by Mark Davis


            It’s the Wednesday night performance of the 72nd Annual Celebration and that means that preliminary competition will be wrapping up tonight and tomorrow evening, the championship competition will be getting underway and we’ll be that much closer to finding out who will be the 2010 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion on Saturday night.

            The Wednesday evening schedule featured 13 classes of competition highlighted by the Open Fine Harness, Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Mares & Geldings and Open Stallions Specialty.

            The invocation for the evening was given by Rev. David Adams of the Bell Buckle United Methodist Church, Bell Buckle, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by the Bedford Express Quartet of Shelbyville, Tenn.

            The first class on the evening schedule was class 135, Fine Harness brought eight of the 16 with reservations driving to the track to work for World Championship honors in the class as Judge Nathan Clark called the gaits.  Driving away with the win with a unanimous decision of the panel was Breakin’ Parole and Sam McLaughlin at the lines for Joyce Meadows of Ashland City, Tenn.  Gen’s High Mark and Mike Sims were reserve driving for the Bill Webb family of McMinnville, Tenn.  It’s Only A Game and Ronnie Spears were third for Gradie Thornton of Palmetto, Fla.

            Back under saddle, class 136A featured the Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings with 17 of the 31 on the official Lions Club program making the gate call to work for Judge Tommy Loid and his panel.  Making the memorable victory pass was Dollar Overdue and Lauren Williams taking the honors home to Farmington, Mo.  This duo claimed top honors at the Pikeville, Tenn. Spring Horse Show and reserve honors at Cleveland, Tenn.’s Al Miller Memorial Show, Eagleville, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show and the International Grand Championships. Sugarland and owner/exhibitor Nancy Groover pulled into the second position headed back to Longview, Texas.  Firestakes and Libby Doub rounded out the top three for David and Libby Doub of Estill Springs, Tenn.

            Class 136B brought 15 of the 31 on the program for Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings.  Judge Spencer Benedict served as Call Judge for the split.  Headed back to the land of the Big Blue, it was She’s Caliente and Courtney Luttrell, champions at the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, the Tony Rice Horse Show and the Tazewell County, Va. Classic, riding to the winner’s circle with the approval of all five judges for the Stone Manor Farm of Alvaton, Ky.  Sophistacated and Renee Carlton were second riding for Keith Carlton of Corinth, Miss.  The Dotted Line and Heather Beard were third riding for Mark Walling Mfg. of Wartrace, Tenn.

            Walking Geldings, Five Years & Over, Over 15.2 were up next with two of the 19 expected working down the hill to show for the Wednesday night crowd as Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge.  Riding to the winner’s circle were The American General and John Allan Callaway, 2010 champions at the Woodbury Lions Club Horse Show, riding for Maisie McSwain of Duluth, Ga.  George Clooney and Scott Beaty, 2010 champions at Greeneville, Tenn.’s Greene County Classic, were second riding for the Fred Allred family of Jamestown, Tenn.

            Class 138 brought the Park Performance Walking Horses, Five Years & Over to the track with 10 of the 25 on the program working to the rail as Judge Mike Carpenter called the gaits in the class. Garnering the blue with a unanimous decision of the panel was High Fashion Statement and Patrick Thomas riding for Jamie Gardner of Bridgewater, Va.  San Juan and Tim Smith were reserve for Mr. and Mrs. Eric Lackey of Thomasville, N.C.  Knight’s Gambler and Bruce Hankins were third for Mose Jobe of Nashville, Tenn.

            Amateur Owned & Trained Walking Horses, No Professional Training within 90 days was up next with 13 of the 27 on the program working down the hill to show off their talents for Judge Nathan Clark and his cohorts.  Claiming the blue was Jazz Eclipse and owner/exhibitor Justin Harney of Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Owner/exhibitor Lisa Baum of Shelbyville with Tony Montana were second.  Vigor’s Image and owner/exhibitor Chet Mills of Detroit, Ala., collected the yellow streamers.

            Young Trainers, 35 & Under on Walking Mares or Geldings (Riders’ Cup), class 140, was up next on the schedule with 14 entries taking the rail to work as Judge Tommy Loid called the gaits.  Picking up the win for the second consecutive year, retiring The Jimmy Holloway Challenge Trophy, was The Prime Suspect, ridden in 2010 by Bill Callaway for Candra Carroll of Sevierville, Tenn.  Gold Poison and Tim Smith were reserve riding for Connie Frazier of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Brad Beard and Royal Fortune were third riding for Thomas Derickson of Wartrace, Tenn.

            In a break in the action, Tracy Pinson and Skyjacker’s Mountain High put on an outstanding versatility exhibition that was very entertaining for the Wednesday evening crowd.

            Class 141 brought the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, Five Years & Over (Canter), down the hill to work for that coveted Celebration blue.  Nine of the 20 expected made the call to work for Judge Spencer Benedict and his panel.  Showing the winning hand in the class was the team of The Games We Play and Clay Mills riding for Corbin Mills of Mt. Airy, N.C. This makes this duo’s eighth 2010 blue and some of their highlight wins include two wins at the East Tennessee Classic, the Money Tree Classic and the International Grand Championships. On the reserve stroll was Strolling Thru The Ritz and Brian Reece riding for the Jimmy Reece family of Pikeville, Tenn.  On The Line and Suzanne Moore rounded out the top three for R. Bud Moore of Catherine, Ala.

            Mare and Foal, class 142, was up next with seven teams of mama’s and babies headed through the gait to show off as Judge Jennifer Bingham led the judging panel.  Taking the win for the second consecutive year was Stylin, with her 2010 foal American Saturday Night, with Brian Wright and Amanda Winters at the lead for the George Wright family of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.  With this win, the Wright Family retired The Sam Gibbons Memorial Challenge Trophy.  Whoopin It In Command and her 2010 foal Command Sgt Majors were reserve with Karen McGee and Nathan Mills at the lead for Hoyte Eakes of Nashville, Tenn.  My Sweet Caroline and Adorable Beam with Bobby and B.J. Richards were third for Caroline Thomas of Franklin, Tenn.

            Class 143 featured Walking Horses, Mares & Geldings (Riders’ Cup) with 11 of the 33 on the program taking the rail to work for the Wednesday night crowd that was holding on very strong at 9:50 pm.  Judge Mike Carpenter served as Call Judge for this class.  Riding for the gold was the duo of Silver Shiraz and Jerry Woodlee riding for Carol Canerday of Singer, La.  Goodbye Joe and John Allan Callaway rode into the second spot, even though they did cast a shoe on the way to the line-up, riding for Jim and Judy Leek of Cedar Creek, Texas.  Jazzy Sally and Wayne Dean picked up the yellow ribbons for Christmas Creek, LLC of Montverde, Fla. & Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Park Pleasure Walking Stallions, Five Years & Over, class 144, featured four of the seven taking the rail to work for Judge Nathan Clark and his panel.  Making the winning ride was owner/exhibitor Nicole Coffey of Lewisburg, Tenn., and her outstanding horse, Yao Ming.  Cash For A Good Time and Patrick Thomas were reserve for Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Merrell of Walnut Hill, Ill.  Marching Orders and Jackie Barron were third for Ron Jones of Greeneville, Tenn.

            Class 145A brought the Walking Horses, Stallions (Riders’ Cup) down the hill to work for Judge Tommy Loid and his panel. Nine of the 28 expected made the gate call to show off in the next to the last class of the evening.  Riding to the blue with the loud approval of the crowd was How Bout Ya Cash and Keith Blackburn up for Alvis Porter and Jimmy Adams of Holden, W.V.  Brother Sovereign and Tim Smith were reserve for Evergreen Walking Horse Farm of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Pusher’s Redemption and Bill Cantrell rounded out the top of the class for Dr. W.S. and Gloria Warr and Jerry Tapley of Phenix City, Ala.

            Walking Horses, Stallions (Riders’ Cup), class 145B, featured seven of the 29 on the official Lions Club program making their way down from the warm up ring for the final class of the night.  Judge Spencer Benedict served as Call Judge for the class. Breaking away from the pack was Escape From Alcatraz and Steve Dunn up for Larry and Pam Russell of Pontotac, Miss.  General Davy Crockett and Brandon Stout were reserve for James and Betty Corlew of Adams, Tenn.  Jacked Up and Dan Waddell were third for Louise Lyons of Obion, Tenn.

            With that, at 10:45 p.m., the preliminary competition of the 72nd Annual Celebration was history and in the record books.  Starting tomorrow night (Thursday), there will be roses on the line, so make sure you’re back with us and don’t miss out on what truly is the World’s greatest horse show.