It's finally here! The time horse show fans wait for all year long. It's Celebration time in Tennessee.
While the 73rd edition of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has officially been underway since Wednesday morning, for many Celebration diehards the show really doesn't get started until it moves to the historic outdoor arena on Thursday evening.
(T-G Photo by Tracy Simmons)
In the first class of the evening, Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 6-11 Years on Walking Mares, capturing the win in the good class was the team of Jose's Delightful Pusher and Landon Callicutt riding for John and Ann Callicutt of Seagrove, N.C. The win was the team's eighth of the 2011 season. Reserve honors went to Bo's Shenia Rose and owner/exhibitor Elijah Leverette of Shelbyville. She's Armed With Poison and owner/exhibitor Thomas Derickson of Wartrace, were third.
In the Elite Owner-Amateur Gentleman Riders on Walking Stallions class, Kid Callahan and Ed Breedlove took honors home to Buford, Ga. This duo topped this division in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in addition to this win..
The professional riders made their first appearance of the evening in the Three-Year-Old Walking Gelding class.
Making the victory pass were Knox Blackburn and Ritz Diamond In The Rough riding for James and Betty Corlew of Adams.
The Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions were up next with Command On Parole and Sheryl Crawford taking the blue in the A division for Metcalf & Crawford of Bainbridge, Ga.
Defending The Title and Jason Myatt won the B division, riding for Jerry and Debbie Myatt of Alvaton, Ky. This team picked up a blue at the FAST Showcase and strong reserves at the Gallatin Lions Club Horse Show and Marshall County Horse Show en route to this win.
Young riders were up next in the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 15-17 Years on Walking Mares or Geldings class.
Making the drive to the winner's circle with the approval of all five judges was the team of Cadillac's Bum and Lilly Waites riding for the Andrew Waites Family of Hattiesburg, Miss.
Next came the Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Performance Walking Mares or Geldings. Topping the division with a unanimous decision of the judges' panel was the team of All American Ritz and Marian Wright riding for Cynthia Wright of Jackson. This duo captured this same division in 2009 and preceded this win with 2011 wins at Huntington, Humboldt, Guntown, Miss. and the Money Tree Classic.
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
Novice entries made their first appearance of the evening in Owner-Amateur Novice Lady Riders on Novice Walking Mares or Geldings.
Taking their first ever Celebration blue were Paroled From San Quenton and Ann Rea riding in the A division for Dr. Ann Rea of Summit, Miss. Remaining a novice for another day was the duo of Jose Today and owner/exhibitor Ginger Hartlein of Shelbyville, which placed second.
Liar Liar and Shea Sproles put on a stellar performance in the B division to ride out of the Novice division for Gary and Shea Sproles of Fall Branch.
Making the winning ride in the A Division of the Owner-Amateur Riders on Four-Year-Old Walking Stallions class was A Bruce Pearl and Lee McGartland in the irons for Mike and Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas. Announcer Bobby Sands noted that this Bruce Pearl didn't even have to show a "Show Cause Order" to win the class.
Walking away with the unanimous blue in the B division was the reigning Three-Year-Old Amateur WGC He's Vida Blue and Kay Green riding for Dr. Jim and Kay Green of Meridian, Miss.
This team already has wins this year at Jackson, Miss., the Spring Fun Show, the Money Tree Classic and the Belfast Lions Club Horse Show.
The Walking Geldings, 15.2 and Under (Canter) (Rider's Cup) saw a unanimous decision of the judges' panel for The Royal Dollar and Jimmy McConnell riding for Mike and Lee McGartland of Ft. Worth, Texas.
In the final class of the evening, Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Show Pleasure Walking Horses. Godfather By Ultra Copy and Courtney Luttrell rode to the winner's circle, with a unanimous decision of the panel, for Alex Luttrell of Bowling Green, Ky. and Shelbyville.
Simply Thrilling and Lucky Collins were reserve for Don and Lucky Collins of Bell Buckle. Another Bell Buckle team was third in the class, Coin's Black Stroke and Jean O'Brien showing for Reggie Pimental.