by Mark Davis

After an action packed Celebration Saturday, highlighted by two outstanding sections of Aged Stallions closing out the Saturday evening performance, Sunday usually provides some much needed time to rest, relax and get ready for the week ahead.   As normal, there were no day classes, but there was action at Calsonic Arena as the Trade Fair was open for business and the Walking Horse Trainers Ladies Auxiliary’s Annual Dog Show took center stage to provide entertainment for those in need.

The Sunday evening performance tends to be a little more of a laid back affair than Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean that the competition will be any less fierce.  Thirteen classes make up the schedule which is highlighted by the Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions, the Aged Mares and the Open Show Pleasure Mares or Geldings. Several classes for the young riders were also scattered throughout the schedule making for a great night of action.

The invocation for the evening was given by Rev. Stephen Caine, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem performed on the flute by Jon Brock of Shelbyville, Tenn.

As with every performance of the 71st annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, marking the cards this evening was 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.

With that, it was time for the horse show to get under way with class 82, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-14 Years on Walking Mares or Geldings.  Thirteen of the 25 expected made their way down to the historic Celebration Arena as Judge Sam Sorrell called the gaits in the section.  Taking the win in the division back home to the Magnolia State were the team of A Private Benjamin and Lilly Waites, champions in 2009 at the Dickson County Horse Show,  riding for the Andrew Waites family of Hattiesburg, Miss.  Headed back Virginia way, She’s Push In Command JA and Lindsay Hess were reserve for Zenda Hill Farm of Harrisonburg, Va.  Generated By Jose and Trey Blackburn were third for Nancy Barker of Arab, Ala.

Class 83 featured the Elite Owner Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares & Geldings with 12 of the 34 programmed entries working to the rail to show off their very best for Judge Rollie Beard and his panel.  Making an outstanding performance to take the win back to the Lone Star State with a unanimous decision of the panel was Ultra Copy’s Dark Shadow and owner/exhibitor Paulette Cheek of Houston, Texas.  This win was preceded with a blue ribbon ride at the PC Splash Horse Show and a strong reserve at Arab Park and Recreation Horse Show.  Another Mississippi rider, Madeline Tew and Shakin For Cash pulled in to pick up the red streamers for Kimble and Madeline Tew of Waynesboro, Miss.  Express’s First Lady and owner/exhibitor Lisa Marbry of Atoka and Shelbyville, Tenn.,  rounded out the top three in the class.

The young riders were back for Class 84A, Owner-Amateur Novice Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings.  Eight of the 16 on the books beat the clock to work for their first ever Celebration blue tonight.  Ah, what a moment that would be!  Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge for the split.   And what a moment it was for Miss Alana Copas and The White Mask taking the World Championship win and riding right out of the Novice division for Karen Bethel and Alana Copas of Monticello, Ky.  It had already been a great 2009 season for this team as they had ridden to wins at the Dr. C.C. Chitwood Memorial Horse Show, Smith County Horse Show, Metcalfe County Horse Show, Casey County Horse Show and Sumner County Fair Horse Show.  Remaining a Novice for another day, Landon Callicutt and Jose’s Border Patrol rode into the second position for John Callicutt of Seagrove, N.C.  Owner/exhibitor Shelby Sims of Nicholasville, Ky., was third with Smooth Skyes. 

Class 84B, Owner-Amateur Novice Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings featured seven of the 16 with reservations looking for their first ever Celebration blue as Judge Jamie Bradshaw called the gaits in the section.  Capturing that first win with an outstanding performance was General Willie and owner/exhibitor Nathan Oliver of Bowling Green, Ky.  Young Mr. Oliver had already had a great Celebration riding to reserve honors with his sister’s horse, Major Player and preceded this win with General Willie with 2009 wins at the Upper Cumberland Horse Show, Bedford County 4-H Horse Show, and Edmonson County Horse Show.  Freak Design and Madeleine Coleman were reserve in this class taking honors home to Money, Miss.  Peyton Manning and Reilly Miller were third for Karmen Miller of Knoxville, Tenn.

The professional trainers were up for class 85, Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions, with 11 of the 25 on the books making the call to work in the preliminary for the Four-Year-Old World Grand Championship as Judge Mike Carpenter called the gaits in the class.  Walking the winning line with a unanimous decision of the panel, was the team of Lined Walkin’ and Justin Harris in the irons for the Joey Tidwell family of Rockmart, Ga.  This duo’s 2009 wins included the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, Liberty Lions Club Horse Show, and Dickson County Horse Show.  Gary Edwards and Game World stopped in for the red ribbons for Chester and Lynda Stokes of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.  Chad Williams and Gin And Juice accepted the yellow streamers for Rick and Marla Lovett of Mobile, Ala.


The young riders were back on the track for class 86, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 15-17 Years on Walking Ponies with 12 of the 19 with reservations securing their best spot on the rail to work for Judge Sam Sorrell and his cohorts.  Carrying the win way out west it was He’s Extraordinary and Ashley Diamond Pollack, 2009 Spring Fun Show champions,  headed to the winner’s circle for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif., and Shelbyville, Tenn.  Rudy Rudiger and Alexandria Holland were reserve in the division for the Children of Neal and Sherry Holland of Decatur, Ala.  The Classic Horse, Silver Design and Alex Way were a popular third for Ellison, Way and Allred of Thorsby, Tuscaloosa, Ala, and Jamestown, Tenn.

Class 87 featured the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, 70 Years & Over with nine of the 17 in the Official Celebration program riding down from Calsonic Arena to show they can still ride with the best of them as Judge Rollie Beard called the gaits.  Riding to the win in the division, just as they did in 2006, 2007 and 2008, was the impressive duo of Cash’s All Star and Dr. W.H. Hill in the irons for Dr. & Mrs. W.H. Hill of Powder Springs, Ga.  It’s worthy of note that Dr. Hill is 91 years young and still riding and winning, very impressive indeed!  Radical Jazz and Mo Nisbett was second for Dr. and Mrs. Harry Nisbett of Tullahoma, Tenn.  Jimmy Lackey and JFK’s Bravado were third for Lackey Properties of Forest, Miss., and Shelbyville, Tenn.

Now, it was time to move from the senior riders to the junior riders as class 88 featured the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings.  All eight of the expected entries beat the clock to work for the Celebration blue in the class under the watchful eyes of Judge Jennifer Bingham and her panel.  Taking the win back to the Show Me State, JFK’s Fancy Lady Leslie and Jesse Laughlin topped the event for 4-J Land and Cattle Company of Waynesville, Mo.  Headed out even further west for reserve were Blast Of Black Power and Luke Benham up for Langley and Benham of Sand Point, Idaho and Cherry Valley, Calif.  Santana’s Coin and Lindsey Landrum collected the yellow streamers for McNeely and Landrum of Blowing Rock, N.C. & Franklin, Tenn.

The trainers were back for class 89, Walking Mares, Five Years & Over, Over 15.2 (Canter).  Five of the 12 on the program beat the clock to work for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his cohorts.  A secret no more, the reigning Four-Year-Old World Champion Mare, Victoria’s Secret and trainer Gary Edwards moved up to the aged division in style, and with the same success picking up the win with a unanimous decision of the panel for Chester and Lynda Stokes of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.  This win was preceded by 2009 wins at the Walton County Horse Show, King Cotton Horse Show and Tony Rice Horse Show.  Ms. Jose’ Walks and Charlie Green rode into the second position in the class for Sister Milligan of Panama City, Fla.  Hey Hey Ole’ and Jimmy McConnell rounded out the top three for Rachel Castaldi of Princeton, N.J.

Class 90A, Owner – Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings featured 15 of the 28 with reservations making their way down the hill and through the storied gates to show their very best for Judge Mike Carpenter and his staff. Topping the division was the stylish team of Showboat’s Heartstopper and owner/exhibitor Lisa Evans of Mt. Sterling, Ky.  This duo’s had a great 2009 on the Kentucky circuit garnering wins at the Derby Classic, North Middletown, Ky., Carter County Shrine Horse Show, Bourbon County Horse Show, and Estill County Horse Show.  Another Bluegrass team, Dollar’s Big & Rich and Wes Hendrick were in the second spot for Kenny Hendrick of Bowling Green, Ky.  Jose Dulce’ and Kathryn Ramsbottom were third for Bob Ramsbottom of Norris, Tenn.


Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings, class 90B, brought 12 of the 29 on the books to the big oval to work as Judge Sam Sorrell called the gaits in the section.  Taking the win back to the Lone Star State and marking down another World Champion sired by her beloved Hard Texas Cash, was Terror On The Border and Nancy Groover, 2009 champions at the Alabama Ladies Auxiliary Horse Show and the Woodbury Lions Club Horse Show, riding for Wink and Nancy Groover of Longview, Texas.  Oh, and the duo captured the win by claiming all five first place votes.  Showboat Chaparral and Yvonna Matthis were reserve for Travis Matthis of Morganton, N.C.  Laura Brandon and Hickory’s Sinatra pulled in for the yellow streamers heading home to Franklin, Tenn.

Class 91 brought the Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Stallions down to the big oval with 14 of the 33 expected working for their chance to make their Celebration dreams come true and head home with that very first Celebration win.  Judge Rollie Beard served as Call Judge for the class.  Riding right out of the Novice division tonight were The Who and Molly Walters, 2009 champions at the Brownsville/Haywood County Horse Show and Mid South Horse Show, riding for the Molly Walters family of Southlake, Texas.  Command Again and Mary Ann Blessing remained a novice another day and secured the second spot for What A Blessing! Farm of Bristol, Tenn.  Pickin’ The Blues and Lorie Riddley were third for Alan and Lorie Riddley of Shelby, N.C.  

The final class on the Sunday evening schedule was class 92, Show Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings.  Seventeen of the 33 with reservations were on hand to work as Judge Jennifer Bingham led the panel in the class. Making one “hot” performance, She’s One Hot Tamale and Tim Smith moved up from their reserve in this class in 2008 to ride to the winner’s circle with a unanimous decision of the panel for McNeill and Nesius of Andalusia, Ala., and Chapel Hill, Tenn.  A Line Dancer and Bill Callaway were reserve for Bo DiPlicado of Madison, Ala.  Patriot’s American Maid and Blake Sims were third for The Mike Chiappari Family of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Bell Buckle, Tenn.

With the Sunday evening session in the record books, only six nights of the 71st annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, but never fear, there still remains a lot of horse show action to take in.  The Monday night schedule features three sections of Two-Year-Old Stallions that promise to bring the crowd to the edge of their seats, and the 15.2 & Under Stallions as well.  Then, only Tuesday and Wednesday remain before we will move to World Grand Championship competition.  What an exciting week it indeed will be!