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Monday, May 2, 2016

Trainers Show finalists repeat Celebration spots

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teenagers Kelli, left, and Briana exercise a yearling colt before his class in the Champions Arena outside Calsonic.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)
It was almost like the last class of the 2010 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration revisited. When Star, a crowd favorite whose registered name is actually Moody Star, was called as the stakes winner of the 43rd annual National Trainers Show Saturday night, the crowd went wild.

The same thing happened at the Celebration, when Star, owned by Wilsene Moody and trained by Chad Baucom, was named the Reserve World Grand Champion, and just like that memorable night in September, the next horse to pick up a ribbon was the Golden Sovereign, ridden by Tim Smith and owned by Evergreen Farms.

"That's more like it," said one spectator.

More of the Major, who placed sixth in the Celebration stakes class, was the third place winner Saturday night, ridden by John Allan Callaway and owned by Jim and Judy Leek.

Campbell Johnson, 2, watches the horses in the inspection area while mom Betty Johnson holds him up to visit.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)
The National Trainers' Show is considered by many to be the big kick-off for the horse show season, as well as an indicator for the industry.

"I think we're having a real good show," said one of the DQP inspectors for coordinator for SHOW, the Celebration's HIO in charge of inspections. "The USDA is here and we're working real well together. It's going smooth."

"We've been raising and showing horses about 12 years now and we just love it," said Vicki Benjamin of Humboldt. "I have a country pleasure mare that I show and we have a world grand champion halter colt."

Benjamin said she looks forward to the Trainers' Show every year.

"It's kind of the first show of the season, the kickoff," she said. "I get to see some people I haven't seen over the winter, and new horses -- there are always new horses!"

Billy Lyon combines his love of art and his love of horses to bring equine portraits to walking horse owners across the country.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)
It was a good show for her, too. She and Bustline took the first in Adult Country Pleasure and third in the Country Pleasure Championship.

The trainers, exhibitors and owners weren't the only ones to be back at Calsonic Arena for the season -- the vendors were, too.

"I come every year," said Billy Lyon, who promotes equine artists at his booth on the concourse. Like walking horse fans, the artists come from all over the world, from Georgia and Michigan to China.

"I started showing in 1966 and I haven't missed a Celebration since," he said. "I love the horses and the horse people."

The next big walking horse shows in Shelbyville include the Spotted Saddle Horse spring show, May 6-7, and the Celebration's Spring Fun Show, scheduled for May 26-28 in the outdoor arena.

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