By Mark McGee

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The TWHBEA National Futurity kicked off in patriotic fashion Wednesday night as Keegan Meadows and Power Force presented the American flag  to open the 25-class schedule in Calsonic Arena.

Jack Kwok from Delaware, Ohio gave the invocation followed by a stellar singing of the National Anthem by Leah Boyd from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Announcer Dallas Eubanks kept the Calsonic Arena crowd informed during the evening as the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse was on display. J. Brantley from Knoxville, Tennessee was the organist.

Five entries answered the gate call for the first class of the evening, Mare & Foal. Jose’s Wired Lady and Trust Fund Baby, led by Carla Hurley and Beverly Carter, claimed the blue for Marilyn Carter of Scottsville, Kentucky. I’m Medusa and Just Slip Out The Bak Jak won reserve honors with Emery Sims and owner Lynn Womack at the lead. The third tie was Margarita Miracle and Cash Kid presented by Marty Warren and Cindy Beech for owner Denise Smith.

Pandemic, appropriately named for our times, was first among eight entries in the Amateur Two & Three-Year-Old Country Pleasure class with Jennifer Bingham aboard. Pandemic, who placed third in the Owner-Amateur Two-Year-Old Country Pleasure class during the Celebration morning session, is owned by the partnership of Bingham and Kristi Smith of Scottsville, Kentucky. Reserve went to Destiny’s Child ND with Rachel Teague in the saddle for Sinden and Teague. It’s A Knight To Remember took third for owner-rider Lisa Fisher from Franklin, Kentucky.

The Darrah Weanlings featured four entries with Lemon Drop Martini walking to the blue and the floral horseshoe with exhibitor Leighanne Tibbs for owner Ralph Pinner from Senatobia, Mississippi. The red streamer was presented  to Hotty Toddy Gosh A’ Mighty, directed by owner Georgia Hazelwood. The third place winner was Tombstone Territory, shown by Chris Richards for Bobby Joe Jones.

The Riders' Cup Two & Three-Year-Old Model class showcased seven entries. Walking away with the blue and the floral horseshoe unanimously was Dog Gone Girl Is Mine, exhibited by Robert Nelms for Lisa Teel of Fayetteville, Tennessee. Game Of Gin Rummy, guided by Jeff Laughlin for owner Vickie Penick, was second. The third award was presented to Godspeed and Allison Thorson for ThorSports, Inc.

A trio of entries competed in the Yearling Colts class. Owner Lisa Teel and exhibitor Robert Nelms made it back-to-back blues with Everybody Calls Me Sir taking the floral horseshoe. Miracle Daddy was directed to second by Marty Warren for owners Denise and Steve Smith. Third was Daddy’s Last Dime DH, shown by Bobby Richards for Dr. Donnie Headrick.

The Broodmares In Hand class attracted two entries. Margarita Miracle  was guided to the floral horseshoe by Marty Warren for owner Denise Smith of Brentwood, Tennessee. Reserve honors went to Charlie’ A Walkin’ Angel, presented by Leighanne Tibbs for owner Ralph Pinner. Judging the broodmares were Paige Edwards, Charles Gleghorn, Tommy Grider, David Landrum and Dr. Andrew Sisk.

Sideways, sired by Master Of Jazz out of I Walk A Fine Line, was the winner in the Weanling Colts with 13 entries. Amanda Wright guided the winner for owner Dr. George Wright of Old Hickory, Tennessee. The pair left the ring to the strains of She Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby. The reserve ribbon was given to Redd Burns, exhibited by Robert Nelms for owner Robbie Spiller. I’m Bruno Mars tied third with handler Claire Hankins for owner Davany Bullock. 

Five entries competed  in the Model Yearling class. Catherine Zeta Jones was led to a unanimous first place by Robert Nelms for Bobby Joe Jones and Dr. Roger Richards from Bell Buckle and Manchester, Tennessee. Miracle Daddy and Marty Warren finished second for owners Denise and Steve Smith. Chattahoochee Charlie and Jackson Latham were third for owners Kimberly and Perry Walden.

RGB, ridden by Ryan Blackburn, tied first for owner Molly Smith of Manchester, Kentucky in the Two-Year-Old Mares class. A total of eight top entries were presented. Honor’s Uptown Girl and Casey Wright placed second for owner Russell W. Ingram. I’m A Dixie Diva and Tyler Baucom took home a yellow ribbon for owner Gail Walling.

Five entries entered the ring for the Fall Weanlings class. Steampunk Gin was directed to the floral horseshoe by Robert Nelms for owner Chad Hillis of Beech Grove, Tennessee. A Street Boss, with handler Marty Warren, earned second for owner Denise Smith. Doing My Thang was third with Leighanne Tibbs exhibiting for Buddy Wilhelm.

The Amateur Two & Three- Year-Old Trail Pleasure class attracted six entries. Into The Badlands was the winner with Tim Brooks riding for the partnership of Gardner, Kalosis and Brooks. Scarlett O’Hara TS was reserve with Rachel Teague aboard for Terri Smith. Third place went to 401K ridden by Shelton Baccarack for owner Laurie Toone.

The Weanling Fillies class welcomed 15 well-behaved youngsters to the ring. Charlie’s Sweetheart, sired by Walk Time Charlie, was led to first place by Jaron Dotson for owner Sam Moss. She’s Cartier was a jewel in second place for exhibitor Robert Nelms and owner Jack Heffington. Josie And The Pussycats received third for handler Lynn Womack and the partnership of Jones, Richards and Womack.

Nine entries answered the call for the Two-Year-Old Stallions & Geldings class. Casey Wright rode a lively I Am Rip to first place for owners Debbie and Bill Woods of Lexington, Tennessee. Honor And Remember placed reserve with Dan Waddell in the stirrups for Kim Lewis. Stroke and Rico Bravo were third for the partnership of Kilgore and Wood.

Culturally Contravertual sent Robert Nelms to the winner’s circle for owner Marshal Miller and Tony Edwards, and most fans searching for the dictionaries on their mobile phones in the Darrah Yearlings class. Second place among the seven entries was JoJo’s Mojo with handler Bobby Richards for Dr. Donald Headrick. Ram Jam CTF tied third with Hunter Fikes as the handler for the partnership of Lauren Williams and Fikes.

The Two and Three-Year-Old Trail Pleasure class had six entries. Jose’s Twist oOf Gin took first place with B.J. Richards in the saddle for S&P LLC. Mucho Macho Man was ridden to second by Laurie Toone for Sudie Reed. Taking the yellow streamer was Alley Oops with Mackenzie Morgan aboard for Kaye Dempsey.

I Am Princess Margaret, sired by I Am Jose’, was crowned the winner among five entries in Yearling Fillies class. Chris Richards guided the winner for the partnership of Jones and Richards. Walkin’ The Wild Side placed reserve with Amanda Wright for owner Dr. George Wright. French Open and Marty Warren walked away with third for Denise and Steve Smith.

He’s Undisputed lived up to his name as the unanimous winner of the Two and Three-Year-Old Park Performance class. Jeff Laughlin rode for owner Vickie Penick of Waltersboro, South Carolina. I’m On Jose’s Team placed reserve with R.M. Kellett on board for Kay Chatterton. The yellow streamer was presented to Ritz’s Nueva Moneda with Philip Trimble in the saddle for Michelle and Ronnie Clark.

Side Effects earned rider Maggie Moore a first place for the partnership of Leek and Moore from Murfreesboro, Tennessee in the Amateur Two & Three-Year-Old All Day Pleasure. The reserve award was won by He’s True Blue with Sarah Beth Thomas riding for Sheila and Gary McDowell. Black Betty RR was third for owner-rider Sophia Borg.

She’s Stellar was exactly that for handler Robert Nelms and owners Teel, Washburn and Pittman of Fayetteville and Shelbyville, Tennessee in Yearling Fillies class. Rounding out the results in the three-entry class were Hey Josephine guided to second by Roger Richards, Jr. for owners Jones and Richards and May May’s Dreamboat in third with B.J Richards for owner Dr. Donnie Headrick.

The Three- Year-Old Mares class featured four entries. Jimmy McConnell was in the winner’s circle with a unanimous tie on Charlie’s Ritzy Lady for owner William Bean of Tomball, Texas. Reserve went to Kayla Baucom and Oh Susannah for owner John Callicutt. Third was claimed by Philip Trimble aboard Charlize for Erin O’ Callaghan. 

Seven entries competed for the floral horseshoe in the Yearling Colts class. Collusion, sired by Walk Time Charlie, was first for the partnership of Jones and Richards of Manchester, Tennessee. Chris Richards was the handler. Everybody Calls Me Sir got the call for second place. Robert Nelms guided the entry for Lisa Teel. Time For Honors received third with Ronald Morton guiding for Mariella Fugger.

Hard Eight, ridden by Lake Weaver for MW Enterprises of Brentwood, Tennessee, was the top team in the Two-and-Three- Year-Old Show Pleasure class. The reserve award was earned by Jet Black Patriot THF with Bryan Barnhill aboard for Greg Kiser. Final Answer HG was third with R.M. Kellett in the saddle for Tony Wayne Roberts.

The Three-Year-Old Stallions & Geldings class proved to be an exciting finale for the evening with 14 talented entries. The Yellowstone, ridden by Jamie Lawrence for Kay Easterling, rode to the floral horseshoe. Jose’ Hard Cold Facts finished with the reserve title with Casey Wright in the stirrups for Billy and Debbie Woods. A Ringmaster closed out the top three awards with Herbert Derickson aboard for Sheila and Winky Groover.