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NYPD, Ted Williams and Shout Highlight Sunday Night

by Mark Davis

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, but at The Celebration it’s become a day packed with action. The day opened with nondenominational worship service in the main arena, followed by the Groom’s Cookout, the Walking Horse Trainers Auxiliary’s Dog Show in Calsonic Arena and the Stable Decorating Contest. It’s now Sunday evening in Shelbyville. The cool front that brought threats of rain on Saturday has now passed leaving temperatures very comfortable for the evening show ahead.

Showtime brought flaghorse Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton to the ring to present the national colors. The invocation for the evening was given by Rev. Bobby Scott of the Madison Street Church Of God of Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Samantha Marchel of Mt. Juliet, Tenn. This simple, yet dignified way of honoring our God and country remains a very special part of The Celebration experience.

Last evening we watched the Aged Stallions in hopes of seeing what next Saturday night will hold, but remember, there are several other classes in which a team can compete to qualify for Saturday night’s Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship and one of those classes, Walking Mares, Five Years and Over, Over 15.2 (Canter), remains a part of this evening’s schedule and should include one gray mare (Shout) who would like to stir things up next Saturday night.

Don’t forget about the Four-Year-Old Stallions. This division has been one of the most competitive of the 2004 season, however many questions still remain. Will the division be carried by NYPD, the reigning Three-Year-Old WGC and 2004 Columbia, Tenn. Spring Jubilee and Pulaski, Tenn. Red Carpet Horse Show of the South Four-Year-Old Champion with Tim Gray? Will 2003 divisional World Champion and 2004 Wartrace, Tenn. Four-Year-Old Stallion Champion Ted Williams return from the injury that sidelined him for most of the 2004 season? Injuries were an issue for A Strong Dollar as well, will he be back in World Championship form? Could a dark horse like Push Too’s Cowboy, trained by Knox Blackburn or The Blue Diamond, trained by Steve Dunn come from the back of the pack to top the division. And I almost forgot about Dragonfly and Jimmy McConnell, another 2003 divisional World Champion. Many questions remain. If everyone that could show does and shows in top form, this could be THE class of the year.

Once again, the young riders opened the evening’s performance with 23 of the 26 scheduled making the call to work for Celebration acclaim in class 72A, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings, Riders 12-14 Years, as Huck Moss called the gaits in the division. When the work was complete, it was the new team of Ritz’s Diamond Joe and Alexandria Holland, who made their debut to the blue at the Fayetteville, Tenn. Horse Show, riding to the winner’s circle in their FIRST Celebration appearance for the Neal Holland family of Decatur, Ala. Quite an accomplishment indeed. Downtown Pusher and Andy Adkins rode to the reserve honors with the cheers of the crowd for Randall and Sadie Baskin and Andy Adkins of Franklin and Ethridge, Tenn. Third in the division was claimed by Rare Cash and Lindsey Wall for the Mike Wall family of Oxford, Miss.

Class 72B, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings, Riders 12-14 Years, brought 23 of the 27 programmed entries to the big oval. Wayne Abee served as call judge for the division. Again, the competition was tough, but only one young rider could ride from the ring with that Celebration blue and that honor went to the team of Prism Sky and Mary Beth Blessing riding for What A Blessing! Farms of Bristol, Tenn. Blessing and her striking gray gelding preceded this win by claiming victory at the Gallatin, Tenn. Lions Club Show, McMinnville, Tenn.’s Warren County Horse Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show. Pushin’ The Limits and owner/exhibitor Madison Holloway of Davidson, NC made a strong ride to reserve honors. Another North Carolina exhibitor, Megan Mozeley and Swoosh rode to third for dad, Steve Mozeley of Charlotte, NC.

The lady riders were up next as the Elite Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings hit the track with 21 of the 42 entered making the call under the watch of Bob Cherry and his colleagues. Pat Harrington and Walking On Thin Ice, reigning World Champion Owner/Amateur Ladies on Walking Mares, were doing some serious walking to top the division for Legacy Walkers of Coto De Caza, Calif. Laura Brandon, a 2003 Celebration judge, captured the reserve honors with Pushin’ That Jazz for Laura M. Brandon of Franklin, Tenn. Mistress and Robin MacDonald accepted the yellow streamer for Bruce and Robin MacDonald of Atlanta,Ga. and Shelbyville, Tenn.

It was finally time for class 74A, Four-Year-Old Stallions. Seventeen of the 23 with reservations made the call to work for Joe Fleming and the judging staff. When the work was complete, the reigning Three-Year-Old World Grand Champion NYPD and Tim Gray rode to the winner’s circle, with a unanimous decision of the judging panel and the approval of the fans, for the Rick Compton family of Tazewell, Va. Reserve in the division went to the team of Dragonfly and Jimmy McConnell for Bob and Mary Medina of Skillman, NJ. The yellow streamer in the division was claimed by The Blue Diamond and Steve Dunn for Neal Holland, Jr and Gus King of Decatur and Arab, Ala.

Some questions were answered in that division, but some still remain. As Tim Gray and NYPD exit the ring, announcer Chip Walters called class 74B, Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions. Eighteen of the 24 made the call to see if they could answer the rest of our questions of the evening. Tommy Loid called the gaits in the division. When the cards were tied 2003 divisional World Champion Ted Williams and Joe Cotten made the victory pass for Dr. and Mrs. Jim Green of Meridian, Miss. The crowd favorite, A Strong Dollar and Link Webb were a strong reserve in the division for Curtice McCloy of Norman, Okla. Pusher’s Renaissance and Ramsey Bullington, a possible dark horse to emerge, accepted the third award for the Don Beatty family of Franklin, Tenn.

As class 75, Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Ponies, 60” and Under, Riders 15-17, came to the ring, a light rain shower passed over the arena causing the rain slickers to come out in a hurry. However, the shower didn’t last long and the crowd remained to enjoy the evening. Huck Moss served as call judge for the event which drew 20 of the 23 with reservations. Skywalk and Seth Stanfill made an outstanding performance in the division to capture the win for Billy Stanfill of Lexington, Tenn. with a unanimous decision of the panel. The team preceded this win with titles at Byhalia, Miss. White Oak Classic, Gallatin, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show, Savannah, Tenn.’s Walking Horse Royal, Woodbury, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show and Dickson, Tenn.’s Dickson County Horse Show. Reserve in the competitive division went to a champion from the Bluegrass state, Half Dollar and Wes Hendrick, completing their juvenile career in style for the Kenny Hendrick family of Bowling Green, Ky. Frankie Blue Eyes and A.J. Bell, a champion at Mt. Pleasant and Hohenwald, Tenn., rode to the yellow streamer for Jerry Bell of Parsons, Tenn.

The young riders remained in the spotlight as class 76, Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings, Riders 12-17, took to the track with 19 of the 22 making the call to work for Wayne Abee and his colleagues. Twenty Four Kt. Cash and Jenna Hamilton put on a solid gold performance to ride to the winner’s circle for Randall and Gloria Dixon/Red Eagle Farm of Dacula, Ga. Reserve in the division went to Generator’s Flashpoint and Barrett Jones, a 2003 World Champion, for the Ray Jones family of Greenville, Ky. Another 2003 World Champion, Skyline teamed with Lacey Campbell to capture third for Mavis Campbell of Loudon, Tenn.

It was time for the trainers to return as class 77, Walking Mares, Five Years and Over, Over 15.2 (Canter) came to the arena with 22 of the 30 entered working for Bob Cherry and the judging staff. As the entries entered the arena, the question in everyone’s mind was whether everyone’s favorite gray mare, Shout, would make a debut with new trainer Sammy Day. Just as the gate started to swing shut, the team broke through and rode to the ring with a rousing ovation from the crowd. The cheers from the crowd followed the team around the arena, leaving little doubt who the champion in the division would be, indeed when the cards were in, all five judges agreed with the Sunday night crowd and rewarded Shout and Sammy Day with the Celebration blue for the Keith Baker family of Columbia, Tenn. Main Majorette and Jeff Willis were a popular reserve for Carolyn Thomas and Taylor Willis of Springfield, Mo., Lewisburg, Tenn. and Shelbyville, Tenn. Past WGC Gen’s Burning Rage and Larry Edwards rode to third for the Dan McSwain family of Atlanta, Ga.

The trainers stayed around as the A division of class 78, Show Pleasure Walking Horses, took the track with 25 of the 39 programmed entries making the call. Joe Fleming served as call judge for the strong division. When the cards were complete, it was the reigning World Champion in this division and reigning Show Pleasure World Grand Champion Coinmaker and trainer Knox Blackburn riding to the winner’s circle for R. Bud Moore and Suzanne Littell of Catherine, Ala. with a unanimous decision of the panel. The perennial champion already took home one 2004 Celebration title with Suzanne Littell in the Show Pleasure Walking Horses, Amateur Lady Riders, Div B on Thursday night. Skywatch Eclipse and John Feltner, Jr. carried the reserve honors back to the Lonestar state for Jan Anderson of Stephenville, Texas. Dark Illusion and owner/exhibitor Jeff Green of Shelbyville, Tenn. captured the yellow streamer.

Twenty-six of the 38 with reservations made the call for class 78B, Show Pleasure Walking Horses as Tommy Loid called the gaits in the division. Everybody loves a white horse and the crowd was certainly with Stewart Little and Brandon Stout for owners Red and Dot Strickland of Olive Branch, Miss. and Shelbyville, Tenn. This win marks Stout’s first Celebration win in the professional division, and quite a win it was. Music In The Sky and Charlie Green made a strong performance to capture the red ribbon for John Eldridge of Chattanooga, Tenn. Riding to third were Major Affair and Jeff Givens for Shadow Hawk Farm of Shelbyville, Tenn.

The amateur riders returned to the track for class 79A, Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings. Thirty-four of the 48 entries made the gate to work as Huck Moss called the gaits in the division. The staff determined that additional work would be needed to determine the champion in the division, and after the initial work, asked 14 to remain to work for World Championship acclaim.

The spicy team of Texas Salsa and Nancy Groover made a stellar performance in the division to make that sentimental journey down victory lane for Wink and Nancy Groover of Longview, Texas. This dynamic young mare is the reigning World Champion Three Year Old Amateur Mare and Gelding and preceded this win with championships at Jackson, Miss.’s Mississippi State Charity Horse Show, the Spring Fun Show, Woodbury, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show. Reserve went to another hard walking white horse, JFK’s Ice Lady and Dan Rowsick for Dan and Janice Rowsick of Eighty-Four, Penn. Headed to the Lonestar state once again, Lonestar Ritz and Jan Anderson accepted the yellow streamer for Brandon Urad and Jan Anderson of Stephenville, Texas and Shelbyville, Tenn.

Thirty of the 48 registered made the call in class 79B, Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings. Wayne Abee served as call judge for the division. There was a “commotion” all around the big oval tonight as Debbie Myers made an outstanding performance with her big walking gray mare, reigning World Champion I’m Causin’ Commotion to make the victory pass for Jim and Debbie Myers of Flat Creek, Tenn. Riding to a strong reserve was the team of Miss Carolina Sky and Mary Beth Blessing for What A Blessing! Farm of Bristol, Tenn. Miss Sweepstakes USA and Rhea Ellen Webb rode to third for Taylor and Webb of Rock Island, Tenn.

Again, class 80A, brought another strong Novice division to the ring, Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Stallions with 26 of the 36 programmed entries making the call to work for that first ever Celebration blue. Bob Cherry served as call judge for the division. Making that ride out of the Novice division tonight, with a unanimous decision of the panel, was the rock solid team of Diamond Buster and Guylene Ozlanski for Tamarack Acres of Woodbury, Tenn. This tough team captured 2004 wins at the Mississippi State Charity Horse Show, the Spring Fun Show, Woodbury, Tenn. Lions Club Show and Fayetteville, Tenn. Horse Show leading up to this win. Quarterback’s Rising Star and Wilma Stuller proudly accepted the reserve honors for LSA, Inc. of Eagleville, Tenn. Wasted Wages and Shane Cox captured third for Shane and John Cox of Flemingsburg, Ky.

Another competitive Novice division hit the track in class 80B, Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Stallions with 28 of the 36 entered making the call to work for Joe Fleming and his colleagues. Another lady making the ride out of the Novice division with a unanimous decision was Debbie Eichler after she made a simply striking performance with reigning Mississippi State Charity, Summertown and Columbia Spring Jubilee champion Simply Dangerous for Rising Star Ranch, LLC of Shelbyville, Tenn. Reserve in the division went to Crackerjack Edge and Carolyn Joseph for the Anthony Joseph family of Columbiana, Ala. The yellow streamer went to Stormin Through Dixie and Kim Butler for Kermit Tyree of Elkview, WV.

The Plantation horses were next on the schedule as 15 of the 20 scheduled made the call for class 81, Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Three-Years-Old Lite Shod. Tommy Loid served as call judge in the division. C’mon Turn Me Loose and Howard Hamilton turned it on to capture a unanimous win in the division for Randall and Gloria Dixon’s Red Eagle Farm of Dacula, Ga. They Call Me Junior and Kerry Fann took home the red ribbon for Mr. and Mrs. John Smith of Manchester, Tenn. Oh, Holy Moley and Sherrie Szucs accepted third for Jaclyn and Lauren Heurin of South Lake, Texas. The final class on the evening’s schedule was the Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Amateur Riders 50 Years and Over. Twenty-four entries made the call as Huck Moss called the gaits in the division. Wayne Hall of Fairview, Tenn. just may not stop smiling for weeks as he and Metro Grand made a stellar performance to top the division, topping all five cards. Reserve honors in the division went to owner/exhibitor Burl Dale of Linville, NC and Regal’s Delight Lady. Dragonfire and Jim Heiting rode to the yellow streamer for Riverside’s Summit Ranch/Jim and Cindi Heiting of Riverside, Calif.

Sixteen classes made for a long evening, but it was certainly an enjoyable night. While a few questions in the Four-Year-Old Stallion division may have been answered tonight, the division still looks as though it may be the very best in many years. We also saw Shout capture the blue in the Aged Mare division, which qualifies her for Saturday night’s Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship. If things play out, we may be in for one of the best series of championship classes in many years.

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