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Private Charter and Main Power Win

by Mark Davis

   The cool breeze was blowing as the hour neared 7 pm in Shelbyville, Tenn.  The large Saturday night crowd was gathering early in anticipation of what the evening would hold.  The first World Grand Champion of 2005 would be crowned in the Yearling division, more  young talent would be on display with two divisions of Two-Year-Old Mares and finally, the evening would conclude with the Aged Stallions, the preliminary to the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship, which will be crowned just seven nights from now.
   After only one showing at Columbia, Tenn.'s Spring Jubliee, will NYPD be ready to take on Dragonfly and Jimmy McConnell, winners at Panama City, Fla's Gulf Coast Charity Celebration and Memphis, Tenn.'s Germantown Charity Horse Show and reserve champion at Murfreesboro, Tenn.'s Bethesda Horse Show.  Don't forget about North Carolina's MG Above The Rest, presented by Allen Abee.  Could a dark horse like It's Billy The Kid and trainer Russ Thompson or Coin's LTD and Bobby Burton make a statement?
   What about the B division?  A Strong Dollar and Link Webb, winners at Bethesda and Pulaski, Tenn.'s Red Carpet Horse Show Of The South and Main Power and Joe Cotten, winners at The Celebration's Spring Fun Show and the Woodbury, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show, appear to be the leading contenders, but some others might have something to say about that as well.  Pusher's High Voltage and Mickey McCormick come off an impressive performance at the Nolensville, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show and Jimmy McConnell could be ready to make a statement in this division as well with the Medina's other contender, Tony Rice Champion, Can You See Me Now.
   Yes, many questions remain, but one thing is for sure, when the clock strikes 7 pm, it's horse show time in Shelbyville!  As always, the evening got underway with official flag horse Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton presenting the American Flag.  The invocation was given by Bro. Ron Chilton, pastor of the Southside Baptist Church of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Mark Hulsey of Atlanta, Ga. did a phenomenal job with the National Anthem.
   And, with that, the show was underway.  The first class of the evening was 72A, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 15-17 On Walking Mares or Geldings.  Thirteen of the 20 with reservations hit the track to work for World Championship acclaim in the division as Judge Mack Motes called the gaits.  Making the blue ribbon ride tonight was the team of Prism Sky and Mary Beth Blessing riding for What A Blessing Farm of Bristol, Tenn.  The duo preceded this win with 2005 wins at the National Trainers' Show, Panama City, Fla.'s Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show, Memphis, Tenn's Germantown Charity Horse Show and Lynchburg, Tenn.'s Moore County Horse Show.  Nolensville, Tenn. champions Downtown Pusher and Andy Adkins garnered the red streamer for Randall & Sadie Baskin & Andy Adkins of Franklin and Ethridge, Tenn.  I'm An Evil Rebel and owner/exhibitor Madison Holloway carried the third award back to Kannapolis, N.C.
   Sixteen of 20 made the call for 72B, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 15-17 On Walking Mares or Geldings.  Judge Mike Sims served as call judge for the event.  Capturing top honors in the division with a unanimous decision of the panel was the reigning National Trainers' Show, Gallatin, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show and Pulaski, Tenn.'s Red Carpet Horse Show Of The South Champions John FK's Diamond Delight and Dalia Smith taking the win back to the Bluegrass state for  Dalia Smith of Manchester, Ky.  Reserve honors went to the Magnolia state with Spellbound Generator and owner/exhibitor Michelle Walker of Olive Branch, Miss.  Leann Rhimes and Jimmy Civils picked up third for Corinne Civils & Jimmy Civils of Indianapolis, Ind. and Petersburg, Tenn.
   The Novice division was up next on the evening's schedule with 30 of 39 expected working their way around the big oval in hopes of picking up that enviable first Celebration blue in Class 73A, Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings.  Judge Sam Sorrell led the panel in the division and determined that additional work would be necessary to determine the champion.  Thirteen of the original 30 were asked to remain to continue work towards that sentimental journey down victory lane.  When the work was done and the cards complete, announcer Chip Walters called the team of The Raffle and Amanda Wilkerson to the winner's circle for The Jim Wilkerson Family of Maryville, Tenn.  The Raffle is normally the mount for Amanda's husband, Kurt, but after this win, he might just have to find a new ride!  Kat Man Dude and Polly Ware made a strong performance to take home the reserve honors for Tom & Polly Ware of Cynthania, Ky.  Ritzy Zone and Carolyn Joseph accepted third for The Anthony Joseph Family of Columbiana, Ala.
   The B division of Class 73 brought a ring full of ladies hoping for their Celebration dreams to come true in the Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings.  Twenty-eight of the 42 programmed entries worked for Judge Rollie Beard and his cohorts.  Denise Calhoun of Waco, Ky. brought her lucky charm to the 2005 Celebration with her.  That and a excellent performance by her mount, Label's Lucky Charm allowed the team to top the loaded division and carry that blue back up to her old Kentucky home where they had 2005 wins at Harrodsburg, Ky.'s Kentucky Ladies Auxiliary Spring Show and Owningsville, Ky.'s Lions Club Horse Show.  The Polar Express and Kristen Williams accepted the reserve title for The Mark Williams Family of Holly Springs, Miss.  Fortune's Fool and Ginger Young rode to third for J. Wayne Brown of Boaz, Ala.
    While there was a break in the action, The Celebration took the opportunity to honor 2005 World Grand Champions The Black Night Shade and Jimmy McConnell by retiring their back number 1122 from future use, an honor that has become a Celebration tradition.
   The cowboys and cowgirls invaded the big oval next as 10 of the 15 with spots on the wagon train hit the trail in class 74, Western Park Pleasure Walking Horses (Canter).  Judge Steve Brown called the gaits in the division.  Keeping it in the western way, the Classic Horse and many time WGC and WC Strike It Rich just keeps on winning day after day and year after year.  Tonight, he was presented by trainer Howard Hamilton for Randall and Gloria Dixon of Dacula, Ga.  The big, sorrel crowd favorite, Armed and Trigger Happy picked up the reserve honors with Patrick Thomas in the stirrups for Jim and Debbie Nichols of New Market, Tenn.  Another familiar face in the western division, Generator's Power Pusher and trainer Doug Barnes were third for Dick and Sally Reiley of Lewisburg, Tenn.
   The Novice riders were back for class 75A, Owner-Amateur Novice Youth Riders12-17 on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings.  Twenty-eight of the 32 expected worked for that chance to make their first trip to the winner's circle as Judge Mack Motes and staff watched over the action.  Well, Mayberry, NC has been in the blues this week at The Celebration!  Clay Mills of Mt. Airy, N.C. picked up a win in the Amateur Owned & Trained division earlier in the week and tonight Lindsey Henry picked up her very first Celebration blue in this division aboard Olympic Pusher for Henry & Mosley of Mt. Airy, N.C.  Almost Indecent and Jamie Waddell accepted the reserve honors for Grace and Jamie Waddell of Verbena, Ala.  Doctor Liz and Jessica Adcock rode to third for The Mickey Adcock Family of McMinnville, Tenn.
   Class 75B brought 21 of 32 of those with reservations to the big oval to work in Owner Amateur Novice Youth Riders 12-17 Years on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings.  Judge Mike Sims served as call judge in the division.  Riding her way out of the novice division was the team of Jessica Adcock and Jazz Time for The Mickey Adcock Family of McMinnville, Tenn.  Main Majorette and Caleb Kilburn rode to the red streamer for the Salt Lick Farms of Salt Lick, Ky.  This Generator's A Lady and Jacob Baum tied third for Dr. James Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn.
   The trainers were back on the track for class 76A, Two-Year-Old Walking Mares.  Thirty of the 50 programmed entries made the call to work under the watchful eye of Call Judge Sam Sorrell and his cohorts.  Holding up the competition in the loaded division was the team of She's Calamity Jane and Jimmy McConnell riding for Jim & Bonnie Gerhardt of St. Louis, Mo.  McConnell and his girl posted wins at Jackson, Mo.'s Mid America Spring Classic and Corinth, Miss.'s Magnoia Classic leading up to this win.  Catcher In The Act caught the judges attention with Charlie Green in the irons as they picked up the red ribbon for Bob & Luann Sigmon of Canal Winchester, Ohio.  She's Charmed and Knox Blackburn charmed the panel to accept the third award for Irby Farms of Mobile, Ala. & Shelbyville, Tenn.
   There was a short break in the action to take a look at the 2004 Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders & Exhibitors Association World Grand Champion Pusher's Secret Weapon and Barney Davis.  The beautiful black & white stallion put on an outstanding performance to peak the attention of the extra large first Saturday evening crowd.
   Once Davis and Pusher's Secret Weapon headed back up the hill, it was time for the gait to swing open once again to bring on class 76B, Two-Year-Old Walking Mares.   Again, 30 of the 50 expected made the trip through the historic gates to take their turn in the big oval as Judge Rollie Beard and staff look on.  Well, Formac Stables of Union City, Tenn. absolutely dominated the Two-Year-Old Mare division at the 2005 Celebration.  It this division it was the team of She's Grandiose and Dan Waddell, WHTA's reigning Assistant Trainer Of The Year, making the victory pass, just as she did at Martin, Tenn.'s Purchase Area Horse Show, Humboldt, Tenn.'s West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Horse Show, Memphis, Tenn.'s Germantown Charity Horse Show and Murfreesboro, Tenn.'s Bethesda Horse Show.  Jimmy and Edith Dilday of Dresden, Tenn. proudly own the very talented mare  Reserve in the division went to the team of My Favorite Pusher and John Allan Callaway for Buen McArdle of Dothan, Ala.  Another Alabama owned entry, I'm A Burst Of Pride and Knox Blackburn accepted the third award for The Dr. Allen Lowman Family of Decatur, Ala.
   One of the new additions on the class schedule for the 2005 Celebration was the Adult Walking Pony division.  Class 77A brought 16 of the 20 booked to show their stuff in hopes of picking up that very first blue in the new Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Ponies, Stallions division.  Judge Steve Brown served as call judge for the event.  Picking up that very first blue was Prime Poison and Brenda Carlon riding for Dr Harvey Carlon of Lowell, Mich.  Pure Tribute and Pam Ingraham picked up the reserve with a stellar performance for Pam Ingraham and Cross Creek Farm of Brentwood, Tenn.  Special Alert and owner/exhibitor Jean O' Brien of Bell Buckle, Tenn. carried away the yellow streamer.
   During a break in the action, The Celebration Board of Directors presented the E.L. Adamson Humanitarian Award to Dr. Bob Womack of Murfreesboro, Tenn. for his long time contribution to our industry and for serving as our breeds unofficial historian for many years.
   Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Ponies, Stallions were back again in class 77B with 15 of 20 hitting the track once again to make their Celebration debut in this new division.  Judge Mack Motes called the gaits in the event.  When the work was complete, owner/exhibitor Stephanie Gordon of Murfreesboro, Tenn. proved she did have the power to dominate the division as she and Olympic Power, 2005 champions at the National Trainers' Show and Shelbyville, Tenn.'s Tony Rice Horse Show, did just that to walk away with the Celebration title.  Skywalk and Seth Stanfill walked to the red streamer in the event for Billy Stanfill of Lexington, Tenn.  Late Night Jazz and owner/exhibitor Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn.  received the third award.
   The Saturday Morning session featured four divisions of Yearlings preparing for the first World Grand Championship of the 67th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, the Walking Yearling World Grand Championship.  If you wondered why the Yearling Championship is so early in the week, well many of the yearlings are entered in the various sale barns' yearling production sales that start next week and need to complete their competition prior to that time.  Sixteen entries hit the track to work for the chance to make that walk under the spotlight as Judge Mike Sims led the panel. Making that spotlight journey was the team of Chris Richards and Power Force exhibiting for Harlinsdale Farm of Franklin, Tenn.  World Champion Yearling Colt Just A Jazzman and Robert Nelms strolled to the reserve title for The Curt Washburn Family of Fayetteville, Tenn.  Two-Time World Champion Stone's Throw and Brian Wright accepted third for Dr. George Wright and Dr. Roger Richards of Mt. Juliet, Tenn. and Hendersonville, Tenn.
   Class 79 A brought the Novice riders back to the big oval for the Owner-Amateur Novice Gentleman Riders on Novice Walking Stallions with 16 of the 23 programmed entries making the gate call to work for that first Celebration blue under the watchful eye of Call Judge Sam Sorrell and the panel.  Riding their way out of the novice division, A Black Market Pusher and Ronnie Stanfill, a dominant force on the Mid-South show circuit, captured the win for Ruby Stanfill of Lexington, Tenn.  Taking the reserve honors back to the Peach state, A Special Ultra Copy and Bobby Mixon preserve that novice status a little longer for Bobby & Linda Mixon of McIntyre, Ga.  City General and Harold Roberts rode to third for Mr. & Mrs. Harold Roberts of Van Buren, Mo.
   The B division of class 79, Owner-Amateur Novice Gentleman Riders on Novice Walking Stallions found 14 making their way down the hill to work for Judge Rollie Beard and his panel.  With an outstanding performance in the division, Charlie Gibson and I'm Packin' A Pistol rode their way right out of the novice division by picking up the win for Charlene Gibson for Sykesville, Md.  Headed out west, Noon's Natural High and Shawn Benham garnered the red ribbon for Paul & Donna Hughes of Ontario, Calif.  Jazz's Rhythm & Blues and Daniel Joseph collected the third award for The Doug Joseph Family of Columbiana, Ala.
   With one final victory lap by Charlie Gibson and I'm Packin' A Pistol, it was the time that all 22,813 in attendance had been waiting for, the call for class 80A, Walking Stallions, Five Years and Over, Over 15.2 (Canter).  Fifteen of the 23 with reservations made the gate call to work for Call Judge Steve Brown and The Celebration panel.  Each of the contenders hit the gate strong, with many receiving thunderous cheers from the crowd.  As the work continued, several of the contenders, namely NYPD and Tim Gray, Private Charter and Knox Blackburn, M.G. Above The Rest and Allen Abee Dragonfly and Jimmy McConnell and It's Billy The Kid and Russ Thompson, set themselves apart from the rest of the entries as the elite of the division.  As the contenders worked to the second running walk, it began to appear that one team, NYPD and Tim Gray, might just be ready to give the final push needed to top the division.
   However, things changed when the canter was called on the second way.  NYPD initially refused the canter when called on by trainer Tim Gray and continued down the east rail without ever picking up the third gait.
   When the work was complete and the cards tallied, it was the 2004 15.2 and Under World Grand Championship team of  Private Charter and Knox Blackburn riding to the winner's circle for Hy-Steppin' Farms of Germantown, Tenn. In Private Charter's only 2005 outing in  the professional division, he captured The Celebration Spring Fun Show's Open 15.2 and Under Championship.  Coming from out west with a stellar performance to pick up the reserve honors were It's Billy The Kid and Russ Thompson riding for Sue Brassy & The Doobrovo Corp. of Chino Hills, Calif.  Gulf Coast Charity Celebration and Germantown Charity Grand Champion Dragonfly and Jimmy McConnell rode to the third position for Bob and Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J.
   With the A division proving to be very exciting and full of surprises, the crowd could hardly wait for what Class 80B, Walking Stallions, Five Years and Over, Over 15.2 (Canter) would hold.  Judge Mack Motes served as call judge in the division.
   Again, in this division, several teams pulled away from the pack, Main Power and Joe Cotten, A Strong Dollar and Link Webb, Can You See Me Now and Jimmy McConnell,Pusher's High Voltage and Mickey McCormick and Spirit's Midnight Rider and Ramsey Bullington appeared, from this reporter's opinion, to pull away from the rest of the pack.
   When the cards were tallied in the division, Spring Fun Show and Woodbury Lions Club Champion, Main Power and Joe Cotten captured the Aged Stallion title, moving up from the reserve position in 2004, for Holland, King & Kilgore of Decatur, Arab and Tuscaloosa, Ala.  This team won the title with four of five first place votes.
Bethesda and Pulaski, Tenn. champions,A Strong Dollar and Link Webb rode to the
reserve title for Curtice McCloy of Norman, Okla.  Spirit's Midnight Rider and Ramsey Bullington garnered the yellow streamer for The Annie Williamson Family of Hopkinsville, Ky.
   And, after Main Power and Joe Cotten made that one last victory pass, the Saturday evening performance was complete.  A few questions were answered, but many still remain and a few new questions arose from the evening's Aged Stallion classes.  However, it will give the industry something to talk about until the final question is answered next Saturday night.  Don't forget, there are other classes that a horse can use as qualifiers to the World Grand Championship event.  Could this be the year that the World Grand Champion comes from the 15.2 and Under class or the Aged Mare class?  Just something else to think about.
   On the future agenda, the morning sessions of the 67th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will come to a close on Monday Morning and make a point to be back in the main arena on Monday night as the evening will be highlighted by three divisions of Two-Year-Old Stallions.
   Ah, yes, The Celebration. Truly history in the making.

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