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Allen honored with Evan Lloyd Adamson Humanitarian Award




(Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by announcer Mark Farrar Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at the 80th Annual Celebration.)

Ladies and gentlemen, The Celebration in conjunction with the family of the late Evan Lloyd Adamson, is proud to present our most prestigious award, the Evan Lloyd Adamson Humanitarian Award. This award is named in honor of Mr. Adamson, who was a very supportive of The Celebration and recognized The Celebration’s significant importance to the vitality of Shelbyville and Bedford County. He served as a Celebration board director, was a former ringmaster during The Celebration, and was a member of the Tennessee Walking Horse Association.

This award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated “outstanding service and commitment” to The Celebration. The person honored must be a Celebration and community volunteer, Celebration staff member, or staff member of an organization supportive of The Celebration.

The award recipient will receive a cash honorarium and will have their name inscribed on a plaque alongside the names of all previous recipients. This plaque hangs in the main lobby of The Celebration office.

The Celebration and the Adamson family are proud to announce the 2018 winner of this award, Connie Allen, director of office operations for The Celebration.

Connie Allen was born and raised in Wartrace, Tennessee. While her parents were never involved in the horse industry, Connie, like so many residents of Shelbyville and Bedford County, began attending The Celebration as a child. Connie began her 28-year career at The Celebration in 1990 as an administrative assistant.

Today Connie is the “go to” person for Celebration employees and board members, trainers, owners and exhibitors, vendors and contractors as well as box seat and general admission ticket holders. Connie is affectionately referred to as “the face of the Celebration.” Connie credits the late Dr. Nathan Thomas, board member and board chairman for guidance and encouragement early in her career with The Celebration and Virgil Johnson, Charles McDonald, and the late David Howard for their positive influence and support in more recent years. To quote Celebration CEO Mike Inman, “Connie’s experience and dedication to The Celebration combined with her longtime relationship with our sponsors, supporters, and patrons speak to the true asset she is to our organization and the walking horse industry as a whole.”

Celebration Board Chairman Charles McDonald says of Connie, “Few people realize how well Connie Allen is able to multi-task and take care of all the responsibilities shuffled her way from board of directors, the CEO, other staff members and patrons of The Celebration.”

While Connie Allen does not own, ride or train a Tennessee Walking Horse and could never imagine herself being in front of “all those people” in the big oval, she works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that all Celebration sponsored events, including the Tunica Fall Classic, but especially the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, run smoothly and are enjoyable experiences for all who attend these events.

Connie is very involved in the community, she serves on the board of directors of the Bedford County Cancer Society and as president of the Bedford County Cancer Foundation. She is a member of the Shelbyville Woman’s Club. In 2006 she was inducted into the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association’s Friendship Club for her many contributions to the walking horse industry. In 2011, she was named Bedford County Secretary of the Year for going above and beyond the stereotypical role of secretary and handling a variety of situations and people with professionalism and compassion.

Connie is married to Ralph Allen who owns a State Farm insurance agency in Shelbyville. Together they are faithful members of the Fairlane Church of Christ. Ralph is very supportive of Connie in her many Celebration related activities.

Ralph along with colleagues and friends Janice Fostek, Dr. Brittany Baum and Virgil Johnson join Connie tonight “in the big oval” as she accepts her award; an award unknown to her before this moment.

Making the presentation on behalf of the Adamson family is John Adamson from Memphis, Tennessee, son of the late Evan Lloyd Adamson, along with Celebration Board Chairman Charles McDonald.

Ladies and gentlemen, Connie Allen represents one of many individuals who consistently go above and beyond what is asked of them to make The Celebration special. Please join me as we applaud our 2018 Evan Lloyd Adamson Humanitarian Award recipient, Connie Allen.

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