By Mark McGee

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The first night session of the 82nd annual Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration was called to order by ring announcer Mark Farrar Thursday in Maverick Arena. Ronnie Spears made his show debut carrying the United States flag aboard White Diamond Dollar. The traditional white flag horse is furnished by Curtice and Dr. Bob McCloy and prepared by Dick Peebles Stables.

Gary Haile, an usher for 44 years at the Celebration sang a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Minister Lance Bennett of Fairlane Church of Christ gave the invocation.

The Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-to-11 Years on Walking Mares began the 13-class schedule under threatening skies. Three entries answered the gate call with Emma Wright making a unanimous blue-ribbon ride aboard Extra Special Jose. It was the second blue for Wright, from Reagan, Tennessee in 2020 and the third for Extra Special Jose. Co-owners of the world Champion, who also won in 2018 and 2017, are Gayle and Sammy Cagle from Lexington, Tennessee. Annie’s Lined With Cash, with Khloe McSwain, came in second. Lace & Lead was third for John Lawwell and owner Josh Lawwell.

Six entries competed in the Elite Owner-Amateur Gentlemen Riders on Walking Stallions class. A King Thing was crowned the world Champion unanimously for Bob Adcock from Lititz, Pennsylvania. The team also won a first this year at the Woodbury Lions  Club Show. Von Miller and Robert Deutsch took reserve, while El Nino’s Dark Knight and Michael Mosteller took home the yellow ribbon.

The Three-Year-Old Walking Geldings class attracted 15 entries as a light rain sent some fans to seek cover. Tyler Baucom and The Longmire were the unanimous selection of the five-judge panel for the world championship for Dee Broom Yoder from Ooltewah, Tennessee. Top Shelf Toddy and Rico Bravo earned a red ribbon nod for Brenda Carlon. Walk By Charlie received the yellow streamer for owners Gay and Benton Pitts.

With I Love A Rainy Night playing, 17 entries entered the ring for the class 28A for Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions. Captain Woodrow F. Call and Jimbo Connor of Sevierville, Tennessee made the blue-ribbon ride. It was their fourth in a row this season. The young stallion is co-owned by Brian Jeffers of Greeneville, Tennessee. Honor And Salute placed second with Kerry DeArmond aboard, with Be Like Mike and Pam Russell walking away with the third place award.

Fourteen entries competed in the “B” division of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking  Stallions. Ed Breedlove and The Blackstone went to the winner’s circle and earned the world championship for KRB Investments from Buford, Georgia. The pair has three blues and one reserve this season. Honored In Texas and Bob Adcock received reserve honors. Zorro Jr. and Beth Beasley were the third-place team.

Light rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the six entries in the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 15-17 Years on Walking Mares & Geldings. The Dixie Label and Sellers Veazey from Tifton, Georgia captured the world championship for their third blue in an undefeated 2020. Previous wins were the Columbia Spring Jubilee and the Spring Fun Show. Cole Haan and Jayden Jackson walked away with the reserve ribbon for owner Jack Heffington. It’s The Medalist was ridden to third by Mackenzie Lawrence for owner Ray Solley.

Do Right was just right for Dr. Jim Baum with a world championship ride for owner Lisa Baum of Shelbyville, Tennessee in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Performance Walking Mares & Geldings class. The two won the 2019 world championship as well. This was the fifth blue this year for Dr. Baum and Do Right. True Platinum was second with Paula Sensing riding. Always In Style and Nora Alexander walked to third in the 14-entry class.

A competitive four entries were featured in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, 15.2 & Under class. Marty McFly and Janice Fostek captured the world championship for owner Joe Fostek from Roanoke, Virginia. The duo also won first at the Money Tree Classic earlier this year. He’s Made In The USA and Gayle Holcomb were second for co-owner Nick Masters. Command Parole and Sheryl Crawford were presented the yellow ribbon.

Brain Power and Kathy Baker, from Lewisburg, Tennessee, won their first ever Celebration world championship in division A of the Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Mares & Geldings. Lyndon B. Johnson and Dr. Renee Montgomery won the red streamer. Third place was awarded to Where’s My Cash, co-owned by rider Kendra White and Bobby White.

Division B of the Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking  Mares & Geldings proved to be the largest class of the night with 18 entries. Also winning her first Celebration world championship was Ashley Rea aboard Punisher for Barbara Smith of Columbus, Mississippi. Jose’s Lilly Rose and  Elizabeth Tew placed second for Madeline and Kimble Tew. The Florida Line and Lisa Enfinger received the third award.

Sixteen entries were in Maverick Arena for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Horses, Classic Horses 15 Years & Over. BeeBee King and Molly Walters from Rancho Mirage, California didn’t sing the blue but won a blue making the world championship ride for the Molly Walters Family. Earlier this year, Jimmy McConnell directed Beebee King to a pair of blue ribbons for a thus undefeated season. Par Three and Amber Zahnd earned the reserve award. Absolute Proof and Greg Kiser placed third for owner Gregory S. Kiser.

In the Walking Mares & Geldings 15.2 & Under Canter class An American Threat proved to be just that as the unanimous winner in the four-entry class. Bill Callaway was the world championship rider for Karen Callaway of Shelbyville, Tennessee. Karen has three blue ribbon performances as the rider in an undefeated 2020 season. Dixie Majorette and Charlie Green were second for Sister Milligan. Jimmy McConnell and Mrs. Smith were awarded third for owners Connie and Richard Donner.

In the closing class 17 entries were on display in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses class. Epic lived up to his name with Meghan Davis riding to the world championship for Shamrock Farms of Shelbyville, Tennessee. It was the fourth consecutive blue for the pair this season. I’m Moonlighting and Stephanie Elliott took the second award. Danny Gattis is the co-owner. Stretch Your Dollar and Lucky Collins won the yellow ribbon for owner Don Collins.