Java and trainer Scott Benham riding hard for Mike and Kathy Chiappari of Santa Rosa, Ca.  Already a 2006 World Champion, Pusher’s Beaming Pride and trainer Howard Hamilton picked up the red silks for Debbie and Jim Nichols of New Market, Tenn.  Elegance Of Design and Craig Swagerty were third for Nancy Lovato of Lehi, Utah.

            Seven of the 16 with reservations made the call for the first class of the regular evening schedule, Class 121A, Fine Harness.  Judge Wink Groover served as call judge back in the regular rotation for the evening.  Burning a trail to the winner’s circle once again was the many time WC and WGC mare, a 2006 Fine Harness Champion at Columbia, Tenn.’s Spring Jubilee, Gen’s Burning Rage with trainer Joe Cotten at the whip for The Dan McSwain Family of Alpharetta, Ga.  Hal’s Six Shooter and Rollie Beard were a popular reserve for Mike Floyd and Susan Coleman of Columbia, Tenn.  Mighty Brew and Bill Cantrell collected the yellow streamers for Dr, Linda Jones and Haley Lane of Bainbridge, Ga.

Masie and Keith McSwain after his win on The Golden Sovereign

            Class 121B, Fine Harness, found eight of the sixteen expected taking control of the track as Judge Tommy Loid led the panel in the event.  Topping the division for the fourth consecutive year was the unstoppable pair of General Custer and Scott Benham  driving for Stephen Bourne/Nevada B Ranch of Minden, Nev.  With this win Benham and General Custer retired The Sam Caldwell Memorial Challenge Trophy for the second time!  Impressive indeed!  Everyone’s big bay favorite, He’s A Rebel and Dick Myers were in the second position for Dick and Joyce Myers of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Joe Cotten and I’m Splashed were third for Hillview Promotions and Lindsey Landrum of Tupelo, Miss., and Franklin, Tenn.

            Twenty-two of the 55 programmed entries worked to the rail in class 122A, Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings.  Judge Huck Moss took his first turn as Call Judge for the evening.  Picking up the hometown win with a big smile on her face and maybe even a tear or two, were Miss Demanding and Kay Adcock proudly riding for Lee and Kay Adcock of Shelbyville, Tenn.  This win was preceded with 2006 wins at Shelbyville, Tenn.’s National Trainers’ Show, Wartrace, Tenn.’s Walking For Charity and Columbia, Tenn.’s Walking In The Park.  Showing a little flirtin’ never hurts, Flirtin’ At The Ritz and Lisa Bryan showed their stuff to earn a good reserve for The Paul Bryan Family of Thomasville, Ga.  Cashin’ In At Sundown and Betty Corlew garnered third for James Corlew Chevrolet of Clarksville, Tenn.

            Class 122B, Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings brought 25 of the 51 expected down to the big ring to work for their chance in the Celebration winner’s circle under the watchful eye of Judge Ronnie Spears and staff.

After picking up the win in the professional division on Thursday night with trainer Brent Grider, the big walking Witch Revival returned tonight with Julie Grider to top the outstanding division for The Tommy Grider Family of Columbia, Ky.  This win marked Julie Grider’s second win of the week as the captured the blue in the Owner Amateur Stallions with The Sky Command.  Bright Sky and Lucky Collins pulled in to pick up the red streamers for Don and Lucky Collins of Ft. Myers, Fla.  Erica Derickson and Busted At Bonnaroo captured the yellow streamers for B & D Investors of Shelbyville, Tenn.

            The professional trainers were back on the track for class 123, Walking Geldings, Five-Years and Over, Over 15.2 (Canter) with 12 of the 29 entered heading down the chute to work as Judge Jamie Bradshaw served as Call Judge in the event.  There was no cheatin’ going on as Joe Cotten and Cheatin’ Danger were very impressive in topping the division, in the same style they did at Columbia, Tenn.’s Walking In The Park Show, for Trish Harrison and Four Centuries Farm of Nashville and Greeneville, Tenn.  By winning the class in 2004 and 2006, the pair retired The Bernice Holloway Memorial Challenge Trophy.  Armed To Show and Allan Callaway were reserve for The Dan McSwain Family of Alpharetta, Ga.  Jazz Time and Herbert Derickson  were third for The Mickey Adcock Family of McMinnville, Tenn.

Kay Adcock and Miss Damanding

            The very popular Park Performance division was up next with 25 entries making the gate before the time expired to work in class 124, Park Performance Walking Horse, Five-Years and Over.  Judge Wink Groover called the gaits in the division.  Striking once again, just as they were earlier this week with owner Cynthia Wright, All American Ritz and Howard Hamilton were back in the winner’s circle for Cynthia Wright of Jackson, Tenn. This duo captured the World title in 2005 in the Park Performance Horses, Four Years and Under event. The Concealed Weapon and Joe Cotten were in the second spot for S & P, LLC of Saratoga, Calif.  Bill Callaway and Central Command accepted the yellow silks for Jimmy and Vivian Reddy of Madison, Ga.

            Class 125, Amateur Owned and Trained Walking Horses, No Professional Training within 90 Days featured 24 of the 40 expected making their way through the big gate to work hard as Judge Tommy Loid led the panel.  Repeating their 2005 win, Extra Ebony and Clay Mills were as tough as ever taking home back to back wins for Lee Mills of Mt. Airy, N.C.  This win added to a 2006 resume which included wins at the North Carolina Spring Show, Clemson, S.C.’s South Carolina Ladies Auxiliary Horse Show, Williamston, N.C.’s Eastern North Carolina Show, Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Spring Fun Show, Lexington, Va.’s Virginia Celebration, White Pine, Tenn.’s East Tennessee Classic and Asheville, N.C.’s Land-O-The-Sky Summer Festival.  Eight wins in four states, very impressive indeed!  Boomer In Command and Andy Adkins were a popular reserve for Becky Sharp of Etheridge, Tenn.  Headed back to Alabama, Symbol Of Ritz and owner/exhibitor Roger Latham of Baileyton, Ala., were third.

Howard Hamilton and All American Ritz

            Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, Classic Horses, 15 Years and Over, class 126 on the program, was up next with nine of the 16 with reservations making the track to work for Judge Huck Moss and the panel.  That’s right folks, each and every one of these horses in this event were 15 years of age or more.  Announcer Chip Walters told the crowd that the collective age of the  nine horses in the ring totaled an almost unreal 160 years!  Just eligible for the division at the age of 15, Mister Pushbutton and Candy Butler were as stylish as always walking away with the win for Glen & Virgie Crutchfield of Memphis, Tenn.  Former WGC Final’s Eb Tide, age 17, and Sherri Pollack claimed the red silks for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif., and Shelbyville, Tenn.  Network, age 18, and Lisa Baum were third for Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn.  On an interesting note, the senior member of the division was Royal Label, age 23, who tied seventh with Denise Bader for Bader and Keyser of Wemding, Germany.

            A traditional highlight of the Wednesday night performance, the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, Five Years and Over , Over 15.2, (Canter) was up next on the schedule at class 127.  Eleven of the 26 programmed entries worked their way to the rail to show off their very best for Judge Ronnie Spears and his cohorts.  Displaying their big walking ways, The Golden Sovereign and Keith McSwain, champions at Shelbyville, Tenn.’s National Trainers’ Show, Panama City Beach, Fla.’s Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Spring Fun Show, Woodbury, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show, made the blue ribbon ride for The Dan McSwain Family of Alpharetta, Ga.  More Of The Major and Kay Green were reserve for Dr. Jim and Kay Green of Meridian, Miss.  Kentucky’s own Dirty Little Games and owner/exhibitor Brandi Todd-Mills of Richmond, Ky., were third in the very talent laden division.

            The mamas and babies were up next for class 128, Mare & Foal with eight of the nine expected got all slicked up to look their very best for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and the Celebration panel.  Topping the event was mama, Mikasa and baby, Whoopin It In Command, walking to the winner’s circle with Nathan Mills and Chris Hazelwood at the lead for Nathan and April Mills of Nashville, Tenn.  Pushers Walkin On and baby, She’s All Cashed In, presented by Charles Gleghorn and Christen Lovvorn were in the second position for Charles Gleghorn of Fayetteville, Tenn.  Gen’s If Looks Could Kill and Gen’s NRA were third with Robert Nelms and Bob Nelms showing for Carole Hargett & Bob Neal of Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Class 129, Park Pleasure Walking Stallions, Five Years and Over were up next with nine of the 19 on the sheets working the rail as Call Judge Wink Groover and staff looked on.  Taking the win back to West Tennessee, trainer Bart Gilmer and Gold Danger struck gold pulling in the honors, just as they had earlier this year at Monroe, La.’s Louisiana Jubilee and Corinth, Miss.’s Magnolia Classic, for Susannah Borg of Ponte Verde, Fla.  Kody’s Charmer and Bruce Hankins were reserve for Jimmy and Beth Taylor of Nettleton, Miss.  Headed back to North Carolina, Northstar By Design and Brandon Helms were third for Wanda Helms of Locust, N.C.

Julie Grider and Witch Revival
            The final class of the evening, class 130 found five entries hitting the track for the Trainers 60 Years and Over on Walking Horses.  Judge Tommy Loid served as Call Judge for one last time on the night’s performance.  Picking up a roar from the crowd, Capone and Billy Gray walked away with the win for Farmers’ Livestock Market & Tina Graves of Glasgow, Ky., and Bell Buckle, Tenn.  Ah, yes, Capone and Mr. Gray were looking fine making that last victory pass of the night.  Sky Dazed and Tommy Howell were reserve for Mr. & Mrs Doug Brown of Knoxville, Tenn.  H.T. Derickson made the trip down from Kentucky to make fine show for third with Solar Generated for Dr. & Mrs. John C. Brundige of Sugar Grove, Ill.

            Ah, yes, it was another great night of horse show with competition that would be truly hard to beat.  Now, with all the preliminary work complete, the action will heat up even more with the work for the roses getting started Thursday night.  It will be a big night highlighted by the Youth Pony WGC, Youth 11 and Under WGC and topping off the evening, the Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship.  Make plans to be here and be a part of the action that can only be found one place . . .The Celebration!