By Mark McGee 

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Monday was $1 night for fans for tickets and refreshments and in the ring, it was stallion’s night. Half of the 14 classes were for stallions, with three sections of Two-Year-Olds.

The Rev. Mark Ashley of New Hope Chapel gave the invocation. Margaret Eakin, announcement assistant in the center ring, put her considerable singing talents on display with her presentation of the National Anthem. Ronnie Spears kept the tradition alive at the 82nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration riding flag horse White Diamond Dollar.

Ron Lawrence and In Ted’s Image didn’t need directions to the winner’s circle in the four-entry Owner-Amateur Gentlemen Drivers, Fine Harness class. It was third year in a row the two have ridden to the blue in the class. Lawrence, from Lenoir City, Tennessee, and In Ted’s Image have four blues in 2020. Lined Royal Cash and Jack Kowk drove to second for CCJK Enterprises. Mister October Sky CTF was third with John Fikes directing for Fikes and Mills.

Eleven entries answered the gate call from announcer Mark Farrar, Jr., for the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Ponies, Mares or Geldings class. Pappy Van Winkle was wide awake on the way to a unanimous decision as the world champion with Kim Butler on board for Bruce Butler of Morehead, Kentucky. It was the fifth blue in an undefeated 2020 for Pappy Van Winkle and the second world championship in this year’s Celebration with John Allan Callaway earning the win in the 15.2 & Under Mares & Geldings title. Versace’s Dollar and Kenny Compton showed their style with a reserve ribbon for owner Rick Compton. Lined With Silver Dollars and Curtis Thompson took home a yellow streamer for owner Cole Nelson.

Between the second and third classes Jayden Jackson from Wartrace, Tennessee, showed off her riding skills for the crowd in recognition of her Gold Medal ride, her second in a row, in the Auxiliary Equitation, Youth Medal Championship (Canter) class Monday morning.

Nevermore and John Allan Callaway topped a field of six entries for the world championship in the Walking Mares Five Years Old & Over, Canter class for owners Dr. Barbara Moersch from Jacksonville, Alabama and Julia Callaway from Shelbyville, Tennessee. Nevermore has three blues this season, two with John Allan Callaway and one with Julia Callaway aboard. She’s Salsarita placed second with Tyler Baucom in the irons for Alex Luttrell. Beiga Cheval was ridden to third by Herbert Derickson for the partnership of  Tommy McGee and Carol Dickerson.

Good Samaritan and Pam Russell rode to the world championship  for co-owner Larry Russell from Pontotoc, Mississippi, in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Five-Year-Old Walking Stallions class in the 10-entry class. It was the third blue in as many shows in 2020 for the team. Mr. Southern Comfort made a smooth ride to second for Robert Deutsch. Dixie White Socks and Dr. Linda Garrard left the ring with a yellow ribbon.

One of the most anticipated competitions of the Celebration was the Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions and Section A did not disappoint with 14 strong entries put through their paces by call judge Rollie Beard. Kobe 24, wearing No. 24, was a crowd favorite with Tim Smith in the saddle for the world championship performance for the partnership of Barnes, Conner and Kilgore from Sevierville, Tennessee and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Kobe 24 was the unanimous choice of the five-judge panel. The pair remain unbeaten with four victories this year. Balboa and Casey Wright earned second for Alan Riddley. He’s A High Dollar Deal was third with Charlie Green in the stirrups for Don Collins.

The English Trail Pleasure Walking Horses, Five Years & Under attracted five entries. I’m Thunderstruck N.D.R. won the world championship with David Mast riding for Debbie and Wayne Simons of Shelbyville, Tennessee. I’m Thunderstruck has won six times this year, five with Mast aboard. Mr. Bentley and Laurie Toone earned a red streamer for Ashley Wadsworth. The Big Bang PL and rider Bailey McComb made some noise to finish third for Christy and Jason Duvall.

The 16 entries in Section B of the Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions class were just as competitive and exciting as Section A. Zorro, Jr. dueled his way to the world championship with Justin Harris riding for The Beth Beasley Family from Athens, Alabama. Zorro, Jr. has won three blues in 2020 with Harris in the saddle for two of them. Ross Campbell was the call judge with three different entries earning first place votes. Special By Jose’ was guided to reserve by Bill Callaway for Charles Gleghorn. Master Wilkes and Herbert Derickson left the ring with a yellow streamer for owners Angela and Keith Hayes.

The Walking Stallions, 15.2 & Under saw four entries in competition. Charlie Green was aboard I Am Mighty Jose’ for the unanimous world championship ride for owners Shane Porterfield from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He’s Made In The USA earned reserve with Bill Callaway riding for Gayle Holcomb and Nick Masters. Dale Watts rode Jose’s Reflection to third for owners Ann and Chris Mills.

Mike Hilley was the call judge for the nine entries in Section C, another exciting showcase of the Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions. Seven remained for final judging. Ohh Troubadour and Tyler Baucom were chosen unanimously to make the world championship ride for owner Allyson Armstrong from Hickory, North Carolina. They are unbeaten with three blues in 2020. Hooligan and Sam Martin rode to second for The Jimmy Smith Family. Casey Wright was in the irons riding Be Like Mike to third for owners Pam and Larry Russell.

Fourteen entries entered the big oval for the Owner-Amateur Gentlemen Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses. Title Sweepstake and Tom Ware of Cynthiana, Kentucky, had their number called for the world championship for co-owner Harper Grider from Columbia, Kentucky. It was the fifth blue in a row in 2020 for Title Sweepstake and the fourth with Ware in the saddle. Tennessee State Line took home second with Jacob Baum riding for Lisa Baum. Georgia Florida Line was ridden to the yellow ribbon by Bruce MacDonald.

Robin MacDonald and Mr. Heisman were the across the board selection for the world championship in the Elite Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Stallions class. The duo has been the world champion in the class for four years in a row for co-owner Bruce MacDonald of Lake City, Georgia. It was the fourth win in an unbeaten season for Mr. Heisman with one blue claimed by Tim Smith as the rider. He’s  Shady In Black and Sarah Coffee Burks tied second. My Major Or Deal was ridden to third by Debbie Eichler for Rising Star Ranch. Nine entries competed in the class.

When the gate was closed 15 entries were in the ring for the Park Performance Walking Horses, Five Years & Under class. Jose’s Desperado and Patrick Thomas rode to the world championship for Jeannie and Jim Roberts from Wildersville, Tennessee. It was the second first place of the year for the team. Deal With It and Mickey McCormick were reserve for Debbie and Chester Marbry. The Hawksnest was third with Charlie Green in the irons for Alan Riddley. 

Zeta and Robert Deutsch from Greensboro, North Carolina, bested eight other entries for the world championship in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings class. It was the third consecutive world championship in the class for the duo and their third first place of 2020. Sheryl Crawford flew Flying High CC to second. Walk On Beethoven Michelle Henley Gaines received a yellow streamer.

Leigh Stuart was the call judge for five entries in the Walking Stallions, 15.2 & Under, Canter class to close out the night. Knock ’Em Ted hit a world championship home run with Bobby Hugh in the stirrups earning a unanimous decision from the judges for Jannie Chapman from Owens Cross Roads, Alabama. It was the fourth blue of the season for Knock ’Em Ted and third in a row with Hugh riding. Woodford was reserve with Justin Harris in the saddle for Andrew Morrison. Jose’s Smart Watch took home third with Dale Watts aboard for Debbie and Bill Woods.