A slightly overcast sky that cooled things down a bit was a welcomed part of the environment for Celebration show goers Saturday morning, Aug. 24 — and the grounds felt alive and well, as did the action inside the Calsonic Arena. Families, spectators, exhibitors, horses and dogs came together for the first official weekend day of the 81st Celebration. With children out of school and the morning session featuring several classes for youth competitors, it was evident that “kids” were indeed the theme of the day. 

Similar to Friday morning, Saturday morning was a blend of the industry’s future. If it wasn’t youth riders pushing hard in the show ring it was the other babies as several halter classes took place to showcase the horses’ beauty and confirmation.  

Things were off to a slightly light start for the first class of the morning, the Youth 6-11 Trail Pleasure class, which featured four talented teams and it was Labeled A Parolee and Eliza Dekleyn to escape into a prime position on the rail and earn the attention from the crowd and judges’ as winner of the class. Pistol’s Senorita and Jocelyn Laughlin fired off a performance for which they can be proud too, and they were rewarded for their efforts with reserve. 

It was no boys allowed as the young ladies starred in the next class Saturday morning, the Youth 12-17 Western Country Pleasure class, which had nine talented young riders on a mission to make their mark in the 2019 Celebration history book. For the second year in a row and on a different rider, the tried and true Diamond At The Ritz once again earned the bling, this time with Abi Smith capably directing him to the win for co-owner Kimberly Walden. Moving up a notch from their third place finish in this class last year, The Black Out L.D was the fancy entry to follow in the ribbons, with Jayden Jackson continuing to make a really good name for herself at this year’s show by piloting the sharp entry for Jack Heffington.  

Dog Gone Girl Is Mine, by Arms Deal For Real M, is becoming quite familiar with the winner’s circle in her young age. Following up her big win from the Futurity, she did it again Saturday morning in the Yearling Fillies or Geldings class, once again with Kelly Richards Ward handling for John Callicutt, Dr. Roger Richards and Bobby Jones. Better yet, the gorgeous filly came back just a few classes later to earn yet another world title, with Ward again handling, in the Amateur Yearlings class.

Amanda Wright has put many notable babies in the ring in recent years and on this Saturday morning, she led I’m I’m Unforgettable to reserve ribbons in both in hand classes for the Dr. George Wright Family.

Drumming up the excitement for another rowdy morning crowd, the young and spry youth riders were in the spotlight in the Youth 6-11 Western Country Pleasure. A trainer’s daughter and a local gal, there was no stopping Cheyanne Gardner as she played a winning game aboard Score Diamond In The Ruff, continuing what has been a great Celebration for this group. Parole Patrol and Kelsey Wright were on the winners’ heels for the reserve championship in this deep and quality field of nine.

Yearling Colts followed in the agenda and there was nothing stopping Marty Warren and A Mission Impossible, by Walk Time Charlie, as they collected their first Celebration blue, pushing up a notch in the ranks from a previous reserve finish, for owners Steve and Denise Smith. Game Patriot THF and Jackson Latham paired up for the reserve in this nice crop of six for Travis Hale. 

Next up, the young riders again entertained fans and friends who cheered riders on in the Youth 12-17 Western Trail Pleasure class. Just like last year’s big moment when I’m King Bee and Counti Green rode like royals to capture the awesome win, this year proved to be equally as important and memorable for Jayden Jackson, whose smile said it all as she had the thrill of a lifetime directing My Novia down victory lane for Jerry Swallows and Nancy Elliott. Maintaining their top position in this class for the past years, the consistent and talented pair of  Dark Picture Show and Alexa Compton defended their place as the reserve champions in the six-horse class. 

Eight made the gate call for the Youth 6-17 on English Country Pleasure class, which culminated with an impressive performance by The Black Out L.D. with no other than … Jayden Jackson who, made a quick switch from the last winning ride to do it all over in this class truly make 2019 a Celebration to celebrate. This was her third ride of the morning and let’s not forget her second ride on this horse, which had earlier captured a reserve. She’s X’s and O’s is also no stranger to this class or top ribbons, and this year it was Summer Compton in the saddle for the reserve finish for Rick and Della Compton. 

Nine seemed to be the number of the morning, as several classes held their own with solid numbers with nine being the average in each class, including the Youth 12-17 English Trail Pleasure class. While Celebration fans are missing Kathy Zeis’ winning smile inside the ring this year, her beloved equine partners are making her proud as are the catch-riders who are gratefully enjoying the experience of riding such great horses, including Ashley Gray. On Saturday morning, Gray geared up in red and rode hard to capture the blue on board Etta James By TJB, the special horse that never misses a beat. After missing out last year, A Rain Delay and Makenna Dempsey returned to the reserve position for Dempsey and Gleghorn.

The young and talented equestrians were really in the spotlight as two battled it out for the positions in the Youth 6-17 Park Performance class, which closed out the show Saturday morning. Last year, Colton Trimble put on a show for a very respectable reserve finish and this year he was determined to make that a winning finish. Riding like a seasoned pro, he directed Dulcinea to the blue for co-owners Edwin and Chris Hutchinson while another seasoned rider, Addie Harris, had Lilly Waites poised and polished for the reserve ribbon.