By Mark McGee

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Trainers, both young and old, were showcased in two special classes Wednesday night in Maverick Arena at the 82nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. 

Bryan Nerren, minister of the International House of Prayer called the United States the ‘greatest nation on earth” in his invocation. Having been released earlier this year from months of captivity in India he was sincere in his assessment. Leah Boyd, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, carried on the theme of love for country with a powerful presentation of the National Anthem.

After Ronnie Spears and flag horse White Diamond Dollar left the ring, center ring announcer Mark Farrar, Jr., welcomed five Fine Harness entries to open the 12-class schedule. Earning the world championship title unanimously in the Fine Harness class was In Ted’s Image driven by Bill Callaway for owner Ron Lawrence from Lenoir City, Tennessee. It was the second victory of the Celebration for In Ted’s Image, with Lawrence winning the Owner-Amateur Gentleman’s Fine Harness class. It was also the second year in a row Callaway and In Ted’s Image have won the class. Tom Collins L.T.L. was an intoxicating second with Dickie Scrivner directing for Kathy Owen and Double Springs Farm. She’s Intmidating and Mike Hannah drove to a yellow ribbon for Jack Bolozky.

In a competitive Section A, The Longmire and Dee Broom Yoder from Ooltewah, Tennessee, were the top pick of 17 entries in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings class. It was the second world championship of the Celebration for The Longmire with a win with Tyler Baucom in the saddle last Thursday night. Miss Lululemon and Beth Lawwell tied second. Sister Milligan was aboard I’m Naomi for third. 

Section B of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings class featured 11 entries. Wilma LJ, with Beth Lawwell riding for owner Sam McDaniel of Columbia, Tennessee, walked away with the world championship. It was the second blue of the Celebration, as well, for Wilma LJ with Casey Wright winning Section B of the Three-Year-Old Mares class Saturday night. Oh Susannah was awarded second with John Calicutt in the saddle, while The Way She Walks walked to third with Tina Graves and co-owner Aimee Hale.

Country And Famous added to his fame with John Allan Callaway riding to the world championship for Marla and Rick Lovett of Mobile, Alabama, in the Walking Geldings Five Years & Over, Canter class. The win came on the heels of Country And Famous and Miles Irby winning the Owner-Amateur Mares or Geldings Canter last night. Mr. For Real earned a red ribbon with Jimmy McConnell in the irons for the Meadows and Myers partnership. Charlie Green rode HRH Prince Charles to third for Kathy and Danny Hicks.

There were 10 entries in the Walking Weanling World Grand Championship, but the spotlight could only shine on one. Making the spotlight walk was Sideways and handler Amanda Wright for The George Wright Family from Mount Juliet, Tennessee. Sideways is sired by Master Of Jazz and out of I Walk A Fine Line, a Lined With Cash mare. The duo won the Weanling World Championship earlier in the show and have five blues. He’s Bruno Mars was reserve with Claire Hankins at the lead for Davany Bullock. Mercy Mercy Me and Robert Nelms were third for Lisa Teel.

With 20 entries in the Experienced Trainers, 36 Years & Older on Walking Horses class, it was decided a workout would be needed. A dozen entries made the cut for the final judging. Samsung was loud and clear as the unanimous selection of the judges for the world championship with Bill Callaway in the irons for George-Ann Pratt of Prairie Village, Kansas. The Lonestar Legend rode to a red streamer with Charlie Green aboard for Sister Milligan. The Legal Tender paid off for Scotty Brooks riding for Brad Bertram.

Miss Dixie Carter and Taylor Walters took home the world championship and all the hardware as they retired all three challenge trophies in the Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary Members on Walking Horses class. Walters, from Rancho Mirage, California, and Miss Dixie Carter also won the class in 2018 and 2017. Finishing second among the eight entries was Fire Eye with Allison Becknell riding for Cliff Rivers. An American Threat and Karen Callaway rode away with the yellow ribbon.

Seventeen horses entered the ring in the Walking Horses, Mares & Geldings class with 16 staying for the final judging. Manning scored a world championship touchdown with Jimmy McConnell in the stirrups for Kelsey Andrews of Rancho Mirage, California. It was the second year in a row Manning has won the class. It was also the second Celebration win this year with Taylor Walters riding to the first win in Section B of the Owner-Amateur Mares & Geldings. Nip Of Gin was ridden to reserve by Tim Smith for Charles Yoder. Gotcha Jose’ and John Allan Callaway took home a third for Jacob Baum.

Ten entries out of the original 11 lined up for a final look from the judges in the Amateur Owned & Trained Walking Horses, No Professional Training Within 90 Days class. Dalia Smith-Harr retired the Hard Mountain Cash Challenge Trophy as she and Bronx Bomber hit a world championship home run for her dad Kenny Smith. Bronx Bomber also won in 2018 and 2015. Private Line and Perry Walden were awarded the red streamer. They have three wins in an undefeated 2020 show season. Ricky Ricardo and Will Cole earned a third place tie.
Nathan Rymer beat 17 of his colleagues aboard I’m In The Cash for owner Karen Mitchell of Liberty Township, Ohio, in the Young Trainers, 35 Years & Under, on Walking Mares or Geldings class. Charlie’s Perfect Angel was second with Hayden Burks riding for Tara Rhoades, while Cody Wofford and The Florida Line were third.

Nine entries competed in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, Canter class. Led Zeppelin was a hit in the class, winning the world championship five years in a row with Abby Fox from Cookeville, Tennessee. He’s Unleashed was reserve with Amanda Wright aboard for the partnership of Stewart and Wright. The Iron Door and Sarah Coffee Burke tied third. 

The final class of the night brought 11 entries into the big oval for the Walking Horses, Stallions class. I’m Dialed In was just that on the way to the world championship with Robert Stivers in the irons for Michelle and Steve Glidewell from Corinth, Mississippi. It was third win of the season and the second with Stivers aboard. Bravo! took second with Brock Tillman riding for Lawrence Atherton. I’m The Alamo and John Allan Callaway waved a yellow banner for Ridgemont Farm.

According to Celebration officials, horses through the gate through Wednesday night’s session are up 13.7 percent over last year.