By Mark Davis


            It’s Tuesday night in Shelbyville and it appears once again that the fans and exhibitors might have to fight rain showers again this evening as clouds hang over the sky.  As this reporter drove in from his day job in Nashville, there were several light showers in the area.  Hopefully, if we do have to endure a shower it will be just that, light, and not the unnamed hurricane that passed through Shelbyville on Friday evening because we have a great night of competition ahead with 13 classes on the schedule. 

            The judges for The 69th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration included Mike Carpenter of Franklin, Tenn., Allen Forman of Thomson, Ga., Justin Jenne’ of Lewisburg, Tenn., Sam Sorrell of Lexington, Ky. & Ronnie Spears of Tullahoma, Tenn.

            The invocation for the evening was given by Bro. Bobby McGee of Edgemont Baptist Church of Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by the Bedford Express Quartet of Shelbyville, Tenn.  With one final pass by official flag horse Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton, it was time to get the show underway.

            It would get underway with class 112, Four-Year-Old Walking Mares, with 10 of the 15 with reservations making the call to work under the watch of Judge Mike Carpenter and staff.  Making the break to the finish line, Three-Year-Old WC Mare Preakness and Joe Cotten rode to the top of the event for Dr. Raphael Rigual of Oklahoma City, Ok. & San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Sweet Apple Pie and Knox Blackburn were reserve for Steve Heitmiller of Laguna Beach, Calif.  My Favorite Pusher and John Allan Callaway were third for Buren McArddie of Dothan, Ala.

            Fifteen of the 24 expected made their was down the hill to work in class 113, Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings, Five-Years and Over (Canter)  Judge Allen Forman served as Call Judge in the event.  Nothing could be finer than taking a Celebration blue back to Carolina and Clay Mills picked up yet another to take back on his trip home with Royal Luck, a 2006 World Champion in the Four-Year-Old Amateur division, riding for Lee Mills of Mt. Airy, NC.  This team’s 2007 resume featured wins at Clemson, S.C. ‘s South Carolina Ladies Auxiliary Show, Dallas, N.C.’s North Carolina Ladies Auxiliary Show, Dobson, N.C.’s Foothills Classic, Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Money Tree Classic, Asheville, N.C.’s Land-O-The-Sky Horse Show, and Tazewell, Va.’s Tazewell County Classic.   Gen’s Major Motion and Beth Sims pulled in for the red streamers for The Mike Chiappari Family of Santa Rosa, Calif. & Bell Buckle, Tenn.  Kacie Frankino and The Family Jewels rounded out the top three for Bob Frankino of Cypress, Texas.

            Class 114A brought 27 of the 42 programmed entries to the big oval for the first section of Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings.  Judge Justin Jenne’ led the panel in the division.  Making the outstanding ride to top the extra large division was Jose’s Dulce and Kathryn Ramsbottom showing with a big smile for Bob Ramsbottom/Clinch River Ranch of Norris, Tenn.   They preceded this win with championships from Shelbyville, Tenn.’s National Walking Horse Trainers’ Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show. Prodigy and Sherri Pollack pulled into the second position for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  Dollars Of Gold and Lucky Collins picked up the golden streamers for Don & Lucky Collins of Ft. Myers, Fla. & Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings,  class114B, featured 29 of the 48 on the entry sheets working hard for Judge Sam Sorrell and staff.  After delivering one knockout punch earlier this week in the Two-Year-Old Mare division with trainer Joel Weaver, Champ’s First Round was back in the ring and back in the winner’s circle again with Brett Jones up for Brett & Lisa Jones of Tylertown, Miss.  A Lady Santana and Kelly Sherman were reserve for Beverly Sherman of Dallas, Texas.  Headed back up north, Cash’s Pretty Please and Sheila Alvis scored third for Tzareff & Alvis of Clarkston, Mi.

            The amateur riders stayed in the spotlight for Class 115, Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Ponies, Mares or Geldings with 18 of the 35 on the books working to the ring as Judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits.  Capturing her second blue in two nights, Connie Hess was back in the winner’s circle in the event with Hurricane Rain for C.M., Connie & Lindsay Hess/Zenda Hill Farm of Harrisonburg, Va.  Generator’s Top Dollar and Diana Bowers were in top form to garner the red streamers for Linda Bowers of Elizabethton, Tenn.  Kathryn Ramsbottom and Cesar Ritz were third for Vernon & Ramsbottom of Booneville, Miss. & Norris, Tenn.

            The trainers were back for class 115, Show Pleasure Walking Stallions, with 18 of the 27 on the entry sheets working down the hill to show their stuff under the watchful eye of Judge Mike Carpenter and his staff.  Casting their spell on the judges and the crowd for the second consecutive year, Zulu and Knox Blackburn put on a striking performance to capture the win for Bud & Suzanne Moore of Catherine, Ala.  With this win, the duo retired the Kurt Kovalick Memorial Challenge Trophy.  Everyone loves a good white horse and that proved true once again as Stewart Little and Jimmy McConnell got a big cheer from the crowd as they pulled in for second for Red & Dot Strickland of Olive Branch, Miss.  Coin’s Black Stroke and John Puckett rounded out the top of the class for Reggie Pimentel of Bell Buckle, Tenn.

            A brand new division on The Celebration schedule, Young Trainers, 35 Years and Under on Walking Stallions was up next on the program with 18 of the 36 expected working their way to the rail hoping to impress the judges and the crowd with their efforts as Judge Allen Forman led the panel.  Getting the crowd all excited with their winning performance, Jacked Up and Dan Waddell stole the show for Lee Wall & Mike McGartland of Jackson, Miss. & Ft. Worth, Texas.  John Allan Callaway and Jazzed Up pulled in for the reserve for Brenda Bramlett of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Brock Tillman and The Games We Play were all business as they collected the yellow streamers for The Luther Fuller Family of Kingsport, Tenn.

            Owner-Amateur Riders on Three Year Old Walking Stallions were up next on the evenings schedule, Class 118A, with 23 of the 38 with reservations worked extra hard to break through the stiff competition in the event as Judge Justin Jenne’ called the gaits in the section.  Bringing in the gold in the event with a flawless performance was the 2006 Two-Year-Old Amateur WGC Roll The Gold and Spud Warr showing for The Spud Warr Family of Phenix City, Ala.  This win was preceded with blues from Panama City Beach, Fla.’s Gulf Coast Charity Celebration, Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s Exchange Club Horse Show and Lynchburg, Tenn.’s Moore County Horse Show.  Jose Up and Sherri Pollack accepted the red streamers for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  War Commander and Sheryl Crawford were third for Crawford Colts of Carrollton, Ga.

            Class 118B, Owner-Amateur Riders on Three Year Old Walking Stallions presented another outstanding group of exhibitors with 23 of the 41 on the books taking to the rail to work for the excited Tuesday night crowd and the judging panel, led by Judge Sam Sorrell in the section.  Scoring the win, Palm Beach Ritz and Sandra Johnson were on top of their game to hold back the tide and make the victory ride, just as they did earlier this year at Gallatin, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show, Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s Bethesda Horse Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show, for Sandra Johnson of Atlanta, Ga. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  First Parole and owner/exhibitor Rhonda Warren of Kernersville, N.C., broke down the wall to escape with reserve honors.  Absolute Proof and Meg Young pulled in for the yellow streamers for Ricky Young of Boaz, Ala.

            Staying in the amateur division, Class 119 featured the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings, 15.2 and Under with 22 of the 50 teams scheduled to appear making the trip down to the big oval to work for their chance at a Tuesday night victory ride as Judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits in the section.  Suspected to make a great performance, The Prime Suspect and Candra Carroll did just that to take the win back to East Tennessee for Brian & Candra Carroll of Knoxville, Tenn.  This duo had previously garnered wins at the National Walking Horse Trainers’ Show, Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s Exchange Club Horse Show and Lewisburg, Tenn.’s Marshall County Horse Show.  He’s Dr. Cash and Farrah McAlexander were proud of the red streamers they collected for Larry & Farrah McAlexander of Oxford, Miss.  It’s Taboo and Robin Mac Donald were third for Bruce & Robin McDonald of Atlanta, Ga. & Shelbyville, Tenn.

            The Park Pleasure entries made their way to the big oval for class 120, Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings, Five Years and Over, with 15 of the 26 programmed entries making the call to work as Judge Mike Carpenter served as Call Judge for the event.  Singing the winning song, Celine Neon and Patrick Thomas made the victory pass in the section for Mr. & Mrs. Buster McAdory of Louisville, Miss.  Keeping it in the barn, Regal’s Delight Lady and Howard Hamilton were second in the class for Jill & Rebecca Reynolds of Jupiter, Fla.  Rodney Dangerfield and Landon Head were third for Wardell Head of Jigger, La.

            Adding a little variety to the evening, class 121 featured the Owner-Amateur English Trail Pleasure, Adult Riders (Canter) with 13 of the 27 with reservations taking their chance to show off in the big oval as Judge Allen Forman called the gaits.  Topping the event with a unanimous decision of the panel were Push N For Pleasure and Patti Pollack riding for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. & Shelbyville, Tenn.  Mr. Jessie James and Ann Jameson were reserve for Dr. Kent & Ann Jameson and Mackenzie Morgan of Oakland, Tenn.  Wishes Of Cash and owner/exhibitor David Green of Hillsboro, Ore., garnered the golden streamers.

            Closing out the evening’s schedule was class 122, Owner-Amateur Novice Gentleman Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings with 22 of the 37 making the trip down the hill for the final time of the night hoping that final blue of the evening might be theirs.  Judge Justin Jenne’ served as Call Judge in the event.  Claiming that final blue of the evening and riding out of the Novice division was Brigand and Adam Brown riding for George Brown of Hillsboro, Tenn.  Busting With Design and owner/exhibitor Ronnie Grider of Columbia, Ky. rode into the reserve position.  My Ritzy Lady and owner/exhibitor Joe Estes of Smith’s Grove, Ky., were third.

            A great Tuesday night it was indeed and the 10,002 fans on hand tonight were certainly glad they made the trip over to The Celebration as they enjoyed a great night of competition.  Make plans to be back in Shelbyville tomorrow as preliminary competition comes to a close and preparations are made to start handing out roses on Thursday night.