Posted August 26, 2001

by Carole Hargett

It was no secret what everyone came to see. The “big boys” came to give notice of their intention to win the World Grand Championship. The stands quickly filled for the first Saturday night. Five classes were split in this session, which gave the fans plenty to cheer about. Add the two-year-old mares and the novice riders and the night was action-packed! For those who are keeping track of’s one more. The attendance record was shattered for the third night in a row. The gate receipts showed 23,260 people passed through the entrances.

The youth riders again started the evening off with a bang. Class 64, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings, Specialty, Riders 15-17 Year, got the crowd warmed up. Tuck called the class of 22 to show. Thirty entries were eligible. The young riders rode with finesse and style with their eyes on the world grand championship competition to come.

Gen’s Fire N Ice christened the winner’s circle, earning his 33rd Celebration blue ribbon. Quite a record. With Stephanie Gordon aboard, Gen’s Fire N Ice retired two trophies, the Vic Thompson Memorial Challenge Trophy and the N.B. Hardeman Memorial Challenge trophy. A fine performance by Tennessee Gen and Bill Callaway gave them the red ribbon. The third tie was awarded to Our First Impression and Justin Harney.

Two presentations were made before the next class entered the ring. Mr. and Mrs. Gary Brewington were acknowledged for their long time service to the Celebration. Nancy Lynn Beech, Youth Division director, presented the public speaking awards to four winning youth participants. They were Keri Blair, Cole Carmichael, Jessica Evans, and Alee Lynch.

The novice division had ample representation; it was the first split class of the evening--a three way split. Division A of the Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings, Specialty began at Hand’s call. Twenty-six hard riding ladies of 33 listed, entered for the task at hand. A workout was called as the class began.

It was a tough call for the judges but they selected 15 numbers to vie for the honors. The ladies strategically positioned themselves around the ring and went to work. “Unforgettable” was the tune as the class was tied. It was just that. The hard work paid off for Holly Puckett and Ya Maka Me Crazy. Barbara Uttermark and Country Dancer had an unforgettable ride to carry away the red ribbon for the reserve tie. Katie Dempsey and Overload rode to the third place tie.

The action wasn’t over yet...oh no...there were two more divisions to go. Before the classes resumed, the 2001 SCHS Golden Eagelettes Basketball Team was honored. Each member received ribbons and Coach Insell was presented with golf clubs and bag... something to keep him busy in his spare time. This remarkable team was recognized as 6th in national rankings.

Division B opened with 22 of 33 entries answering the gate call. The ladies rode hard, making their intentions known to fellow competitors. The crowd applauded their appreciation as the exhibitors rounded the track.

As the judges deliberated, Mark McGee, Editor of the Shelbyville Gazette was recognized for his 20 years of service. McGee has won many prestigious awards for his work. He has covered the Celebration for all those years. McGee was given a cake to mark the that he must cut thin to share with the west end, the announcer said. Hands popped up everywhere as west end fans agreed.

Back In Style and Martha Neff made a stylish victory pass as their blue ribbon rippled in the breeze. Jane Sandlin and Recall’s Dust rode to the reserve tie with third place entry, Belle Whatling and Tina Graves close behind.

Tradition is what the Celebration is all about and tonight traditions continued. The back number, 1955, of the 2000 world grand champion rider, Ray Gilmer, was retired and entered in the history books. Another tradition is the “battle of the ends”. The four sections of the arena participate for the title of loudest bunch in the group. Last night a two side workout was requested as the east and west end vied for the loudest section title...a tradition of serious proportions.

What could be any better than having two divisions? Answer: three-the C division! Twenty-six mares and their ladies entered the ring of the 31 listed. Competition was underway but the judges thought it was a little too tough to call. Question: What do you do with that many ladies vying for the blue? Ask anyone who came to see the Thursday and Friday night performances. (Hint) Begins with a “W”. That’s right! Workout. Larry Bright knew how to play ‘em. “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” aptly described the riders hope that this was their lucky night.

A time out preceded the selection of entries. The field was narrowed to 14 and the real work began. The novice division has grown to such proportions that the Celebration provided a show in October just for novice competitors.

The lucky win went to Kathy Zeis and Threatability. That blue ribbon brought Threatability’s ribbon count to two, earning a reserve tie earlier. Beam’s Star of Midnight and Tina Graves made a good ride for the red ribbon tie. Say My Name heard the announcer call his name as rider Jill Zamora rode off with the third place ribbon.

Cowboy up! The Western Park Pleasure Walking Horses, class 66, was called to the gate by Martin. Eighteen entries glided into the ring, five entries did not show. One entry was asked to park in and was excused. With silver shining on the tack and colorful attire, the western exhibitors were on the reverse. The entries were asked to canter, then to halt, a class requirement. Seventeen entries lined up and were reviewed; each rider backed their horse at the judge’s request. It was time to mark the cards and award the trophy and ribbon. Making a happy trail to the winner’s circle was Strike It Rich and Willie Cook, Jr for their second blue. Bad News Gold Hard Cash and Trish Wooten took home their second ribbon, this time color was red. Cash Storm and Wayne Westbrook took third, making it their second ribbon of the Celebration.

Not all the action was on the track. The crowd was treated to a high flying exhibition by the Skyriders on the trampoline. This high-flying duo rose to heights of 26 feet. With lights turned down and the crowd cheering, they whirled the hula hoop and skateboard while bouncing to the beat of the music.

Tuck called Division A of the Two-Year-Old Walking Mares on to the track. Thirty-seven young horses of the 66 listed responded. When lined up side by side, the entries filled half the track. Five entries asked to be excused. Fifteen remaining entries slowly found their way onto the track during the time out. Cashing in on an across the board decision was The Lady of Cash and Alan Callaway for the blue ribbon honors. Tenderoni was tough enough to carry away the reserve award with Jimmy McConnell in the irons. The Randall Baskin family’s entry, Major Promise was third ridden by Knox Blackburn.

Division B proceeded through the gate as the youth judging team members and scholarship recipients were announced. The Top Gun team and Robertson County team were recognized and a trophy given in memory of David Bledsoe for his many years of providing horses for the judging clinics and competition.

The ring again filled to near capacity when 35 entries presented themselves to Carpenter, who will perform call judge duties. Of the nine numbers initially called to park in, eight more were added for the final workout. Three entries asked for permission to leave and it was granted.

It is rare that one trainer walks away with a win in both divisions of a class, but Allan Callaway accomplished that feat as he rode Liz Claiborne to the championship blue. Don and Lucky Collins own the entry. Larry Edwards and Bright Star’s Cash Flo made a bright ride to receive their red ribbon. Busting out for that yellow ribbon was Bustin Loose in Dixie and Bill Cantrell.

The first grand championship class was now underway. The Walking Yearling World Grand Championship, class 68, opened the gate to greet 15 of the industry’s most promising young stars. The yearlings presented here qualified in Celebration and National Futurity preliminaries held earlier in the week.

The Scott Edwards Memorial Challenge trophy, the Claude Crowley Memorial Challenge trophy and the Jack Stafford Challenge trophy, ribbons and honors go to Your Wish My Command. Bobby Richards handles this entry. Roger Richards, owner, retires the Claude Crowley Memorial Challenge trophy by winning in 1998, 1999, and now 2001. Your Wish My Command also won two blues on Saturday morning in back to back classes. Just off a win was Harlinsdale Farm entry, A Classic Heart Throb with Roger Richards handling the entry. It was yes, yes, for Si Si Senor and Robert Nelms to walk away with the third tie.

The Skyriders were back to the center ring with their daredevil feats. The fans roared their enthusiastic approval.

A split class was next. Division A of the Owner-Amateur Novice Gentlemen Riders on Novice Walking Stallions, Specialty opened its gate to 17 of 31 eligible entries. Hankins called the class. Taking the blue with them as they exited the ring was Hunter Rouse and Generator’s Old Gold. The novice status was left behind. Tracey Gunter and Cash’s Old Glory rode to a good reserve. Kodachrome and Thomas Beard claimed the third place honors. Youth Photo/Art/Essay award winners were presented with ribbons and trophies by Nancy Lynn Beech, on behalf of the TWHBEA. An intermission was taken to present the 2001 Celebration Queen and first runner-up.

The call came for the Walking Stallions, Five Years and Over, Over 15.2 to make their appearance. The gate opened and 15 veterans of the show ring exploded on to the track. With each round, the horses and riders drew inspiration from the fans boisterous cheering and applause. Three challenge trophies were given in addition to the ribbons and awards: the Ebony’s Time Around and Mr. & Mrs. Maning Jones Memorial Challenge trophy, the S.P. “Pete” Anderson Memorial Challenge trophy, and the Marvin Wilson Memorial Challenge trophy. No secret to the crowd assembled, Pride’s Jubilee Encore and Allan Callaway got the judges nod for the honors. Dennis, Pedigo and Terry are the owners. Pushover’s Powerstroke and Ronnie Spears were another favorite team as they pushed over the competition for the reserve tie. Glen and Vergie Crutchfield of Memphis, Tenn. own the entry. Generator’s Champion and David Landrum claimed third tie for the Tony Redmon family.

Division B was welcomed into the ring by standing fans clapping to the traditional flat-walk boogie. Carpenter called the 13 horse class to the gate and the deep walking, leg waving stallions responded. There’s nothing like being in Shelbyville on the first Saturday and staying for the last class. Looking forward to the last Saturday night, and walking toward that goal, was Stonecutter and Link Webb for Castleman and Kilgore. Pusher’s High Voltage and Mickey McCormick made a good ride for reserve for Beckie Hicks. Third tie and yellow ribbon was awarded to Pusher’s Backstreet Boy and Chad Baucom for Gene and Bonnie Davis.

What a night! The midnight hour was at hand and the fans left with a taste of the excitement to come next week. After a restful Sunday morning, the Auxiliary Dog Show gets underway.