by Jennifer Styskal

After a lighter Sunday schedule, highlighted by a dynamic Four-Year-Old Stallions, the Aged Mares and the Open Show Pleasure Mares or Geldings classes, everyone was refreshed and ready for Monday’s morning session of 13 classes. The local bank sign stated the morning’s temperature as 58 degrees, which made for a brisk start. The competition in the ring, however, heated things up with great talent in each class. Judges Sam Sorrell, Jennifer Bingham, Jamie Bradshaw, Mike Carpenter and Rollie Beard returned to center ring for their duties.

The Western Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite-Shod hit the in-gate with seven entries. Making an outstanding performance to keep the blue ribbon in Middle Tennessee, Laurie Toone directed Catastrophic down victory lane for Carrier and Toone. This world championship compliments an almost undefeated year for Catastrophic, with Jared Carrier claiming a reserve world championship on Friday. With nine wins listed on his resume, Dark Spirit’s Mack Daddy picked up the reserve championship. Sasha Tefft was in the irons for owner Heather Taylor.

Six good looking four-year-olds took to the ring for class 94, Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Four Years Old. Bruce Hankins had the unanimous winner in the copper chestnut Priscilla Cash. Kelly Sherman is the proud owner of this 2008 Park Pleasure Two & Three-Year-Old World Champion, who also accumulated blues this season from Crossroads of Dixie, Woodbury and Belfast. My Cabana Boy and Jay Laughlin teamed up for 4-J Land & Cattle Co. to collect the reserve ribbon. My Cabana Boy also earned the Park Pleasure Two & Three-Year-Old TWHBEA National Futurity in 2008.

Class 95 featured another fine class of young horses. The Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Three & Four Years Old, Lite-Shod brought in 13 entries to answer the gate call. The Laughlin family walked to the winner’s circle for the second time this morning when Jimmy Laughlin rode the unique roan Gen’s Million Dollar Baby to the blue ribbon honors. This is the third world championship for Million Dollar Baby and Laughlin, who beamed when he rode down victory lane for 4-J Land & Cattle Co. Oh My Irene and Kathy Anderson had an unblemished record when they came into Calsonic Arena. A reserve world championship added nicely to their resume in this deep class.

Only two riders entered the Equitation, Riders 18 Years & Over (Canter) class. They both rode to the best of their abilities, and after executing the individual workout, all five judges named Alex Bumpus, of Murfreesboro,
Tenn., the world champion for an impressive three years in a row. Bumpus has remained undefeated since her world championship in 2008. Christy Lantis claimed the red ribbon to take back to Hesperia, Calif. This was Lantis’s divisional debut this season, after winning at the Desert Classic last year.

A group of eight novice riders and novice horses walked into the show ring, all striving to earn that first Celebration blue in the Owner-Amateur Novice Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Novice Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Gelding. With a reserve already under their belt from the night before, Luke Benham and Blast Of Black Powder changed their status as novices no more by earning the top prize. This International Championship winner is owned by Langley and Benham of Sandpoint, Idaho and Cherry Valley, Calif. Another champion from the International Championship, as well as the WHOA Versatility Concord show, The Grizzly pulled into the center ring to pick up the red streamers. David Messimer and Lester, of Concord, N.C., own this nice entry.

Fifteen more novice riders and their horses strutted down the chute for a chance to make that memorable first ride down victory lane at the Celebration. The Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite-Shod worked next for the judges. Kim Baldwin looked a little bewildered when her number was called out by Mark Farrar. With a big grin, Baldwin rode to the winner’s circle with Prime Fashion for Tumbleweed Ranch. They added this world championship to an already stellar year with previous wins from Upper Cumberland, Bedford County 4H Spring, Gulf Coast Charity and Arab Park & Recreation. Staying a novice for another year, Jim Roberts and Caterpillar worked their way to the reserve for Warner and Linda Speakman and Roberts. Other wins on this team’s resume include Billy Cary Memorial, Booneville and Savannah Lions Club.

The morning’s pace shifted to the in hand division when 10 weanlings marched through the gates with their handlers for the Weanling Colts, of 2009 Foal. Living up to his name, The Master Of Blues strode into the winner’s circle for owners Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley. The Richards family continued to dominate the in hand division with Chris Richards handling the winning entry. Sired by Master Of Jazz and out of a Pride’s Generator mare, The Master Of Blues also won at the TWHBEA National Futurity and Woodbury Lions Club. Dickson County champion The Gipper collected the reserve honors with Nathan Mills on the lead for Hoyte Eakes. The Gipper is by Gen’s Black Gin and is out of a mare by He’s Puttin On The Ritz.

The young riders returned to the track for the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years on Show Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings. Fourteen hard-working teams worked the ring for the blue ribbon title. Flashy, yet steady, I’m An Evil Rebel and Kayla Baucom got the crowd behind them when they walked around the ring one final time with the blue ribbon hanging from their bridle. North Carolina is the proud home of this team and co-owner Lucille Matthis. I’m An Evil Rebel has enjoyed an undefeated year until his reserve world championship on Thursday evening, making for an impressive season. Pushing hard for second, My Blackeyed Susan and Aimee Lambert also had their section of the crowd cheering for them. The Jack Keltner Memorial champion is owned by Raymond and Diana Popp and Lambert of Shelbyville.

In the largest class of the day, if not one of the largest of the show so far, 29 entries came through the gate to make for a jam-packed Owner-Amateur Novice English Trail Pleasure, Novice Adult Riders. It took some skill and finesse to be noticed in a class this big, and Mark Farrar announced at the start to expect a workout. After inspecting the line up, 16 teams were asked to stay while the rest of the class was dismissed. Going though another round of work, the pair who stood out the most to shed their status as novices was Victoria’s Got A Secret and Fred Benjamin, who beamed with pride all the way to the winner’s circle. This win followed up the reserve world championship Benjamin and Victoria earned in the western section of this division. While they still remained novices, earning a reserve in a class this size was no small feat. Lightning Jazz and Emily Floberg captured the red ribbon. With wins from NW WHTA Spring Fiesta, Tennessee Saturday Night, TWHEAO Summer Extravaganza, International Championship and Spring Hill, this duo continues to successful year.

The western horses changed up the schedule with their Owner-Amateur Riders on Western Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Five Years & Over. Tipping his hat at the unanimous decision of the judges, Jim Heiting rode his Dragonfire to the winner’s circle to best a class of 12. Reserve in this class last year, Dragonfire and Heiting haven’t lost a class since then, sweeping shows on the West Coast and in Middle Tennessee. The flaxen Armed And Trigger Happy and owner Jim Nichols were certainly happy with their reserve prize. They kept this title in Tennessee in their season debut.

Only two answered the gate call for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite-Shod (Canter). It was another unanimous choice this morning when Jose’s Quervo Gold and Joanne Davis walked and shook their way down victory lane. They added this world championship to another captured on Friday morning. Already a world champion this morning, Prime Fashion returned to the show ring with Ginger Simpson in the saddle this time to pick up the reserve honors.

The first world grand championship of the day was awarded in the Auxiliary Equitation, Youth Medal Championship (Canter). Nine young ladies vied for the chance to wear the horseshoe of roses and tricolor ribbon. Each rider performed the individual workout that involved running walk to the end of the ring, canter a circle, and running walk back to the line up. Taking the honors down victory lane and back to College Grove, Tenn., was Rachel Burch. She was reserve in this class in 2007, the last time she showed in the equitation division, and followed it up with a win in the 15-17 class before claiming the world grand championship. Executing a great workout, as well as rail work, Allison Thorson claimed the reserve title. Thorson claimed the 12-14 section before returning to Calsonic Arena this morning.

Sixteen weanling fillies closed out the last morning session of the show. It was another unanimous decision of the judges, as well as another Richards-trained entry, who walked to the winner’s circle. Miss Cheyenne, a black filly with a perfect white star, showed what she was all about by capturing her second world championship in addition to a TWHBEA National Futurity title, led by Bobby Richards. This Seve daughter is owned by Larry Messimer of Concord, N.C. The crowd gave its approval when the Belfast champion, I Can’t Imagine, was called up for the reserve honors. The RL Neil entry of Murfreesboro, Tenn., sired by Pusher’s Next Generation and out of a Pride’s Delight mare, was led by Robert Nelms.