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The Legend...Billy Gray



Traditional…historical…determined…gentleman…A LEGEND…these are just a few words that one could use to describe Billy Gray. However, no one would ever be able to do “The Legend” justice. His career, sportsmanship and generosity has stood the test of time. His legacy will live on forever. 

Gray left a hole in the walking horse industry in which will never be filled in the early morning hours, Wednesday, November 2, 2016. In his final moments he was surrounded by his close family.

Gray was born on March 17, 1937, in Gallatin, Tenn., to the late Emory Reese and Willie Catherine Campbell Gray. 

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife of over 40 years, Hilda Anne Boze Gray and sister, Peggy Pitts.

He is survived by his son, Tim (Patti) Gray of Shelbyville, Tenn., Daughter, Kathryn Ann (Kenneth) Gray Cook of Lewisburg, grandchildren, Chelsea Leigh (Dillon) Cook Connor and Baylee Ann Cook, great grandchildren, Noah Lambert and Isaiah Gray Lambert.

Gray directed a total of four different horses to the World Grand Championship throughout his over 50 year career. 

He credits Delight’s Bummin’ Around, the 1973 World Grand Champion, with placing him on the map and the road to success. At the Celebration the following year, the pair won the World Grand Championship, beating 14 other horses and riders to do so.

Gray won a second World Grand Championship in 1982 with the horse Pride's Secret Threat. That same year, he was named Trainer of the Year for the second time. He received the honor by his peers previously in 1972. Gray had also directed Secret Threat to world championship titles as a two, three and four-year-old. 

In 1984, Delight Of Pride was Gray's third World Grand Champion. They were unanimous in their stallion preliminary, as well as, the grand championship.

In 2010, Gray made what would be his final trip around the big oval aboard The Coach. 

Gray always went in the ring aiming to win, but even when he didn’t he was a true sportsman.

Celebration CEO Mike Inman had this to say of the Legend, “Billy Gray is the centerpiece to many legendary stories when people recite their favorite Celebration memories. Whether it was one of his record setting World Grand Championship rides or an exciting second way running walk the Master Showman gave it his all in the ring and in his life.  The Celebration, walking horse industry, and Shelbyville, has lost a special man.”

Though his accolades as a master showman far surpass most, Billy’s passion for life was watching his granddaughter’s Baylee and Chelsea play sports, spending time with this great grandchildren, Isaiah and Noah, as well as his daughter Kathryn Ann and son Tim.

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