By Mark McGee 

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Saturday night was all right for walking as some of the top talent in the industry competed at the 82nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration at Maverick Arena. 

As fans made their way to their seats Bachman Turner Overdrive’s 1974 hit You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet was playing in center ring giving a musical hint as to what was ahead in the 15 classes.

Trainer Herbert Derickson sang an impressive rendition of the National Anthem as Ronnie Spears and flag horse White Diamond Dollar stood at attention.

A newer tradition also was observed with Celebration “Hat Night” prior to the start of the class schedule. Judges Rollie Beard, Ross Campbell, Mike Hilley, Sam Sorrell and Leigh Stuart all wore hats to support the event. 
Jamie Dailey, a Grand Ole Opry member since 2017, was a special visitor. He is part of the duo of Dailey and Vincent.

A small, but talented class of six entries started the night off on a strong note with four different horses receiving first place votes in the Owner-Amateur Ladies on Geldings, Section A. Lisa Baum, from Shelbyville, Tennessee, and A Pink Floyd made the world champion ride. It was the first blue of the season for the 2016 and 2015 world champion. Reservation On Line was reserve with Gayle Holcomb, while Dollar’s Bright Star and Jannie Chapman were third.

Eleven entries answered the gate call for the Owner-Amateur Ladies on Geldings, Section B. Manning scored with Taylor Walters riding for owner Kelsey Andrews from Rancho Mirage, California. Again, four different geldings received first place votes. It was the second first place of 2020 for the 2018 and 2017 world champion. Flying High CC and Sheryl Crawford rode away with a red streamer for the partnership of Crawford and McSwain. Nip Of Gin and Dee Broom Yoder claimed the yellow ribbon for owner Charles Yoder.

Charlie’s Ritzy Lady and Jimmy McConnell were the top selection among 12 entries in Three-Year-Old Walking Mares, Section A. It was the fourth blue of the season for owners Karen and Bill Bean from Tomball, Texas and the third straight with McConnell is the saddle including the TWHBEA National Futurity. A First Lady and John Allan Callaway were second for Lisa Baum. Driftaway left the ring with a yellow ribbon for owner Joyce Meadows.

The Three-Year-Old Walking Mares, Section B attracted nine entries. Wilma LJ and Casey Wright earned the unanimous approval of the judges for the world championship title for Sam McDaniel of Columbia, Tennessee. It was the third blue in a row this show season for the team. I’m Naomi and Bill Callaway were second for S&P LLC. Anomaly and Rico Bravo were awarded third for Jim Flack.

Originally nine entries made the big oval for the Five Years & Under Western Trail Pleasure class, but only eight stayed for final judging. Habanero Picante was awarded the world championship with Joe Lester in the irons for Kimberly and Perry Walden of Shelbyville, Tennessee. It was the fifth blue of 2020 for Habanero Picante and the third this Celebration with earlier wins on Thursday and Friday. Self Made Money and Jessica Hlebak received the second award for owner Jack Pirkle. Laurie Toone and Mr. Bentley were third for owner Ashley Wadsworth. 

Easily the largest class of the night, 20 entries made the gate call for the Owner-Amateur Novice Youth 12-17 on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings with 18 left for final judging. Chet Lowman is a Celebration novice no longer with a world championship ride aboard Lightning In A Bottle CRL for Evie Lowman of Decatur, Alabama. Chris Kyle and Zayne Bachman picked up the red ribbon and I Am June Cash TCH earned a yellow ribbon with Jake Jeffers in the stirrups.

Our Girl Charlie and Tyler Baucom were selected from 14 entries to make the world championship ride in the Two-Year-Old Walking Mares, Section A for owner Tara Rhoades of China Grove, North Carolina. The team is undefeated in three outings in 2020. A Lady’s Honor and John Allan Callaway placed second for owner Kim Leonard. A yellow ribbon went to C Me Walk And Shake and Charlie Green for Sister Milligan.

Jimmy McConnell rode to his second world championship of the night taking Tammy Jones to the top of 13 entries in the Two-Year-Old Walking Mares, Section B. Noel Botsch from Oak Ridge, Missouri, is the proud owner. It was the third win this season and the first with McConnell in the saddle. Lady Elle was guided to reserve by Tyler Baucom for Kelly Manis. Dim The Lights and Herbert Derickson tied third for Pat and Steve Wilson.

Julia Glidewell and Skywalk’s Threat were a popular crowd choice as the top selection among six entries in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Ponies, Stallions class. Michelle Glidewell from Corinth, Mississippi is the owner. It was their second blue this show season. Mr. Country Gentlemen and Robert Deutsch was reserve, while Strike and Lisa Baum were awarded third.

Ross Campbell was the call judge for the seven entries in the Yearling World Grand Championship, the first world grand championship of the Celebration this year. Walking under the spotlight was Catherine Zeta Jones with Robert Nelms as the handler for Dr. Roger Richards and Bobby Joe Jones of Bell Buckle, Tennessee and Manchester, Tennessee, respectively. The popular filly, sired by El Zorro’s Star, was the unanimous selection of the judges. Catherine Zeta Jones has eight wins in an undefeated season, seven with Nelms as the handler. It was a perfect ribbon storm for the Richards and Jones partnership who also own Collusion the reserve world grand champions with handler Chris Richards and I Am Princess Margaret, the third-place winner, guided by Kelly Richards Ward.

Eight entries competed in the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-14 Years on Walking Ponies class. The Country Lineman and Ashtyn Claire Brown, who co-owns with Carla Brown of Culleoka, Tennessee, received a favorable ovation from the crowd for the stunning performance. It was their third blue of 2020. Knock Down Drag Out fought its way to second with Luke Callicutt up for John Callicutt. Lined Walkin’ and BiBi Beasley were awarded the yellow streamer for the Beth Beasley Family.

Denny Russell from Smithfield, North Carolina and Ole’ Red AC earned their way out of the novice class with the victory in the 10-entry Owner-Amateur Novice Gentlemen on Novice Walking Stallions class. The winner is co-owned by Carla Brown from Culleoka, Tennessee. Honor And Obey and Howard Eastridge captured second, while I’m Nashville and Brian Perkins carried home a yellow ribbon.

After a brief interlude for the presentation of the winners for “Hat Night”, 12 entries rode into the big oval for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Five-Year-Old Mares & Geldings class. Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tennessee won her second world championship of the night with A Sunday Rose. They have three blues in an undefeated 2020 show season. Mr. For Real and Joyce Myers placed second. Kelly Stewart and Strong Statement were third for co-owner Glen Sisk.

The hour may have been late, but the enthusiasm was high and loud from fans as six entries gave a first glimpse of possible world grand championship contenders in Section A of the Five Years & Over Walking Stallions (Canter) class. Call judge Ross Campbell put the contenders through their paces. Minor Ordeal with Tyler Baucom riding for the Mona Dean Family of Raleigh, North Carolina and the Alan Riddley Family of Kings Mountain, North Carolina earned the victory pass. Minor Ordeal and Baucom have won three blues in an undefeated season thus far. Reserve was awarded to We Will Rock You with Philip Trimble in the saddle for Dr. Edwin and Chris Hutchinson. Gin’s Shadow and Jimmy McConnell rode to third in the highly competitive class for Mike Floyd.

Mike Hilley was the call judge for the six entries in an equally competitive Section B of the Five Years & Over Walking Stallions (Canter) class. Master’s Razzel And Jazz once again had his fan base behind him and he and John Allan closed out the Saturday evening performance with their victory pass for the Alan Riddley Family from Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The duo have won twice this season and Callaway picked up two victories for the night. It was the second win in the class for the Riddley Family, co-owners of Minor Ordeal. Jose’ Cold Chills and Jimmy McConnell were second for LaRue, Ann and Beth McWaters. Hey, Tomcat was ridden to third by Jamie Lawrence for Joan and Roy Wester and Tomcat LLC.