by Sarah Smith


SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – On Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 the 78th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration continued inside the famous “Celebration Oval”. It was the first day without morning classes. In Celebration fashion, announcer Mark Farrar welcomed Ranger T. Walker, the official flag horse to the ring promptly at 7 p.m. Chris Bobo, Nathan Clark, Ray Gilmer, Sam Sorrell and Leigh Stuart took their places in center ring to mark the cards for the evening. Larry Bright entertained on his organ and photographer Shane Shiflet was busy catching all the nights moments with his camera.

Starting the night was a large class of youngsters in the Two-Year-Old Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, Optional Tack, Riders’ Cup class. Earning her second world title of the show was Ms. Understood and trainer David Mast. Ms. Understood carried owner Jamie Noe to the winner’s circle on Wednesday morning. Reserve honors went to Checkpoint Charlie and Laurie Toone for Tamara Hader. This is the second reserve world championship for the youngster this week. Rounding out the top three was Hashtag and Joe Lester for WhitLei Green. Hastag earned a reserve award earlier in the week with Green.

Owner-Amateur Rider on Walking Mares or Geldings, Five Years & Over, Canter were next to work for the judges. Picking her fourth blue of the season, She’s Limitless carried Taylor Walters to the winner’s circle. This duo is the reigning world grand champions in the division. Walking their way to the red award was Lord Stanley and Allison Thorson. This was the first outing for the team who won this class in 2015. Country And Famous and Miles Irby were third in the class for Rick and Marla Lovett.

The A Division of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings invited 11 entries to vie for all the honors. Airborne Hero and Heidi McWilliams were victorious in the class. Airborne Hero was bred and raised by Heidi and the late Jim McWilliams. He is now a two-time world champion after also winning the open two-year-old class with Scott Beaty. Reserve honors went to Rosz Red Ritz and David Sisk for Andrew Sisk. This was the second outing for the young talent who is sired by He’s Puttin’ On The Ritz and out of a Jose’ Jose’ mare. Also a homegrown talent, Don’t Push Me Jose’ and Patti Pollack rounded out the top three.

Curly Lambeau and Jacob Baum rode to the winner’s circle in the B Division of Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings. Owned by Lisa Baum, Curly Lambeau is sired by The Coach and is out of a Generator’s Silver Dollar mare. Molly Lou Melon and Diana Cruse earned the reserve world title. Molly Lou Melon was crowned a world champion with Casey Wright on the open division of the Two-Year-Old Mares. Rounding out the top three was Millenium’s Lovely Lady and Jennifer Brown Lee.

The professional took the track next in the Park Performance Walking Horses, Five Years & Over, Riders’ Cup class. We’re Jammin’ The Blues and John Allan Callaway were victorious for Don and George-Ann Pratt. The champion has early season wins at the National Trainers’ Show and the Columbia Spring Jubilee before picking up his third world championship. Drop A Line and RM Kellett earned the red award for Benedict, Teel & Butler, his second reserve of the show. Third went to mult-titled The Moonshine Man and Philip Trimble for Bob Cummingham.

Making their way out of the lineup and into the winner’s circle in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Ponies, Mares or Geldings was He’s The Lady’s Man with Maisie McSwain aboard. The team remains undefeated this season with other wins at the National Trainers’ Show, Columbia Spring Jubilee and Woodbury Lions Club shows. Second went to The Royal Dollar and Stacy Blackburn. Alex Blackburn has shown the champion most of the season. After winning the 15.2 & Under Mares class with Justin Harris on Monday night, A Bit Of Change carried Dee Yoder to the yellow streamer in the class.

The Show Pleasure Walking Stallions, a Riders’ Cup class saw He’s Starbucks and John Allan Callaway make the victory pass for Bud and Suzanne Moore. With the approval of all five judges, He’s Starbucks repeated his 2015 win in the class. The red streamer went to Ironwork’s Tin Man and Chad Way for Ray Jones Trucking. Ironwork’s Tin Man, a classic horse had two wins earlier in the season. Third went to the newly crowned Reserve World Grand Champion Amateur Show Pleasure Stallion, Mariachi and RM Kellett for Betty Corlew.

Earning her third world championship and with a unanimous vote from the judging panel, Etta James By TJB carried Kathy Zeis down victory lane. Reserve went to Labeled A Parolee and Lindy Holt. Katie Dishman won on the talent earlier in the week. Third place honors went to The Great Sensation and Bob Lawrence.
The A division of Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions was next to impress the judges. The brand new team of Maroon 5 and Dr. Jim Baum earned the top honors for Luke Baum. Maroon 5 was victorious twice before the Celebration with former owner Ruth Logsdon. Jamaica Gin and Jannie Chapman picked up the second award. Rounding out the top three was Flying High CC and Sheryl Crawford.

After wins at the Mississippi Charity, Spring Fun Show and Money Tree Classic, Hey Tomcat and Carol Lackey are now unanimous world champions in the B Division of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions. The duo also found themselves in the winner’s circle in 2015 with a world title in the Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallions. Sister Milligan was thrilled when her number was called as reserve world champions aboard It’s High Maintenance. Third went to Survey Says and Diana Cruse.

Next on the schedule was the class for Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings, 15.2 & Under. Earning the ultimate title was I’m Stan The Man and Dr. Lynda Brogdon. The team topped the class in 2014 and with this win retired the Dr. J. Daniel Bateman Memorial Challenge Trophy. Reserve went to An American Threat and Barbara Corbett for Ridgemont Farms, Barbara Corbett and Lynn Hickok. An American Threat earned a world title with Bill Callaway on Thursday night. Third went to Sapphire Gin and Dru McCormick.
The Young Trainers, 35 Years & Under, on Walking Stallions, Riders’ Cup was won by Absolute Proof and Bill Callaway for Gregory Keyser. Absolute Proof and Bill Callaway won this class in 2009, 2011, 2012 and again in 2013. Reserve went to Deal Me Aces and Jeff Laughlin for Jannie Chapman. Swing Batter Batter Swing was third with trainer Justin Harris for Beth Beasley.

The final class of the evening was for the Owner-Amateur Gentleman Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings. Riding out of the novice division was Master Of The Ritz and Jay Mitchell. The team won at the WHAA Summer Classic and the Roger Latham Memorial Horse Shows. Chase Tipton rode Little Miss Intimidator to the reserve award. Third went to I’m Tebo and Chris Mills for Ann and Chris Mills.