SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Winners were crowned. Emotions for riders, trainers and owners ranged from delirious happiness to the depths of disappointment.

For 11 days the competition was heated, and the talent level was high. In the end it all came down to one class, the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship Stake, the grand finale of the grandest horse show in the world.

The 11-class schedule on the final Saturday night of the 82nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Maverick Arena opened as it always has with the invocation, the singing of the National Anthem and the ride around the ring by the white flag horse.

The invocation was given by Jimmy West, the pastor at Edgemont Baptist Church. The Cavaliers presented with flawless harmony their presentation of our National Anthem. Ronnie Spears and White Diamond Dollar left the ring for the last time in 2020 after presenting the Stars and Stripes.

With the anticipation of the crowd rising on a cool September evening ring announcer Mark Farrar, Jr. made the gate call for the seven entries in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, Five Years & Under, World Grand Championship to open the big night. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee spun the wheel for the call judge for the first class, landing on Sam Sorrell and later presented the championship trophy. His wife, Maria, joined him in center ring. Lee was present an “appreciation” award from TWHNC board member Jeffrey Howard. 
Ashley Wadsworth from Hernando, Mississippi, rode Mr. Bentley under the spotlight in the opening class, her first world grand championship. They were a favorite of both the crowd and the five-judge panel with a unanimous victory.  Paranoia was reserve with Wayne Westbrook aboard. Stapleton and Maggie Moore carried home third for co-owner Jim Leek.

The Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Horses, World Grand Championship attracted 18 entries. Pat Marsh, Tennessee State Representative and a former TWHNC board member with 25 years of experience spun the wheel to select Rollie Beard as the call judge. Smoky Mountain Strong and Lexie Stinnett earned the roses and tri-color ribbon for co-owner Jimbo Conner from Sevierville, Tennessee. They teamed up in 2019 to win the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Horses World Grand Championship title. They also won Section C of the Owner-Amateur Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions class Tuesday night. The Longmire was ridden to the reserve award by Dee Broom Yoder for Detha and Charles Yoder. My Ticket To Ride punched a third place with Rae Shumate Tysor aboard for Sandy Shumate.

The nine entries in the Show Pleasure Walking Horses, World Grand Championship we under the direction of call judge Sam Sorrell. He’s Starbucks brewed a world grand championship performance with John Allan Callaway in the irons for Suzanne and Bud Moore of Franklin, Tennessee. They have two blues this season. Entitlement, with Philip Trimble in the irons, was a crowd-pleasing reserve for the partnership of Pittman and Bush. Also getting a loud positive fan reaction was A Gin To Win, ridden by Blaise Broccard for Sherry Roberts. All three of the top finishers received at least one first place tie in the competitive class.

Fifteen entries answered the gate call of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings, World Grand Championship with Sam Sorrell selected as the call judge once again. Zeta made the spotlight ride for Robert Deutsch from Greensboro, North Carolina. It was a repeat performance as the duo was awarded the world grand championship in 2019. They won the Owner-Amateur Walking Mares or Geldings World Championship Monday night for the third year in a row. She’s Limitless was guided to reserve by Molly Walters for owner Kelsey Andrews. Uptight Jose’ and Robin MacDonald took home the yellow streamer for Bruce MacDonald. 

Sam Sorrell was named the call judge for the third class in a row as eight entries competed for the Park Performance Walking Horses, World Grand Championship. So Real and Patrick Thomas were so good on the way to making the trip under the spotlight for owners Cynthia and Marian Wright from Jackson, Tennessee and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, respectively. They remain unbeaten in five shows this year including the Park Performance World Championship Tuesday night. I’m A Proud  American claimed reserve with Casey Wright in the stirrups for Bill Williams. Dirty Sexy Money was third with Jeff Laughlin in the saddle for Jannie Chapman.

Checkpoint Charlie SF and Harper Grider were a popular selection to win over 10 other entries in the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, World Grand Championship for the partnership of Tamara Hader, Harper Grider and Ashley Say from Bainbridge, Georgia, Columbia, Kentucky and Christiana, Tennessee, respectively. Checkpoint Charlie is undefeated in six shows including two Celebration world championships with Say and Grider riding. It was the first time the two have teamed for the world grand championship together but neither the rider nor the horse are strangers to making spotlight rides at the Celebration. A Rain Delay and Colton Trimble rode to reserve for the partnership of Martin, Dean, Sisk and Trimble. Labeled A Parolee and Eliza Dekleyn took home a yellow streamer. 

The Two-Year-Old Walking Horses, World Grand Championship lived up to anticipation and expectations with nine entries bringing the crowd to life. Ohh Troubadour took the spotlight ride with Tyler Baucom in the irons for Allyson Armstrong of Hickory, North Carolina. The duo was a favorite of both the crowd and the judges as the unanimous selection. They are unbeaten in four shows including the Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions Section C class Monday night. Eight years ago, Tyler’s father, the late Chad Baucom, rode Walk Time Charlie, the sire of Ohh Troubadour, to the World Grand Championship. Kobe 24 received reserve honors with Tim Smith riding for the partnership of Barnes, Conner and Kilgore. Special By Jose’ was third with Bill Callaway in the saddle for Charles Gleghorn. 
Roscoe Jennings and Susan Coleman of Unionville, Tennessee, won over six

other entries for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Lite-Shod Walking Horses, World Grand Championship. The duo also made the spotlight ride in the class in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. They retired the Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Cauthen, Sr. Memorial Challenge Trophy. They have four wins in a flawless 2020 season including the English Lite-Shod class Thursday morning. Moonshine At Midnight captured reserve with Darden Gladney in the saddle for Gladney Farms. Big Time Bandit and Lisa Baum were third. 

Nine entries competed for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Horses, World Grand Championship. As I Am and Jason Myatt from Alvaton, Kentucky, rode to the title for co-owner Jerry Myatt. It was the fifth first place finish for the duo in 2020, including the preliminary class win this year. Last year Jason won the world grand championship in the class riding I Am Mighty Jose’. Honor My Country earned reserve with Stephanie White riding for Toni White. Win Dixie earned third for Gail Walling.  

Ten entries made their way into the ring for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, World Grand Championship. Led Zeppelin was a big hit with Abby Fox from Cookeville, Tennessee, taking the spotlight ride a  the unanimous selection of the judges. It was the fourth year in a row they have won the world grand championship and they are undefeated for the past three years. He’s Unleashed received the reserve award with Amanda Wright in the saddle for Stewart and Wright. The Mason Dixon Line was third for Beth Pippin. 
With the crowd on its feet and clapping seven entries entered the big oval in the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship Stake. Rollie Beard presided over the class. After two workouts and the traditional conformation examination, it was time for the spotlight to search for the 2020 World Grand Champion. This year, the spotlight landed on Master’s Razzle and Jazz and John Allan Callaway who rode to the ultimate award in the walking horse industry for The Alan Riddley Family from Shelby, North Carolina. It is the first World Grand Championship Stake win for John Allan, though he is no stranger to many other top titles. Following the win, John Allan was congratulated in the ring by his father Allan and brother Bill who have also made the World Grand Championship ride. 

Minor Ordeal placed reserve with Tyler Baucom in the irons for the Mona Dean Family and the Alan Riddley Family. Hey, Tomcat and Jamie Lawrence took home third for Joan and Roy Wester and Tomcat LLC.
Following the owner presentation, and the victory pass of Master’s Razzle And Jazz and John Allan, the 2020 Celebration was in the history books.