World Grand Champion in 1961
B. Major Wilson  #530658

For the first time in the history of the Celebration, a horse and rider team which had won in the amateur division came back in the Grand Championship Walking Horse Stake to win the title, the tri-colored championship ribbon, the silver and the glory.   Major Wilson with owner, Claude Brown, up had won the event for amateur-owned and exhibited walking stallions on Tuesday night as a preliminary prior to the stake class.

Sire of Major Wilson was Midnight Major. His dam, Lady Fly, traced back to Giovanni blood.  Owned by Claude Brown, a long-time breeder, dealer and exhibitor of Tennessee Walking Horses from Morehead, Kentucky, Major Wilson was bred, foaled, raised and trained at the Claude Brown Stables there.   Major Wilson was not shown during the entire 1961 season prior to the Celebration but instead was carefully groomed and especially trained with only one thought in mind-having the horse at his peak during Celebration week.

That such a regimen was successfully calculated is evident, not only by the decision of the judges, but also by the acclaim of the thousands of spectators who witnessed the competition.   The choice of Major Wilson was one of the most popular Grand Championship awards ever made at the Celebration.   The tremendous ovation given the winning pair as they circled the ring immediately after Vice President L. B. Johnson had placed the floral horseshoe on the champion's gleaming neck indicated the crowd's appreciation of a magnificent and true-going Tennessee Walking Horse that stayed "right" through one of the longest and hardest stake classes of all times.

Claude Brown and Major Wilson

Claude Brown and Major Wilson showed as a team exclusively in the amateur division at the 1960 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and successfully defeated a strong field of amateur mounts and riders that year to be crowned 1960 Amateur Champions.   Major Wilson has had a strong following of fans since he began his show ring career and had been among the top winners at the Celebration in prior years.   In 1957 he finished fifth in the Grand Championship Walking Horse Stake.   He was third there in 1958 and sixth in 1959.

Immediately following the 1961 Celebration Horse Show, owner Claude Brown announced that he was retiring Major Wilson from the show ring except for exhibitions.

Major Wilson was heralded as the greatest amateur-trained and exhibited Tennessee Walking Horse ever exhibited at the Celebration.

This win by Claude Brown was only the second time in history that an amateur owner-rider was winner of the big stake.   Colonel J. L. Haynes was the only other previous amateur winner showing Haynes Peacock in 1940 and 1941.   Colonel Jack exhibited only in the open preliminary classes however, for, in those days, the Celebration had no events for amateurs.

Major Wilson established another Celebration "first" by being the oldest stallion to ever win the Celebration's Grand Championship. He was a nine-year-old at the time.

Claude Brown was the second amateur to win the Celebration's big stake. Major Wilson qualified for the big stake by winning the amateur-owner stallion event on the previous Tuesday.

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If you have a story or photos of B. Major Wilson that you would like added to this page, 
please forward them to Walkers West.

----- Original Message -----
From: Martina Wagoner
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:44 AM
Subject: "Major Wilson"

I have just read over "Major Wilson's" history and training and would like to add the following:

Your article mentions that the horse was trained and raised in Claude Brown's stables. However I know that this information is incorrect - this horse was actually bought in Mount Sterling, Ky and trained by Arthur L. DeAtley BEFORE being sold to Claude Brown!

Arthur DeAtley was my Grandfather and was a noted and well known horse trainer who produced several champion Tennessee Walkers during his career.

James D. Dillon

<==1960   1962==>


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