By Sadie Fowler

Editor’s Note: Due to the extreme weather circumstances not all of the winner’s from Thursday night were able to come back to have their pictures made. We will post pictures of those from Thursday evening’s performance in the Friday wrap up if they come back to the winner’s circle to have pictures done.

So much for the perfect weather! That was the sentiment that echoed Shelbyville most of the day Thursday as the forecast of storms continued. The show started on time, but few were in the stands to watch the 14-class slate of classes. The show got mostly through its agenda, but had to cancel two classes shy of finishing, just before 11 p.m. with severe weather deterring the performance, one of which was the Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship. 

Five classes into the performance, however, you’d never know the weather was of any concern when all 17 expected to perform did just that and then some in the 17-entry deep youth 11 and under world grand championship. Hometown girl in front of her hometown fan base, Counti Green made one of the best moments of the show so far aboard Oh My Darlin after previous season wins at Columbia Spring Jubilee, Woodbury Lions Club and the preliminary class at this year’s Celebration. 

Be Cool and Harper Grider have also had an excellent and extensive show season thus far and they proudly left with plenty of their own fans cheering them on as they walked out with the reserve finish with Inception and Maxine Beasley holding their own for the top three finish. 

Eleven entries braved the rainy start in the first two classes of the evening, with I’m Maria Maria capturing the first world grand championship of the evening with Kasie Caldwell up in the Novice Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship.

The pleasure entries performed in the second class of the night, but the winner was not a stranger to the winner’s circle, at the Celebration or various other shows this season. After winning the preliminary class Wednesday morning and earning a reserve Thursday morning a week prior, Que Bella wore the tricolor out of the Big Oval in the amateur country pleasure world grand championship for the horses under four years old. The mare, ridden by Miles Irby, showed at four other shows this year with another win coming at the Christmas In July show. Sweet As Strawberry Wine finished reserve for Kimberly Walden.

Six of the nine showing in the elite amateur world grand championship, the deepest class of championship kick off night, was also a unanimous victory with veteran rider Dr. Jim Baum directing Unreal to a very real tricolor finish for the second year in a row. Earlier wins this undefeated season came in Pulaski, Christmas In July, Manchester and Columbia Spring Jubliee. Mr. Heisman also has an impressive resumé in both the amateur and open divisions and Thursday night Robin MacDonald continued her great Celebration comeback after a few years off with the reserve finish.  

The park pleasure class featured Patrick Thomas riding Dosé to the unanimous shut out for Sherry Roberts with BB King’s Jazz and Mickey McCormick earning reserve in the class of five. Thomas came out to the show this year with his game face on, having won a handful of times leading up to championship on other horses, including Big Time Bandit, Do Right and Lucky Daze. 

All seven-expected made it into the amateur trail world grand championship as well. Habanero has won world grand championships here before but this was his first set of roses with Jason Myatt. The pair also topped their preliminary class earlier in the week as did reserve world grand champions Etta James By TJB, who won in two preliminary classes in trail pleasure, the amateur elite trail pleasure and the amateur English trail pleasure. 

Youth country pleasure had 12 in the class with Designer Champagne and Mackenzie Lawrence in the top spot and Bustline and Claire Vaughn maintaining their reigning reserve world grand championship title.

Despite the weather challenges, most horses entered in the competition showed; all six showed up for the youth ponies world grand championship with a record-setting Rammer Jammer and Lily Catherine Holland, who’ve shown only once this year and won (Columbia) retiring a trophy (Reve’s Little Boy Challenge) in unanimous fashion. Reserve world grand champions Ricky Ricardo and Will Cole swapped places with Prime Poison, reserve world grand champions last year, who received a great applause for the yellow streamers this year. 

The youth were in the spotlight and toughed it out without flinching all night long, including in the 11-entry youth show pleasure world grand championship, which featured all expected entries and four of them were world grand champion title holders. José’s Delightful Pusher and Lilly Riddley captured the tricolor and roses. This pair finished reserve in their qualifier, which was their only second so far this year with previous wins at FAST, the Spring Fun Show and Christmas In July. Blues For Santana made a strong walk, or near swim, for the reserve with Colton Trimble on board for yet another top ribbon so far this week. 

Showing strength and determination at its finest, He’s Made In The USA and Sheryl Jordan showed up after winning just one week earlier in their preliminary to capture the roses. After a season lined by win after win, the pair earned the 15.2 and under amateur world grand championship. They won their novice class at the Celebration in 2014 and have been on a prideful ride ever since. 

The Dixie Lineman and Gail Walling hadn’t lost a class yet this year, or in the past at least three years, but they settled for reserve in the quality-filled class that featured six. Providing a bit of trivia here and there to keep the crowd entertained, announcer Mark Farrar reminded the crowd of several champions of the past in various classes throughout the night. Twenty-five years ago, Olympic Generator won this class, another name with a lot of pride. 

Rains continued with a shine coat of water lining the Big Oval but classes carried on. It’s been about 12 years since weather made a truly standing mark on the show, when the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina left several inches of rain on the ring. To that note, it seemed ironic that this week featured the effects of another hurricane in the news, this time with Texas feeling the heat. Almost 50 years ago, old-timers to the Celebration can remember when parking lots were seas of water, with wreckers having to pull out car after car in parking lots across the grounds. 

The amateur English country pleasure world grand championship required true dedication as eight entries finished the long class. Tamara Hader made a huge comeback ride aboard Cazadores after a fifth and eighth place in the preliminary rounds this year. They’d had a good season going into the Celebration with wins in Fayetteville and at Billie Lane King. Champions from last week’s class, Allison Thorson and Suiza have showed sparingly this year, and they moved down a notch from the qualifier for a solid reserve finish. 

In the 137 classes held through Wednesday night, 63 classes have had the winner tied unanimously by the judges, 46%. An additional 35 classes have the winner placing first on four of the judges’ cards.

Going into Thursday evening’s session, the tally for wins was as follows: Finish Line Farms topped with 11, Callaway with 10, Southern Serenity Ranch with eight, Myatt Manor with seven, Joe Lester Stables, Joe Fleming Stables, Wright Stables and Trimble Stables with five, Beverly Lamp and Circle J with four, Dr. Richards, Formac, and Leigh Stuart, Nelms, Whiskey Hollow and Indian Lakes with three wins apiece.