By Mark Davis

Monday night at The Celebration is always a great night of competition because it’s when we get to take our first look at the Two-Year-Old Stallions, three big sections this year, the 15.2 and Under Mares, the 15.2 and Under Stallions and eight more great classes of competition that will make up another great night! Of course, it’s got a lot to live up to after the great show that everyone in attendance experienced last night, highlighted by that outstanding class of Junior Stallions we got to see last night (This reporter can’t wait until we get to see them again on Friday Night!). We’ll also get to check out an exhibition from our newly crowned Equitation World Grand Champion, Allison Thorson, who won her set of roses during the Monday morning performance.

The invocation for the evening was given by the Rev. Stephen Caine, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Shelbyville, Tenn., followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Brad Barrett of Phillipsburg, Mo.

The judges for the 73rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration include Jennifer Bingham of Shelbyville, Tenn., Jamie Bradshaw of Union Grove, Ala., Jamie Hankins of Paris, Ky., Ronnie Spears of Tullahoma, Tenn. & Jeff Willis of Shelbyville, Tenn.

Just then, as official flag horse Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton head back up the track, it was time to call the first class of the evening, Owner-Amateur Gentleman Drivers, Fine Harness. Four of the seven programmed entries made their way down the hill from Calsonic Arena to work for Judge Jamie Hankins and his panel. Riding out with the win, with the approval of all five judges and the Monday evening crowd, was Carolina Confederate and Jeffrey McGee driving for Laura McGee of Shelbyville, Tenn. This team drove to top honors at the 2011 Red Carpet Horse Show of the South at Pulaski, Tenn., last month. Another nice grey horse, Clutch’s Power Play and Ben Harrell were reserve for Double Springs Farm of Murfreesboro, Tenn. Abel and Alex Rea drove in for the yellow streamers for Dr. Ann Rea of Summit, Miss.

The pleasure horses hit the track in class 106, Classic Park Pleasure Walking Horses with 10 of the 16 with reservations making the gate call to work for Judge Ronnie Spears and his cohorts. Breaking out of the line up and riding away with the win with a unanimous decision of the panel were She’s Up For Parole and Robert Nelms riding for Carole Hargett of Shelbyville, Tenn. This was this outstanding mare’s 11th blue ribbon win of 2011 and second World Championship, after she won the Amateur division last night with Ashley Shelton in the irons. C’Mon Turn Me Loose and Debbie Wells were reserve riding for Heiden & Wells of Florence, S.C. Simple Lee Dangerous and Chris Helton were third for Katie West of Morristown, Tenn.

With that, it was time for one of the highlights of the evening, the Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions. Of course, there are three splits of Two-Year-Old Stallions again this year and we will have classes between each split this year to give the trainers a little additional time. Class 107A, gave us our first look at the future with 13 of the 30 with reservations beating the clock to work in the class as Judge Jeff Willis served as Call Judge for the first split. Making the impressive blue ribbon ride in the A section was I Am Jose and Casey Wright riding for Billy & Debbie Woods of Lexington, Tenn. This team had garnered top honors at the Spring Fun Show & the Money Tree Classic. Blue’s Master and Jimmy McConnell were reserve for Mike & Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas. I’m A Jazz Player and Justin Harris was third for Elliott & Oliver of Bowling Green, Ky.

Class 108, Owner-Amateur Riders 50 & Over on Park Pleasure Walking Horses was up to take place between class 107 A & 107B with six of the 14 expected working down the hill to show as Judge Jamie Hankins served as Call Judge for the class. Headed back Florida way with the win in the class was B.B. King’s Jazz and owner/exhibitor Jeannae Patterson talking the honors back to Gulf Hammock, Fla. Santana’s Coin & John McNeely were reserve for John McNeely & Lindsey Landrum of Franklin, Tenn. Expedited and owner/exhibitor Ty Irby of Shelbyville, Tenn., picked up the yellow streamers.

Back to the Two-Year-Old Stallions, class 107B brought 13 of 30 to the historic big oval to show their very best for the Monday night crowd and the judging panel, led in this section by Judge Jennifer Bingham. Another exciting class produced another exciting champion, Los Lobos and Billy Gray riding for Joe Barnes of Pigeon Forge, Tenn. In Ted’s Image and Bill Callaway pulled into the second spot for Ron & Carolyn Lawrence of Lenoir City, Tenn. Jose’s Big Love and Rico Bravo were third for Lovato & Littrell of Shelbyville, Tenn.

Class 109 featured the Owner-Amateur Western Trail Pleasure Walking Horses (Canter) with three of the seven expected coming to show all three gaits that make the Tennessee Walking Horse famous as Judge Ronnie Spears called the gaits in the class. Taking the win back California way was The Wicked Master and Sheryl Volkman riding for John & Sheryl Volkman of Livermore, Calif., and, by the way, they secured this win with a unanimous decision of the panel. Grande Ann and Milly Player were second in the class riding for Milly Player & Darlene Buckner of Lancaster, S.C. I’m Just Jesse and Ruth Tudor rounded out the class for Larry & Ruth Tudor of Ten Mile, Tenn.

The final section of Two-Year-Old Stallions, class 107C, brought 15 of the 29 on the official Lions Club program down to the track to show for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his panel. Garnering the World Championship acclaim in the section was I’m Coach Cal & John Allan Callaway, 2011 champions at the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show, the FAST Showcase & the Red Carpet Horse Show of the South, riding for Don Pratt of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Command On Parole and Winky Groover were reserve for Metcalf & Crawford of Bainbridge, Ga. Street Jazz & Jimmy McConnell were third for Rachel Castaldi of Skillman, N.J.

During a quick break in the action, the crowd got the opportunity to take a look at an exhibition from our Equitation World Grand Champion, Allison Thorson of Huron, Ohio, who was crowned during the Monday Morning session.

After the exhibition was complete, it was time to call class 110, Owner-Amateur Gentleman Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses with 10 of the 24 on the program beating the clock to work for Judge Jeff Willis and his cohorts. Making the great show on a Monday night was the team of I’m Joe Friday and Ed Breedlove riding for Keith Breedlove of Buford, Ga. Ritz’s Diamond Broker and Coby Coffman picked up the red streamers for Coby & Jane Coffman of Jefferson City, Mo. Jazz Zone and Ben Moss were third for Ron Carney & Ben Moss of Laurel, Miss.

Class 111 featured the Elite Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Stallions with 12 of the 28 programmed entries taking the rail to show for Judge Jennifer Bingham and the 2011 Celebration panel. Cashing in on a winning performance was Chrome Dollar and Dr. Lynda Brogdon riding for Ben & Dr. Lynda Brogdon of Tallahassee, Fla. Command & Control and Sheryl Crawford were second for Crawford Colts of Carrollton, Ga. The Who and Molly Walters rounded out the top three for the Molly Walters family of Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The professional riders were back for class 112, Walking Mares, 15.2 and Under (Canter) (Riders’ Cup) with seven of 11 making the gate call to work as Judge Jamie Bradshaw called the gaits in the class. Topping the class was Bella Sera At The Ritz and Knox Blackburn up, champions at the Manchester Lions Club Horse Show & the Marshall County Horse Show, for the Anthony Joseph family of Columbiana, Ala. This win, coupled with a 2007 win in the division with Ritzey Zone, owned by the Joseph family, retired the Floyd & Olive Carothers Memorial Challenge Trophy. A Final Command and Jimmy McConnell pulled in for the red streamers for Rachel Castaldi of Skillman, N.J. Here’s Your Change and Michael Wright were third for Diana Cruse of Blue Ridge, Ga.

Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Performance Walking Stallions, class 113, brought 16 of the 19 programmed entries down to work for Judge Jamie Hankins and his panel. Making the winning ride was Patti Pollack and The Concealed Weapon riding for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. This win was preceded with 2011 wins at the Spring Fun Show, the Tony Rice Horse Show and Marshall County Horse Show. Slam’s Black Gold and Kenny Smith were reserve riding for Forrester Joseph of Hazard, Ky. Scorecard and Samantha Green rounded out the top three in the large class for Kerry Huckaby & Samantha Green of Columbia & Shelbyville, Tenn.

Staying in the Amateur division, class 114 featured the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings with 18 of the 52 on the official Lions Club program taking the track to work as Judge Ronnie Spears served as Call Judge for the class. Ritzey Zone and owner/exhibitor Lindsey Landrum made a stellar performance to take home the World Championship honors in the division to Franklin, Tenn. Jazz Country and Patti Pollack were second riding for Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch of Saratoga, Calif. Dollar’s Big & Rich and Wes Hendrick were third riding for Kenny Hendrick of Bowling Green, Ky.

The final class of the evening was class 115, Walking Stallions, 15.2 and Under (Canter) (Riders’ Cup). Twelve of the 23 with reservations worked to the rail to show for the Monday night crowd, who were holding on strong at 10:45 pm., and for the panel, led by Judge Jeff Willis. Topping the division was Lined Walkin’ and Justin Harris riding for the Andrew Waites family of Hattiesburg, Miss. Ozone’s Cut Above All & John Allan Callaway were reserve for Don Pratt of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Bee Bee King and Jimmy McConnell were third for Rachel Castaldi of Skillman, N.J.

It’s been another great night of horse show competition complete at 10:55 pm. Make sure you’re back in Shelbyville on Tuesday night for another great night of preliminary competition highlighted by the Four-Year-Old Walking Mares, the Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Mares & Geldings and Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions, and be making plans now to be in Shelbyville on Thursday night as Championship competition gets underway. It’s the 73rd Annual Celebration . . .Don’t miss a moment!