By Sadie Fowler

Twelve classes showed in front Celebration spectators Friday morning, Aug. 23 and entertained a lively group of spectators. In fact, the heat inside the Calsonic Arena was hotter than it had been so far this week with a hearty group of fans cheering loudly class after class. Half of the morning’s classes were dedicated to the youth riders of the industry — and each and every one of those riders rode hard regardless of what ribbon they received. 
Holding true with tradition, the Amateur Weanling class kicked off the morning session and once again, Luchador represented the José José bloodline well and came back from his a place finish in the Futurity Wednesday night to earn the world championship with proud owner Jaron Dotson capably handling the handsome young star. This win was particularly sweet for Dotson, who has been showing since he was just six and had won seven reserve ribbons at the Celebration but never a blue until this Thursday morning. Call For A Good Time is off to a good career start as well and Friday morning Rachel Dorris handled this fine entry to reserve for Ricky and Lisa Atnip.

Eight entries made their way in for the second class of the morning, the Novice Youth 6-17 Trail Pleasure Mares and Geldings class and cashing in the top prize in this good class was Cash Me Outside and Lindsay Atkins for Gordon and Kathy Atkins. A Secret Agent Man and Laura Gilliam were on their heels for a strong reserve finish with their fans also cheering proudly. 

Putting forth and honest effort and also moving up several ranks from the Wednesday night Futurity, Honesty was the winning weanling in the class for the youth handlers, ages six to 16, with Jayden Jackson doing a fine job directing the entry to the win in the nine-entry class for Jack Heffington. Lah Tee Dah, who was third in the first class of the morning, also moved up in the ranks and exited with the red streamers with handler Georgia Hazlewood.

Keeping in line with the theme of the morning, which was enthusiasm in the stands and serious competition in the ring, the next class was also filled to the brim with deep talent and it was a battle right to the end. There was a momentary delay after one entry threw a shoe and had to leave the ring, which created even more anticipation about who the judges would put in the winner’s circle. Once tabulations were made it was A Titleist Masterpiece and Blake Cammack taking home the prestigious title with Jennifer Bingham and Dr. Golf giving them a run for their money and finishing as the reserve champions.

Again, a very rowdy bunch made for an exciting Friday morning and the class that won the prize for the most enthusiasm was no doubt the Youth 6-11 class, where a nothing short of amazing group of kids rode their hearts out until the very end. Piloting her entry like a season professional, Maci Ware put on quite a show as she rode Blues For Santana down victory lane. Champion Stables was again represented with the reserve title as another popular team, Benelli and Jackson Cammack walked away wearing the red streamers.

Last year, the Amateur Trail Pleasure (No Professional Training Within 90 Days) class offered one of those special Celebration highlights that will last a lifetime for Allison Thorson, who humbly celebrated Suiza’s 24th Celebration victory and making history while doing so. Well, this year they once again defended their title as they didn’t miss a beat and left with yet another Celebration blue. One of the loudest applauses of the morning came when The Red Light District and Ashtyn Avent were called out in this good class of 10 to pick up that well-deserved red ribbon.

A huge ‘celebration’ came among show-goers, spectators, friends and family members cheering on Dakoda Gardner and Score Diamond In The Ruff, who claimed their first Celebration blue in the Novice Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Novice Trail Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings  Optional Tack class. Looking focused on the task at hand, Landon Coffey and Olive Or Twist cruised in for the reserve finish among the quality field of eight.

Momentum continued as did tradition in more ways than one in the Youth All Day Pleasure class where each entry had a fan club cheering them on every step of the way. Eleven made their way through the gate with one entry excusing herself toward the end of the class. Everyone in the Calsonic was anticipating the judges’ tabulations and when the announcer called I B Smokin Joe and Tanner Johnson out of the lineup the crowd went wild as this win followed up Tanner’s father’s win on the same horse, in the same class for the adults, yesterday. Zane Bullock takes his riding seriously, and he was also reminded of just how talented a rider he is when he was called out as the reserve champion with his horse, Jazz Line. Their fan club was equally enthusiastic. 

Carol Missildine had a great Friday morning and in addition to being dressed in blue, she wore a gorgeous blue ribbon smile out of the ring after besting a good field of six for the second year in a row in the Amateur Park Pleasure Five and Under class with serious contender I Walk The Walk. Sister Milligan also takes her game seriously and she gave the winners a run for their money with her reserve champion, Armed But Kid N.

Pretty in pink and wearing another big blue ribbon smile, Jackie Dean struck gold in the Calsonic Arena Friday morning when she delivered the winning ride with I’m Thunderstruck NDR in the Amateur Trail Pleasure Five and Under class, the tenth class of the morning. Blacklist moved into the red zone but in a very good way and Kimberly Walden was the rider deserving credit for their equally impressive performance in the talent-filled class. 

Baymax B and Brandon Ailshie teamed up for the Celebration blue in the second to last class of the morning, the Rider’s Cup Lite Shod Five and Under Option Tack class, besting a field of seven for owners Graham/Jones while a large round of applause was also given to Patrick Thomas and A Big Reputation who held on tight to their solid career as the reserve champions. 

The final class of the lively morning featured nine pairs vying for top honors in the youth 6-17 five and under trail pleasure class. Showing they know how to seal the Celebration deal, José Phina and Jayden Jackson — for the second time of the session — earned the victory in this class. Stilletto MM and Harper Grider were on the winners’ heels as they closed out the show as the reserve champions.