Category: In The News
Celebration releases splits
The 83rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® will be held August 25-September 4, 2021. The class sheet was revamped for 2021, with several changes made per recommendations by a committee formed by the board of directors.
In total, 11 classes were split and for the first time in several years there will be no three-way splits in 2021. “We are tremendously excited to have competitive classes that pit many of our industry’s most talented horses against one another in both preliminary and championship classes,” said CEO Warren Wells.
For the first time in years, the Two-Year-Old Stallions will be split only into an A and B division. The total numbers of entries were down significantly in the division which warranted only a two-way split.
Although the Walking Stallions, Five Years and Over (Canter) only had 11 entries, The Celebration® kept with tradition and split the class into two divisions.
“It was a tough call with only one trainer having multiple entries and the total number of entries not warranting a split. I know our fans would love to see all 11 horses in the ring at the same time, and it would make for great theatre. But I chose to keep with tradition in my first year on the job,” said Wells.
The A division will feature:
Walk For Roses and Russ Thompson
Joe Pa and Winky Groover
Mach 1 and Jimmy McConnell
Hey, Tomcat and Jamie Lawrence
Really Coach and Rodney Dick
The B division will feature:
Jose’s Power Broker and Keith Blackburn
A Big Honor and Ryan Blackburn
Minor Ordeal and Tyler Baucom
Jose’s Revival and Casey Wright
Gin’s Shadow and Jimmy McConnell
He’s Unleashed and Jeff Green
After a 10% increase in entries in 2020, The Celebration® announced a total of 2,262 pre-show entries for the upcoming 83rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration®. The 2,262 total is up 10 entries from last year. “We are extremely pleased with the entries for our upcoming show. With such a large increase last year, the ability for us to continue to add entries year over year continues the positive trends we are seeing in the industry,” said Celebration CEO Warren Wells.
The number of unique horses that make up the 2,262 entries also increased from last year. In 2020, 1,311 different horses were entered at The Celebration®. In 2021 that number jumped to 1,320 horses. “Being the world championship horse show, we want to host as many horses as we possibly can, and we look forward to continuing to grow this number over the next several years,” said Wells.
The 1,320 horses competing is a jump of 120 horses over two years ago. This number has been continually rising and this year’s increase is another positive sign. The 83rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be held August 25th through September 4th.
The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has selected Chris Bobo, Derek Bonner, Brent Grider, David Sisk and Dale Watts to judge its 83rd Annual Celebration, the premier event on the Tennessee Walking Horse industry’s calendar. The panel will include a newcomer to center ring in Watts and includes judges from Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Mississippi.
“We are excited about this panel which includes such a diverse geographic representation and includes some valuable experience along with a newcomer that recently judged our Fun Show. We look forward to a great Celebration that continues the momentum we’ve seen thus far this show season,” said Celebration CEO Warren Wells.
The Celebration affiliates with the SHOW Horse Industry Organization and thus selects is judges from the SHOW HIO certified judges’ list. The SHOW HIO has 70 total judges but only 54 of which hold a AAA or better license, which is a Celebration requirement. The Celebration sends an email to all AAA or better judges asking if they have a desire and availability to judge The Celebration and would like to be considered. Of the 54 eligible, 28 responded they would like to be considered.
The Celebration has a committee that vets the candidates and puts together a slate that is then ratified by the entire board. Both the committee and board votes only require a majority vote.
Sisk, from Columbia, Tenn., will be marking the cards for the fourth time. Sisk previously judged the Celebration in 2014, 2015 and 2018. Sisk has judged the Fun Show, Tunica, Gulf Coast Charity, North Carolina Championships, Alabama Jubilee, Mississippi Charity and National Trainers’ Show demonstrating his appeal across a wide range of the industry. Sisk also just judged the Christmas in July show over the 4th.
Bobo, from Shelbyville, Tenn., will also be making his fourth appearance in center ring having judged The Celebration previously in 2012, 2016 and 2017. Bobo also judged the Christmas in July show over the 4th and has almost every major show on his resume, including the International Pleasure and Colt show. He has also judged the Fun Show, Tunica, Gulf Coast Charity, Mississippi Charity, Alabama Jubilee, North Carolina Championships and Pulaski just to name a few.
Bonner, from Mooresboro, N.C., will be making his third trip to judge the world championships. Bonner previously judged the Celebration in 2013 and 2015. Bonner judged the Columbia Spring Jubilee this year and has also judged the Fun Show, Mississippi Charity, multiple 4th of July shows, National Trainers’ Show and FAST Spring Showcase.
Grider, from Columbia, Ky., will be judging the Celebration for the second time with his first being in 2012. Grider has judged most of the industry’s premier events and also judged the Columbia Spring Jubilee this year. Grider has judged multiple times at the Columbia Spring Jubilee as well as judging the Kentucky Celebration, Alabama Jubilee, Gulf Coast Charity, National Trainers’ Show three times, Marshall County and at the 4th of July.
Watts, from Summit, Miss., doubles as a walking horse trainer and also as a Hall of Fame girls and boys high school basketball coach in Mississippi. Watts will be marking the cards for the first time, but recently worked for The Celebration at its 2021 Spring Fun Show. Watts has also previously judged Woodbury Lions Club, Alabama Jubilee, North Carolina Championships, FAST Spring Showcase and Marshall County.
“It is the board’s goal each year to put forth a panel capable of judging at the highest level in our halter, pleasure and performance divisions. We feel confident this group meets that standard and provides all of our exhibitors with a level playing field,” said Celebration Board Chairman David Crowell. The 83rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be held August 25th – September 4th.
The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® has finalized and released the final class schedule for the 83rd Annual Celebration. In late 2020, The Celebration® formed a committee to review its class sheet and make recommendations for changes that would take into account past participation, industry trends and overall fan experience.
The committee was chaired by Jennifer Bingham and consisted of Nathan Clark, Justin Jenne’, Laurie Toone, Howard Hamilton and Amy Trimble. “We can’t thank the members of this committee enough for their hard work and how much thought and time they put into this task. We weren’t able to take all of the recommendations but we were able to incorporate most of them and our show will benefit as a result,” said board member Jeffrey Howard.
The committee released a tentative class sheet earlier this year and during the comment period the Celebration received over 70 comments regarding the schedule. “We were pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the number of comments and the overall interest level we received,” said Celebration Director of Operations Connie Allen.
The Celebration® will keep its committee in place and have them again look at the class sheet after this year’s show and make sure changes continue to reflect the areas of growth and participation levels. Classes that continue to have limited or declining participation will be looked at to eliminate and/or consolidate. “Our ultimate goal is to have the most competitive show we can have that is entertaining for our fans and ends at a reasonable time each evening,” concluded Howard.
Click here to view the schedule: