By Sadie Fowler

By Sadie Fowler

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — The nostalgic evening was at its climax Saturday, Aug. 31 as locals and horse enthusiasts comfortably mixed to welcome the start of the final Saturday evening of what had been a magnificent 81st anniversary Celebration in so many ways. Although sometimes it felt like mayhem for those working hard to play their part in making it come together, it was once again worth the effort as stands were full, classes were entertaining, and the pageantry unmatched as all were reminded why we all love to celebrate these last 11 days leading up to Labor Day each year.

After a beautiful opening ceremony, the Amateur Five and Under Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship started things off in Celebration style Saturday night with five entries gracing Maverick. Flashing and walking and kicking off a very bright night of stars, I’m Thunderstruck NDR and Jackie Dean walked the show off in classic form while She’s Primetime and Kaitlyn Rippy slid into reserve.

He’s Prime Time and Clay Sanderson finished as the world grand champions when the Show Pleasure World Grand Championship class was all said and done for Ridgemont Farms, with Benelli and Clayton Davis besting out the rest of the competition as they settled into the reserve position. 

Sixteen entries showed up to compete in the Amateur Mares and Geldings World Grand Championship and shortly after entering the ring the excitement heightened as Mark Farrar announced there would indeed be a workout. The many top-notch contenders delivered on the first way of the ring and just after making the reverse and heading for part two of the night’s first showdown one entry through a shoe, delaying the class a bit and allowing each team to perhaps think about their strategy for the remainder of the class, as a strategy was definitely needed to make it into this top three. The class was split into equal parts with each group taking the rail for a second round of competition, really pushing these contenders hard, but with athleticism and style the best of the best handled it just fine. 

Among those prepared with stamina and style, Robert Deutsch and Zeta teamed up for their first time together in the Shelbyville spotlight as world grand champions while an all-star cast followed them in the ribbon order, including reserve world grand champions Gin Toddy with Sue Irby up.

The Amateur Park Performance World Grand Championship made the contenders work and the winners did just that indeed with the very dedicated Jannie Chapman directing her charismatic champion A Touché down a shiny victory lane. Reserve in the class, Do Right and Dr. Jim Baum maintained their position as Celebration headliners to exit as well-respected reserve world grand champions. 

Poised and polished from start to finish, the Amateur Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship took the stage next and entertained as one of the night’s highlights, with no one wearing the winning name better than The Night King and Jeff V. Smith. As I Am and Jason Myatt’s story is filled with pride and prizes, and in tonight’s chapter they demonstrated their grace in the role of reserve world champions. 

No one could have been prouder for the outcome of the Youth 6-17 Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship when the winning horse was called out of the lineup, representing her owner like her owner would do for her … Yes, we’re talking about the tried and true and very much loved entry of Etta James By TJB, who partnered up with Ashley Jackson, pinch-hitting in perfect style to the delight of each and every spectator and of course owner Kathy Zeis. My Novia and Jayden Jackson made every moment count as well, and they finished out 2019 as the reserve world grand champions in the class. 

The two-Year-Old World Grand Championship was labeled one of the most magnificent of the night with one of the industry’s most loyal and consistent ambassadors doubling as the winning trainer. Herbert Derickson also represented Shelbyville and owner Judy  Case with all eyes on Maverick Arena from near and far as he rode Mr. Magnifico to the roses and received a roaring applause on his way out. The road to the top is wide open for the next trainer as well, Tyler Baucom, who also had an awesome Celebration with many great rides, including the one he had in this class on Dixie Road. 

The Amateur Lite-Shod World Grand Championship concluded with Lisa Baum finally getting the Celebration win she was working hard for and did so in a big way with Big Time Bandit. Another prized, household name in this division, La Patrona and Dale Steinmetz received a well-earned round of applause as they carried out the reserve streamers that represented those next in line. 

The Amateur Four-Year Old featured 11 serious riders ready for a showdown as the 2019 Celebration began to wrap up. After taking a couple years off from the winner’s circle at the Celebration, Jason Myatt and I Am José reminisced in a style that turned heads like no other to repeat what they had last done in the two-year-old class in 2017, for the 2019 Saturday night winning nod. Good Samaritan and Pam Russell, who has also been good all week long with several noteworthy appearances, accepted a the well-received reserve title. 

Led Zeppelin and Abby Fox have been undefeated for the past two years and tonight they did it again, in the canter class for amateur riders, following up their most recent and pristine preliminary win from Wednesday as the 2019 world grand championships. Again, three years in a row is quite an achievement as they retired an astonishing four trophies on Saturday night. Country And Famous and Miles Irby were the reserve finishers and they were ahead of many of those representing the industry’s best of the best.  

At a fast paced speed intensified by the Saturday night atmosphere that horse folks of all kind admire, the Walking Horse World Grand Championship was on the slate for the evening and show’s climax. Seeming to fly by at rapid speed, making what was an as usual 11 days of memories unique to their own, the crowd stood in traditional fashion as they always do as they cheered their favorites on to welcome them in a way only Shelbyville, Tennessee can do. Eight entered the class one at a time and it was one of those rare Celebration stakes where it was literally anyone’s game. All had their equal fair share of support from the crowd, and all had master showmen working their magic as the judges worked hard and paid attention to every detail while marking their cards. Saddles came off for a view of conformation, a workout was done in grand Celebration style, and those final passes by each contender were made to let the judges have one last look. Even announcer Mark Farrar called it an even and well-represented shot for any one of the contenders, according the crowd support factor alone, but in the end no one could argue with the choice of Rodney Dick and I’m Mayhem getting that world grand championship honor for owner Jo Ann Dowell. It was hard for fans of Herbert Derickson and Master’s Razzle And Jazz to accept defeat, because they to have worked hard, played their cards right and had many loyal and local fans cheering them on, but in a gracious style true to his own, Derickson had his moment once again as he made his own trip down the rail proudly representing reserve for the Riddley family.