Posted August 30, 2001

by Carole Hargett

It was the last night before the the championship nights.

The Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings, started the festivities. The earmark of the Celebration to this point has been the large number of entries in each class. Thirty-seven horses and riders made their entrance for Division A, as Carpenter called the shots. One entry asked to be excused just before the group went on the reverse. The judges collected numbers for the first park in as the riders lined up. They selected 14 to remain for the final workout. The riders gave it everything they had as they made the rounds.

The blue ribbon and awards went to The Paper Rose and Susie Harmon. Harmon rode for John and Susie Harmon of Fort Thompson, SD. Handling the reins and guiding her mount to reserve was Stephanie Rose on Mr. Fitzgerald. Franklin resident, Caryl Rose, owns the entry. Another strong performance by Tarheel’s Miss Dumas and Kenny Compton earned a third place tie for the Rick Compton family.

The excitement continued with Division B when 33 entries passed through the gate. One hundred eleven entries were listed and a total of 70 were shown in the two divisions, another strong showing of young horses. Martin directed the class and notified riders of the impending workout. Sixteen entries positioned themselves around the track vying for a place on the judges card. Workouts were plentiful every night, but they were necessary in order to give each participant an opportunity to be seen and judged.

Summer Passion and Pam Ingraham collected their blue ribbon for Robert Ingraham Homes of Brentwood, Tenn. Pushing for reserve was Pusher’s Major Minor owned by Tommy Grider. Julie Grider handled the reins. Lock and Load locked in the third tie with Stacy Blackburn riding for Mr. & Mrs. Odell McConnell.

Class 111, Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Geldings, Specialty began with...what else? A workout! Hankins called 29 entries to be judged. There were fifty-one entries on the class sheet. Eighteen remained for further work in the class. After a time out for a tail brace, the riders went back to work. Larry Bright complemented the ladies with the tune “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” as they arrived at the line up.

Good Evening, made it a very good evening, when he and Jaclyn Harney did some flashy stepping to receive the blue ribbon. The John Harney family of Murfreesboro owns the entry. Down Under and Patti Pollack, riding for the Silver Spur Ranch, collected the red ribbon for reserve. Barracuda collected the third place honors with Mary Medina up.

The youngsters graced the ring as Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Two Years Olds answered Hand’s call to show their horses. Forty-one entries were on the class sheet; 20 entered the ring for competition.

Jeff Givens and Movie Extra moved in for the victory pass. The Keith Johnson family are the owners. Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio and Trish Wooten pick up the red ribbon for California owners Gary & Carleen Redmond. Elegance of Design was awarded the yellow ribbon for third place. Nancy Lavato owns the entry and Craig Swaggerty directed.

Between each class, Bill Kemp and his Flying Dogs entertained the crowd by performing daring frisbee tricks. They delighted the grown-ups and children alike when Kemp took the dogs to each section of the track and allowed fans to take pictures and pet the dogs.

Out of a class of 13, eight mamas and babies came to the ring for the Mare & Foal class. It was a beautiful sight to see young ones following mama. Oops, one baby fell behind. Isn’t that just like kids? Little whinnies broke out as the class was on the reverse. Four pairs lined up on each side of the track to be judged.

Pusher’s Walkin On and A Whisper of Rain with Charles Gleghorn and Karen Gleghorn won the blue and retired the Sam Gibbons Challenge trophy for two wins in a row. Coin’s Time Maker and RPM II carried away the reserve red ribbon with Bobby Richards and Rhonda Martocci handling the entries for Pete Hammond of Alabama. Charles Gleghorn’s entry Genteel Generator and Gentleman’s Cash collected the third place tie.

Class 114 was an inaugural class this year. The Trainer’s show first offered the class in 2001. The popularity was so overwhelming, the Celebration decided to include it in this year’s schedule. The class was small in size only, the fans loved it and cheered on each rider. The Retired Trainers Over 55 on Walking Horses, Specialty was underway. They hadn’t lost a thing as they skillfully executed the gaits and the crowd raised a ruckus! The entries even made that last pass in front of the judges. There were no losers in the class. The retired trainers ranged in age from 63 to 80.

Whitey Whitehead repeated his Trainers show victory with a victory ride that rivaled the Stake winners. He tossed his hat into the stands to what had to be the loudest outburst heard yet from the crowd. An outstanding ride was made by Preach Fleming, 80, aboard Generator’s No Question for Rae Nelson. Julia’s Choice Cut and Bob Atkinson tied up third with an equally outstanding performance for Pilkington & Atkinson. Seventy-two-year-old, Buddy Black rode for Hawkersmith Nursery on Come Alive Ritz for the fourth tie. And all the entries definitely made the crowd come alive.

Well, they were back again, those exciting stallions in Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, Five Years and Over, Over 15.2. The class sheet read 42 but 18 actually presented themselves for the judges approval. The presence of the stallions in any ring would cause your blood pressure to rise, but at the Celebration, it goes off the scale. There’s just something about that big leg-waving walk that’s hard to describe. Hand called for the canter and the ring was filled with rocking horses and riders. Now take a deep seat and “Walk On”. Yeah Boy!

The Carroll and Ellen Lawrence Memorial Challenge trophy was retired by Mister Pushbutton and William Johnson for three wins by the same owner. Pushover’s Cash Flow and Larry Davis received the reserve tie. Judy Young and Push Me Bold received the yellow ribbon and a thunderous applause for their third place tie. Young waved her ribbon as she exited the ring.

How many hot dogs can you eat in two minutes? The answer was about to be announced. Four people volunteered for this contest and the cooking and eating began. Each person had a handler to oversee their progress. Howard Hamilton was devouring the hot dogs, Bobby Sommerville seemed to be a magician, John Anderson and Jeff Haynes of Shelbyville would be full for a week! Three dogs down and Hamilton is struggling. The rest are going strong. The countdown is done by the crowd. Ten seconds to swallow and it’s over. John Anderson, the hometown boy, wins with five, count them, five hot dogs. Don’t try that at home, cause these boys were professionals!

There was the retired trainers class, now Hankins called the classic horses to front stage. Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, Specialty, Classic Horses 15 Years and Over exhibited the longevity of the walking horse in competition. These 12 veterans of the show ring were solid performers. Seven horses listed did not show. Eb’s Black Charger and Brandi Todd visited the winners circle for the awards. Triple T Investments of Richmond, Ky. own the entry. Finishing in reserve was The Finishing Touch and Erica Hartlein for Ginger Hartlein of Christiana, Tenn. Generator’s-No-U carried the third place ribbon home to Alabama for Collier & Hale. Vickie Hale directed the entry.

Time out to drag the track for the next class. That could only be the Fine Harness, class 117. Due to safety concerns, the class was split. Nine entries answered the call for Division A. The horses' elegant ways of going and the gleaming buggies made the class seem especially attractive. A shoe was cast and time out was called. Lined up head to toe, the judges awarded the blue ribbon honors to He Keeps On Giving with B. A. Dorsey at the whip. Bowtie Stables, Inc. own the entry. David Polk drove the Mr. & Mrs. David Polk entry of Generator’s Power Punch to the second tie. Scott Beaty and On The Money were just that to claim the third place tie.

Carpenter called Division B into the ring as nine entries answered the call. It was a great way to spend a Wednesday night...just riding along to the music. The horses seemed to be enjoying it as much as the riders and fans.

Topping the fine class was world champion Hal’s Six Shooter and Rollie Beard for Floyd and Floyd of Columbia, Tenn. Last Year’s winner and reserve this year was Ramsey Bullington and Genius Gold Spirit for the Robert Keenan family. Scott Beaty returned in the B division to collect another third place tie with Major Affair for Edwards and Fort.

The final class of the evening was the Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Riders 18 Years and Over. Tuck called 14 horses and riders to the gate, 27 were on the class sheet. The winning entry was Senor Generator and Doug Barnes. Senor Generator picked up his second blue. Stuart & Pam Gibbs own the entry. Powder River and Jamey Thompson rode for Mary Allen Areaux. Gen’s Sundancer and Jeff Givens captured the third place tie. Ralph and Elaine Pinner are the owners.

The night ended early at 11:15 pm. It is all world grand championship classes from now on with a few remaining classes to go. Everything comes down to the last three nights. Judging from the competition in the last eight days, they are nights that no one will want to miss. So mark your books, pick out your favorites and get ready for some unbelieveable talent.