(T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler)
Saturday marked the 105th edition of the show, which has always been a favorite stop for many exhibitors on their way to the Celebration. It's the last in a series of three shows, including Fayetteville and Belfast, that often serve as the last tuneups for horses showing at the Celebration.
"We had a really good show," said Heather Beard, show manager. "The crowd was really good and concessions did great; we had to keep making more and more food .. I think the rain hindered some people from coming out, but we still had 140 entries, a great turnout."
Proceeds from the show's concessions go toward the Cascade PTO and the East Bedford Civic Club, Beard said, which help several organization in or around Wartrace.
Despite the good turnout, the track was muddy, and entries in some classes were light, including the final class of the evening, the stake, where two horses competed.
John F. K's Pusher and Justin Harris earned the blue in this class for Bruce and Robin MacDonald.
Lone competitors Cash Lined and Kenny Smith, for Molly Smith, won the stake at the Fayetteville Blue Ribbon Show and The Golden Sovereign and Tim Smith, for Evergreen Walking Horse Farm, were the winners of the Belfast Show, where three entered the stake.
Though the shows are historically popular and well-attended, many exhibitors elect not to show their contenders this close to the Celebration, giving them plenty of rest leading up to the world grand championship show.
"The shows were very good this weekend and provided the industry another boost heading into the Celebration," said Jeffrey Howard, publisher of Walking Horse Report, reflecting on the trio of shows. "The Belfast show was a very good show with great quality and numbers and provided an opportunity for the industry DQPs to work with the
Last week, The Celebration announced its class splits for the preliminary round of competition for the Aged Stallions.
On the first Saturday night the Aged Stallions will take to the ring in two splits, as is tradition.
"We are looking forward to two very competitive classes the first Saturday night that will treat our fans to the industry's best aged horses," said Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows.
Aged stallions in the A division will be Golden Gate Ritz, Puttin' Cash On The Line, Made Over All Over, Magic's Pure Ritz, Ted Williams, Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Ritz, Dumas Dandy, Rowdy Rev and Up For Parole.
Competing in the B division will be My Kinda Luck, Jose's All Pro, More Of The Major, Absolute Proof, Lethal Nightshade, Moody Star, Game World, He's Top Priority, Dark & Shady, Swing Batter Batter Swing, and The Golden Sovereign.
This year, 2,874 entries will compete in the show, down 340 from last year's show, Meadows said.
"Even though entry numbers are down at The Celebration and shows like Fayetteville, Belfast and Wartrace the industry is poised to have a great World Championship show and future," Howard added.