By Mark McGee

A lot of people love Tennessee Walking Horses, but those attending Tuesday night’s performance of the 83rd annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration were truly hardcore fans as the last remnants of Tropical Storm Ida passed through Bedford County.

A very wet, but functional track, welcomed the 12 classes. It was an equine equal opportunity schedule with two classes solely for mares  four for mares and geldings and four for stallions with park performance and show pleasure classes open to all.

Flag horse Ronnie Spears and White Diamond Dollar entered the ring precisely at 7 p.m. It was a family affair with Bryan Nerren from the International House of Prayer offering the invocation and his wife, Rhonda sang the National Anthem. 

Ring announcer Mark Farrar and blowing rain welcomed 12 of 18 programmed entries for Division A of the Owner-Amateur Four-Year-Old Mares & Geldings class. Chris Bobo called the class. Top Shelf Toddy was the choice for world championship honors with Brenda Carlon from Shelbyville, Tennessee, in the irons. It was their fourth blue for 2021. Wilma LJ was ridden to reserve by Beth Lawwell for Sam McDaniel. The River Walk took a walk to third for with Tom Gould. 

Eight of the original 11 scheduled entries made the ring for the Owner-Amateur Mares & Geldings (Canter) class. Brent Grider was the call judge. Four times was the charm for Country And Famous and Miles Irby with the world championship for owners Rick and Marla Lovett from Mobile, Alabama. The duo won the class in 2020, 2019 and 2018. It was their second ribbon finish in a row for 2021. Mister Lineman and Thom Meek rode to a second-place tie for co-owner Chris Payne. Jose’s Beyonce was in tune for a third-place streamer with Jackie Whatley aboard.

With the rain continuing, Division B of the Owner-Amateur Four-Year-Old Mares & Geldings class saw 11 of 20 listed entries compete. Derek Bonner served as the call judge. Miss Heavenly Cash and Shelby Sims made the world championship ride for co-owner Shannon Sims, both from Louisville, Kentucky. They have blues in their last two shows this season. It’s Walk Time rode away with a red streamer with Lisa Baum in the irons. Charlie’s Ritzy Lady and Sarah Coffee Burks tied third. 

Eleven of 21 expected entries found their way into the big oval for Division A of the Two-Year-Old Mares class. David Sisk called the class. Summer Roses was tinted blue as Casey Wright rode the mare to the world championship for Duke Ingram of Jonesborough, Tennessee. They are undefeated in four outings this show season. My Lori Darlin’ T.H.F. was ridden to second by Scott Beaty for Abby Fox. Class With Sass tied third with Tanner Burks in the stirrups for Bill and Karen Bean.

With the air getting noticeably cooler eight of 16 entered Park Performance contenders competed with Chris Bobo named the call judge. I’m A Proud American and Michael Wright made owner Bill Williams of Ripley, Tennessee, proud with a world championship win. I’m A Proud American has four blues in five shows this season with Wright riding on three of them. Always In Style took reserve with Mickey McCormick aboard for Nora Alexander. Shanghai RTF was third with Howard Hamilton riding for Lisa Baum. 

Dale Watts was the call judge as the rain diminished to a heavy drizzle for 12 of 21 slated entries in Division B of the Two-Year-Old Mares class. I Am The Lady was ridden to the world championship by Michael Wright for Erica Russell from Adairsville, Georgia. They were the first unanimous pick of the night for the five-judge panel. The team has three blues in a row in 2021 and Russell has one as the rider. It was the second world championship for Michael Wright as a rider for the evening. Jose’s Chica was reserve with John Allan Callaway in the saddle for Ronnie Logsdon. Magnificent Gin walked away with a yellow streamer for Sister Milligan.

When the gate closed, 14 of 23 programmed entries were in the big oval for the Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under Mares & Geldings class. Derek Bonner was the call judge. Gin Toddy and Sue Irby from Shelbyville, Tennessee, rode to the world championship. They are four-for-four in wins this season. Pro V 1 and Ben Kail were reserve for The Ben Kail Family, while Charlie’s Phantom earned a yellow ribbon with Peggy Mervine.

The Show Pleasure Stallions class brought out eight of the 12 scheduled entries. Brent Grider called the class. He’s Starbucks was the unanimous world champion with John Allan Callaway on board for Bud and Suzanne Moore from Lynnville, Tennessee. It was their second blue in three shows. A Gin To Win received reserve with Blaise Broccard riding for Sherry Roberts. The Lonestar Legend and Tanner Burks tied third for Sister Milligan.
Glory JC and Jannie Chapman topped the field of 12 entries in Division A of the Owner-Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallions class. It was their third blue in a row this year. Ozark and April Jeffers received reserve honors for Jimbo Conner, Lexie Stinnett and Brian Jeffers., while Mr. True Blue left the ring with a yellow streamer with Jake Jacobs in the irons. 

Only two of five slated entries for the 15.2 & Under (Canter) class entered the ring, where Chris Bobo called the class. He’s Pushin The Dollar unanimously won the world championship with Steve Beam aboard for Bob and Roxy Cole of Hanceville, Alabama. I’m Super Fly was reserve with Jimmy McConnell in the stirrups for Bob Medina. 

Call judge Dale Watts put nine of 17 program entries through their gaits in Division B of the Owner-Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallions class. The Blackstone and Ed Breedlove won the world championship for KRB Investments from Buford, Georgia. It was their second blue of 2021. Captain Woodrow F. Call was ridden to reserve by Jimbo Conner for co-owner Brian Jeffers. I Will Honor My Father was third with Kenny Compton on board for Della Compton. 

The final class of the night featured 11 of 16 scheduled entries in the Young Trainers on Stallions with Derek Bonner serving as the call judge. Ryan Blackburn and Warbird retired the Carl and Etta Edwards Memorial Challenge Trophy with their third victory in the class. Warbird’s previous wins were in 2020 and 2017. They have three blues in four shows in 2021. My Shockwave and Tanner Burks were second for Bill and Karen Bean, while Cousin Bob and Hayden Burks tied third for Jimmy and Carol Lackey.