Posted August 31, 2001
Well, it all came down to this. Eight days and seven nights of fierce competition, and with one class a world grand champion of a division would be crowned. Those tenacious 15.2 horses and the three-year-olds highlighted the evening and our youngest riders and plantation entries complemented the night’s events.

If you wanted to know what walking horses were all about, the next class was for you. All week long, the 15.2 horses have excited the crowd and the noise has been voluminous.

The first championship night began with the 15.2 and Under Walking Horse World Grand Championship class. Responding to the calls of judge Hand, nine entries entered the ring full of fire and determination. They walked as though they were 17 hands tall.

The class was greeted by rain as they came on to the track but it stopped as soon as the class began. Nine of the best the industry had to offer broke into the final running walk and the crowd exploded, a great horse and a grand class. What a way to start the evening!

The honors, the blue ribbon, the floral horseshoe and that thrilling spotlight ride went to Cash In My Stock and Brett Boyd for Charles and Joy Gleghorn. Cash In My Stock posted wins at the Fun Show and Bethesda this year. Pushing close behind was Pushers American Patriot and Blake Sims for the Mike Chiappari family of Santa Rosa, Calif. Third place was taken by Juke Walkin’ and Knox Blackburn for the Randall Baskin family of Franklin, Tenn. Juke Walkin is a former World Grand Champion in this division and reserve World Grand Champion last year. Two challenge trophies accompanied the winners take, the Ray Tenpenny Memorial Challenge trophy and the Dan Arnold Memorial Challenge trophy.

The young riders and their walking ponies were called to perform by Hankins. The Owner-Amateur Youth Riders on Walking Ponies, 60” and Under Specialty, World Grand Championship showcased the talents of youth riders. All 18 entries handled their horses like pros and displayed a demeanor beyond their years.

Four challenge trophies were donated in addition to the floral horseshoe. Taking that unforgettable spotlight ride and wearing that tri-color ribbon was Pushover’s Citation and Miles Irby for Irby and Corlew of Mobile, Al and Adams, Tenn. Pushover’s Citation also won the preliminary class earlier in the week. Never shying away from competition. Billy Stanfill’s entry, The Skywalk, ridden by Seth Stanfill walked away with the reserve title. Justin Harney rode a classic horse to capture third place. Royal’s Dark Bum is owned by the John Harney family.

The youngest riders appeared for the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 11 Years and Under, on Walking Mares or Geldings, World Grand Championship. Twenty-one of the 23 on the class sheet responded to Martin’s call. Smaller but no less qualified, they gave the crowd something to holler about. The class was reduced to 14 riders who took to the rail for the workout, riding hard for the title of World Grand Champion. One rider asked for permission to be excused.

Winning in style with a unanimous decision and now carrying the title of World Grand Champion was Jerry Maguire and Chelsea Cook for Baylee and Chelsea Cook of Lewisburg, Tenn. Putting in a fine ride for reserve was This Is It and Lindsey Landrum for Bill & Betty Landrum of Griffin, Calif. North Carolina owners, Overcash and Kincaid own the third place horse, Pushin The Limits with Madison Holloway up.

Smoothly walking in were the Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod vying for the World Grand Championship. All nine entries answered Tuck’s call as they traversed the ring. It was easy to see why the horses and riders had qualified. It was a class full of quality entries and the judges were not in an enviable position. As in all World Grand Championship classes, everyone had a right to boast about their ribbon.

But the spotlight is reserved for only one horse and rider. Two challenge trophies, the tri-color ribbon and the floral horseshoe were claimed for the third time by Sun’s Top Gold and Craig Swaggerty for Enchanted Gait Stables of Saratoga Springs, Ut. With this win they retired two challenge trophies, The Steve Merrill and Edgar D. Hodge Memorial Challenge trophy and The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitor’s Association Challenge trophy. A big win for this top team! Reserve was captured by Rambo’s Velvet Shadow and Charles Peters. This team won two blues prior to this class. A good ride was made by Go Mr. Saturday Nite Sam and Michelle Hodne for third.

An intermission was taken to read the names of all those who have passed away during the year. Rochelle Snelling gave a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” as Rev. Mark Ashley read. This is a new tradition that the Celebration initiated in 2001 due to many people’s request to remember a loved one at this event.

The very best of those 2001 babies came to Carpenter’s gate call. Twelve of the thirteen listed were presented for judging. The fine-looking class would be the apple of any mama’s eye. How do they get those kids to behave that well?

It was Fame’s Houdini and Chris Richards who bested the field of 12 entries. Houdini had an undefeated season with wins at Woodbury, Belfast, Bethesda, Cornersville, Great Strides, and the Futurity. Quite a record. The Robbie Biggs family owns the entry. Xtreme Command and handler, Stan Thomas, claimed reserve in the fine class for Kim Bailey of Lynchburg, Tenn. Keith Reed and Tennessee Jazz walked up for third place. That makes two entries out of three for the Robbie Biggs family.

Whoa now! The Western Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod, World Grand Championship was coming in to Hand’s call. Six of 9 entries entered the ring. Cowboy hats, flashy attire and shining silver on the tack made this an attractive class. It wasn’t difficult to imagine yourself riding on the trail or taking a Sunday afternoon ride; the easy going glide and gentle head shake made for a comfortable ride. It all looks so easy, but the horses and riders have competed in hard fought classes since a week ago Wednesday.

Making the spotlight ride for the third time was Trish Wooten and Genius Dixie Chick. They had already captured three blues and a reserve earlier. The tri-color seemed to be their color. Californian, Sheila Mack-Kyle owns the three time World Grand Champion. Jasmin Magic again tied in the reserve position for the second year. Leigh Bennett rode for Dwight & Elizabeth Ottman of Ownesboro, Ky. Laurie Toone and Fashion’s Cover Girl rode to the third place title for Pat Carpinito-Stout of Cookville, Tenn.

Coin Maker and Suzanne Littell rode away with the roses in the Amateur Show Pleasure, Specialty World Grand Championship. That’s three years in a row. Bud Moore and Suzanne Littell of Catherine, Al own the entry. Finishing as they did last year, was The Great Escape and Paula Sanders, who now owns the entry. Slippin' Around and Scored and Sheron Richmond made a god ride for Jim & Sheron Richmond of Crockett, Texas. All of the top three entries have had enviable show records this season.

Didn’t get enough of those 15.2 horses? The next class was the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, 15.2 and Under, Specialty, World Grand Championship, class 126. Fourteen of 15 entries made the gate call. The horses exploded into the running walk as the riders asked for just a little more from their mounts. As usual, the class had the top performers in the industry and calling the class was no small task. The crowd was in it now as they witnessed the next entry to win the title...somewhere in the pack.

What could be better than hearing your number called for that spotlight ride? Generator’s Man of Magic and William Johnson not only rode for the tri color ribbon but retired three challenge trophies. Final’s Eb Tide and Sherri Pollack made a good ride for the reserve title. S & P, LLC own the entry. Georgia entry, Olympic’s Energizer and Becky May were close behind for third.

The crowd was on it’s feet in anticipation of the three-year-old entry into the big oval. Twenty of 22 entries made the “grand” entrance, announcing the Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship, Class 127. Fans thought it would be a great evening, but they got even more than expected. Two father-son teams were competing in this class. Sammy and Jason Day and Allan and John Allan Callaway.

The judges had another hard way to go and they announced a workout. The field was reduced to the remaining 12 entries. As they went into the running walk the roar of the crowed was thunderous! The last running walk looked like the stake class! If the crowd could have yelled any louder, they did it this time. A standing ovation was given to the entries as they prepared to line up.

A well deserved win for the title of world grand champion went to Chicago and Link Webb for Roger and Patti Hainer of Logan, West Virginia. Chicago has had a great season and it now culminated in the spotlight ride and the roses. The Black Night Shade and Jimmy McConnell were a good reserve for Mr. & Mrs. Tom Waite of Milton, Fl. Jason Day showed dad how it was done when he and The Ritz claimed third place honors.

It was 10:30 pm and all was well. After Thursday night, it’s hard to believe that this is only a warm up for Saturday. It made you think that every night was Saturday night!