"It is that time of the year," just as John Ward used to say about the University of Tennessee football. But in this case, it is the beginning of the Walking Horse season.
The 42nd Annual National Walking Horse Trainers' Horse Show begins tonight and runs through Saturday, March 20. It is being held at the Calsonic Arena on the Historic Celebration grounds in Shelbyville. This four-night event always brings together great horses, trainers, owners, and fans from all across the country. Each session begins at 5:30 p.m.
There is over $40,000 in prize money to be divided among 85 classes. These classes consist of amateur, performance, youth, ladies, light-shod, plantation, show pleasure, ponies, performance and other types of horses. Twelve of the classes are WHAT Riders' Cup, which pays extra money to trainers at the end of the show season. The WHAT Championship Walking Horse Stake has prize money of $5,000 split in eight places with the champion winning $1,000.
The judges for the 42nd show will be Bill Cantrell and Jerry Collier, both of Alabama, and Steve Hankins of Virginia.
The Trainers' Auxillary will have a silent auction of various items of Walking Horse merchandise. A lot of horses that win at the trainers' show continue throughout the show season and become world champions in August at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.