Record Attendance at Monday Night's Celebration

By Melissa R. Stevens

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The largest Monday night crowd in the history of the Celebration came out for tonight's session proving that a fun night at the Celebration never goes out of style. The actual attendance was 10,039 with paid attendance soaring to 22,655.

The first class on the agenda for the evening was the Owner-Amateur Gentlemen Drivers, Fine Harness class. Eleven of the 14 entries on the program chose to show in this class. Gene Carswell was the call judge. Two time outs were called resulting in a fairly lengthy delay in the action. The winner in the class, Genius Gold Spirit, retired the Scott Edwards Memorial Challenge Trophy after taking the blue two years. Genius Gold Spirit was driven to the blue by Bob Keenan for the Robert Keenan family of Franklin, Tenn. Genius Gold Spirit has taken home the blue this year from the Trainers Show and the Columbia Spring Jubilee. On The Money and Ben Harrell were the reserve choice for Double Springs Farm of Murfreesboro, Tenn. A Major Masterpiece and Chris Warley finished with third for Black Gold Farm of Normandy, Tenn.

The Four-Year-Old Park Pleasure Walking Horse class for amateur riders brought 16 of the 23 entries in the program to the ring. Jamie Hankins was the call judge. One time out was called after riders were asked to show on the reverse way of the ring. Elegance Of Design and Bruce Lovato up for Nancy Lovato of West Jordan, Utah, won the blue ribbon honors in this class. Elegance Of Design took the blue in the Four-Year-Old Park Pleasure Walking Horse Canter class on Thursday morning with Craig Swaggerty in the irons. Joltin' Joe Dimaggio and Carleen Redman were reserve for Gary and Carleen Redman of Fontana, Calif. Joltin' Joe Dimaggio was reserve to Elegance Of Design in the open division as well with Trish Wooten up. Third in the class was He's Pushin' Time with Jackie Fisher in the irons for Kathy Jamison and Jackie Fisher of Florence, S.C.

Next up was the Amateur Western Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship. Thirty flashy entries made the gate call to compete for World Grand Championship honors. Paul Watlington called the class. Fourteen entries were asked to remain for further rail work. To Die For! and Shayna Shaw were called from the line up to make the spotlight ride for owner Janis Brown of Sherwood, MD. This talented team also took the first place honors in the Youth Western Trail Pleasure qualifier for riders 17 and under earlier in the week and the blue at Big D. To Die For! was the 2003 International Plantation Grand Champion. Royal Sparkling Gen and rider Michelle Hodne took the reserve honors home to Doug Toone of Spangle, Wash. This entry was third in the Amateur Western Trail Pleasure Canter class for riders 18 and over on Thursday morning. He's A Wrangler and Maggie Moore rode their way to the third place tie for Harvey and Maggie Moore of Orange, Calif. He's A Wrangler and Moore placed first in the Amateur Western Trail Pleasure qualifying class for riders 18 and over on Thursday morning.

The Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares and Geldings class brought 17 entries to the ring. There were a whopping 76 entries listed on the program. Laura Brandon was the call judge. Silverado Spirit and Erin Graf were called to the winner's circle for owners David and Erin Graf of South Portsmouth, Ky. Jubilee's Star Wars and owner/exhibitor Daniel Groover of Brentwood, Tenn., were reserve. Rounding out the top three spots were Sweetie Sky and Julie Clayton for Vernon and Clayton of Booneville, Miss., and Bremen, Ga.

Only nine entries made their way to the ring to compete in the Elite Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Stallions class. Pride's Sundance Star and Kay Green were called to receive the blue ribbon honors for Dr. and Mrs. Jim Green of Meridian, Miss. Electrifying and owner/exhibitor Dona Griffin of Monroe, N.C., were reserve. The third place tie in the class went to Cut The Smoke and Brenda Carlon for Dr. and Mrs. Harv Carlon of Lowell, Mich., and Flat Creek, Tenn.

The Two-Year-Old Walking Stallion class had so many entries that it had to be divided into four separate divisions for the second year in a row. Seventeen entries made their way through the gate to fight it out for the blue in Section A of the class. Gene Carswell was selected as the call judge. A time out was called when Concealed Threat lost a shoe. Unfortunately the shoe could not be repaired and Concealed Threat had to be excused. When the class was called back to order, The Ivy League and Jimmy McConnell were called to receive the blue ribbon honors for Bob and Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J. With this win the Medinas retired the Buddy Kirby Memorial Challenge Trophy and the Judy Woodlee Memorial Challenge Trophy. The reserve honors went to Jose's Intimidator and Jamie Bradshaw for Randall and Martha Ferguson of Union Grove, Ala. Jose's Intimidator has won blue ribbons honors at Baileyton, Ala., and Wartrace this year. Steal Justice and Jerry Collier rounded out the top three positions for Perry Hastings of Greenwood, S.C. This entry also received a blue this year at the Cullman, Ala., show.

Section B brought 26 entries to the ring. Jamie Hankins was the call judge. A time out was called and resulted in Fact Of The Matter and Chad Williams being excused because of a thrown shoe that could not be replaced. When the class resumed an additional workout was called for 13 of the entries. Missed The Boat and Dude Crowder were the blue ribbon winners in this section for Jerry and Katy Jordan of Lebanon, Tenn. Missed The Boat was reserve at the Lynchburg show this year. Sky Cash and Ronal Young were reserve for Ronal and Judy Young of Bell Buckle, Tenn. Sky Cash has had a good year. This talented horse has received a blue this year at Spring Hill, reserve at Children's Classic and Liberty Lions Club. John FK's Diamond Delight and Keith Blackburn received the third place award for the Tommy Grider family of Columbia, Ky. This nice horse was awarded the blue at Columbia and reserve honors at Fayetteville.

Fifteen talented entries answered the gate call for Section C of the Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions class. Paul Watlington was the call judge. Expeditor and Knox Blackburn were called to make the victory pass for Robert Thomas of Brandon, Miss. Pride's Mister Glo and Joe Fleming received the reserve honors for the Jimmy Shew family of Taylorsville, N.C. The third place tie went to Mama's Almighty Dollar and Mickey McCormick for Michael and Becky Coleman of Money, Miss. Mama's Almighty Dollar was a blue ribbon winner this year at Dallas, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and Pulaski, Tenn.

A large class of 27 entries answered the gate call for the final section of the Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions class. An additional workout was called for 13 of those entries. When the winner was announced, it was The Image of Ritz and Larry Edwards in the irons for the Dan McSwain family of Atlanta, Ga. The Image Of Ritz has won blues this year at Carrollton, Ga., and Bethesda. Reserve in the large class went to G-Man and Jackie McConnell up for Linda Crowley of Waverly Hall, Ga. The third place tie went to Ritz And Impressive with Rodney Dick in the irons for Tommy and Martha McGee of Lenoir, N.C. Ritz And Impressive has taken home the blue from Albemarle, N.C., and the North Carolina Foothills Jubilee.

An enormous class of 38 Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Stallions crowded into the ring. Mike Carpenter was the call judge for the class. We were all a part of it when old New York New York was called to the winner's circle. Terry Mann was up for Mann Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Eagle of Mt. Sterling, Ky. New York New York has had a great year with wins at Alabama Ladies Auxiliary Horse Show, Columbia Spring Jubilee, Woodbury and Wartrace. Diamond Buster and Guylene Ozlanski took the reserve spot for Tamarack Acres of Woodbury, Tenn. This talented entry has taken the blue at the Murfreesboro Exchange Club and McMinnville, Tenn. John F.K.'s Pusher and Robin MacDonald finished with third place for Bruce and Robin MacDonald of Atlanta, Ga., and Shelbyville, Tenn. John F.K.'s Pusher has had a busy year winning blues at Starkville, Miss., Trainers Show, Gallatin, Columbia Spring Jubilee and Belfast.

Twenty-four Amateur Gentlemen Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses entered the ring next. Gene Carswell was selected as the call judge for this class. A time out was called when The Great Escape threw a shoe. Unfortunately it could not be repaired and the horse had to be excused from the competition. The unanimous first place winner was Insomnia with Keith Johnson up for the Cartwright and Johnson of Shelbyville, Tenn. This talented horse has garnered wins at Jackson, Miss., Summertown, Tenn., Money Tree Classic, Liberty Lions Club and Dickson, Tenn. Wow, this team has been busy! Gen's Super Stroke was reserve with James Vernon in the irons for James and Peggy Vernon of Booneville, Miss., and Shelbyville, Tenn. Gen's Super Stroke has received blues at Starkville, Miss., Columbia Spring Jubilee and the Magnolia Classic. The third place tie went to Major Cigar and Robert Dabbs for Janice Dabbs of Cartersville, Ga.

The last class of the evening was the Walking Stallions Canter class for horses 15.2 and under. Thirty-four entries made the gate call. Two time outs were called in this class, but gladly both entries were able to continue. An additional workout was called for 17 of the entries. There were some tough horses in this class, but Private Charter and Knox Blackburn were asked to make the victory pass for owner Bud Moore of Catherine, Ala. Private Charter has definitely charted a blue ribbon course this year with wins at Jackson, Miss., the Spring Fun Show, and Woodbury. Gen's Johnny Walker Red and Sammy Day were chosen as the reserve in this tough class for owners John and Gary LeGate of Orlando, Fla., and Shelbyville, Tenn. This top notch entry has been busy this year as well, garnering wins at Jackson, Miss., Gulf Coast Charity, Spring Fun Show and Marshall County. The third place tie in the class went to Cash In My Stock with Brett Boyd up for Charles and Joy Gleghorn of Fayetteville, Tenn. Cash In My Stock has taken blues home this year from Woodbury and the Red Carpet Show of the South.

The Celebration is all about honoring and taking pride in the magnificent breed of the Tennessee Walking Horse. One of the things that makes these horses so special is there long life span. This year there are a record number of 57 classic horses registered for competition. A classic horse is one that is over 15 years old. This large number of older horses is a testament to the breed and the industry. Later this week there will be a special class just for our beloved classic horses.