By Mark McGee

It was great to be young and alive and competing Saturday in Calsonic Arena during the fourth morning session of the 83rd annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

12 of the 13 classes were for youth riders or handlers who will be the future cornerstones of the future success of the breed. Once again, the variety of skills of the Tennessee Walking Horse were on display with Park, English, Pleasure and Halter classes.

All four of the entries in Auxiliary Equitation Medal Class Youth Division, Riders 6-11 Years Old answered the gate call by Dallas Eubanks and entered the ring to a rousing ovation that continued throughout the class. Ally Jo Jacobs from Murfreesboro, Tennessee was a popular World Champion selection based on the crowd reaction. It was her third blue in a row and the sixth for 2021. Maddie McMorrow tied second. Ruth Collins took home a yellow ribbon. Chris Bobo called the class.

Perfect attendance was also the case in the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Park Performance Walking Mares of Geldings with 10 of 10 entries competing with Derek Bonner serving as the call judge.Major Justice and co-owner Carson Adams from Goldsboro, North Carolina were crowned World Champions for owner Tim Brown of Science Hill, Kentucky. It was the fifth blue ribbon for Major Justice this show season and the first with Adams directing. Jose’s Full Throttle and co-owner Colton Trimble in the saddle for co-owner Lisa Putnam Enfinger. True Platinum shined in third with Kelsey Wright aboard for Bill and Paula Sensing. 

The Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years on Show Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings class saw 16 of 17 entries listed in the program enter the ring. Brent Grider was the call judge with Nip Of Gin walking to the World Championship for owner-rider Kaitlyn Peeler from Laurinburg, North Carolina. Nip Of Gin has four blues in 2021, three with Peeler aboard. Wired And Lined was reserve for owner-rider Kelsey Wright. A Major Title took home a yellow streamer with co-owner Julia Callaway riding for co-owner Carolyn Riles. 

Four of seven original entries competed in the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years on English Trail Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings with David Sisk serving as the call judge. Jazz & Everything  played the winning World Championship beat with Shane Smith in the irons for owner Darrell Collins from Brodhead, Kentucky. It was the ninth top finish for the team this year. A Rain Delay was awarded reserve honors with co-owner Colton Trimble aboard for co-owner Deborah Dill. Ample Cash Down tied third with Taylor Harvey in the saddle for the Harvey Family.

The Owner-Amateur Weanlings class drew 10 of the 16 program entries.  I’m Mamacita with handler Rachel Dorris won the World Championship for Ricky and Lisa Atnip from Smithville, Tennessee. It was their second blue for 2021.  Gen’s Déjà Vu tied second with John Dorris guiding for Dorris and Stephens. Toreador walked out with a yellow ribbon with Jaron Dotson handling the entry for David Williams.

When the gate closed for the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on All Day Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings class, 11 of the 15 scheduled entries were in the ring. Chris Bobo served as the call judge. Sheza Drama Mama and owner-rider Maddie Grace McMorrow from Georgetown, Kentucky walked away with the World Championship. It was their third blue in a row and the 12th for 2021. Peligro Deniro and co-owner Lexi Smith tied reserve for co-owners Taylor Harvey and Phyllis Langley. Unbelievable Jazzibelle was third for owner-rider Sterling Woodruff.

The Youth Weanlings, Handlers 6-17 Years saw nine of the 10 original entries go through the paces. Tee Martin stayed undefeated for 2021 with his third blue. It was the first with Peyton Nelms as handler and the first World Championship for the duo for owners Pittman, Washburn and Teel of Shelbyville and Fayetteville, Tennessee. The Unforgettable Dixie tied reserve with co-owner Laney Mullinax riding for co-owner Angela Mullinax. Lady Serena Williams held serve at third with Isaac Witherspoon in the saddle for Dotson Brothers.

Brent Grider was the call judge as all seven entries were ready for Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Trail Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings class. Checkpoint Charlie SF was ridden by co-owner Sydney Klein to the World Championship for co-owners Ashley Say and Tamara Hader. It was the second World Championship for Checkpoint Charlie SF at this year’s Celebration. It was the fifth win in a row and the ninth of the season for Checkpoint Charlie SF with different riders aboard. Gi Gi’s Lunch Money and co-owner Maddie Grace McMorrow rode to reserve for co-owner Linda Vaughn. Master Cruiser rode to third with Charlie Stembridge aboard for Kevin and Kay Andrews, Lindsay Atkins and Sterling Woodruff.

Seven of 11 planned entries were on hand for the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings class  with David Sisk the call judge. BB King’s Jazz, a “Classic” horse, hit the right notes to take the World Championship with Jackson Stephens aboard for Stephens and Womack of Grayson, Kentucky.  BB King’s Jazz has three blues in row, the first with Jackson directing. Just Jose’ It left the ring with a red ribbon with Julia Callaway in the saddle for the partnership of Leonard and Callaway. Boston Bay tied for third with Jocelyn Laughlin riding for Anne Evans. 

The Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 Years on English Country Pleasure  Walking Mares or Geldings class saw eight of the 11 listed entries in the ring. Dale Watts was the call judge. Bella Belle won World Champion honors  with Cooper Moore  riding for Jason Moore of Charlotte, North Carolina. It was their second  blue of 2021. He Is Forrest Gump was reserve with Raigan Gardner in the saddle for The Gardner Family. American Hustle received a yellow ribbon with co-owner rider Elese Lewis riding for co-owner Ira Kilburn.

There were five entries listed and there was perfect attendance in the ring for the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Lite Shod Walking Mares or Geldings class. She’s Charlie’s Girl caught the eye of the judges with co-owner Jocelyn Laughlin of Shelbyville, Tennessee making the World Championship ride for co-owner Nancy Evans from Mechanicsville, Virginia. The mare has won nine blues this year with a variety of riders. Lil’ Wayne made the right moves for a reserve with Madelyn Gannon in the saddle for Gannon and Robertson. Ideal tied third with Jackson Cammack riding for Melissa Daniel.  Chris Bobo served as the call judge.

The Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Country Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings class had a perfect attendance of 10 entries with Derek Bonner calling the class Designer Champagne was the toast of the class taking World Championship honors for co-owner Alayna Arnold for co-owner Kimberly Walden of Shelbyville, Tennessee. It was the sixth blue of 2021 for the “Classic “ horse and the fourth for Arnold aboard the multi World Grand Champion and World  Champion. Snapchat was ridden to second by co-owner Carson Sells for co-owner the Bo Robbins family. Walking away with third was I’m A Little Funky with Zane Bullock riding for Davany Bullock.

Six were listed in the program but seven challenged for the Auxiliary Equitation, Youth Medal World Grand Championship (Canter) prize.  Brent Grider was the call judge for the first World Grand Championship of 2021. Riley Gregory from Alvaton, Kentucky captured the title. Kate Cowan was reserve World Grand Champion. Marley Doyle tied third.