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Report Conversation - Terry Dotson

(Editor’s Note: The following Q&A took place between Walking Horse Report’s Sadie Fowler and Terry Dotson. Dotson, an owner and leader among the industry, owns Winding Creek Stables in Kingston, Tennessee and also owns Worldwide Equipment Enterprises, which operates in 6 states including 16 full-service dealerships and employs more than 900. He is a longstanding board member of the Performance Show Horse Association.)

Fowler: How would you describe your role in the horse industry? 

Dotson: My daughter was involved in the industry through showing and riding.  I got involved in an effort to try and help solve the outstanding issues and mistreatment by some government employees. I saw the things that were happening that were unfair … I have done my best to serve both to the benefit of the horse and industry … In 2010 I approached the Trainers’ Association and said, “We can fix this.” That’s when I started getting actively involved in trying to save the business because it does a lot of good things. 

Fowler: When was the first Celebration you attended and is there any specific moment that stands out from that first visit?

Dotson: The first visit was 2002 when we owned the World Grand Champion racking horse Unreal who was being exhibited. I was amazed at the crowd at that time. I had never been to Shelbyville and to see the size and magnitude of the show was amazing … I also enjoyed the camaraderie and happenings around the barns. I love people and I really enjoyed that aspect of it as well. 

Fowler: Besides horses, what’s your favorite aspect of Bedford County? 

Dotson: The people. I like people everywhere I go. Just common, good people and I don’t say that disrespectfully. I like to be around just good, solid people. 

Fowler: Through your roles at Pikeville University, your trucking company, as well as the industry, would is something you carry with you in any type of leadership role in which you serve?

Dotson: Leadership? It’s a really simple thing. You have to do the right thing. And you have to make sure people in front of you are doing the right thing. We’ve got to be clean then we can go to our friends in Washington and say “help us.” But we can’t do that until we are willing to be clean … I like to do things for the right reasons. In 1968 I was just a poor kid. Pikeville gave me a music scholarship in music. Thirty-one years ago they asked me to be on the board and we were broke. Since then …  (it’s done a complete turnaround). I’ve chaired their board for 31 years. You can make a difference if you do the right thing. I’ve gotten to know good people for doing good things. 

Fowler: What is something your horse friends might be surprised to learn about you? 

I have a bachelor’s of music education degree, play the trumpet. My father was in the motorcycle business so I rode motocross (for many years). 

Fowler: What is something you tell your non-horse friends about Shelbyville they find interesting?

Dotson: When people ask me I say it’s kind of like the quaint little towns in east Tennesee. I tell them that but I also tell them what I like about the horse industry is it’s a family thing for all ages. Where else do you see kids from ages four, five and six completing then in their same day people in their nineties. Plus, I tell them about all the clubs and associations that are involved.  It’s small town America at its best in Shelbyville. I hate to say it, but Nashville’s going to challenge that real soon … Just look at Atlanta 40 years ago and Nashville 10 years ago. 

Fowler: What’s your favorite junk food at the Celebration? 

Dotson: I’m always an ice cream freak so I try all that. We spend a lot of time in Blue Ribbon. Miller’s is our favorite place to eat. We go there two or three times while we’re there, then end up in Nashville a couple days, then we’re someone’s barn for a party. Before you know it your days are gone. 

If you could have dinner with any famous person who would it be and why? 

Dotson: This is probably a common answer but right now I would like to spend a little time with Donald Trump. There’s a lot of good things he’s doing if he would just shut his mouth. He was the CEO of something he built. It can be hard to separate yourself when you’re in public office. 

Fowler: What is one motto or phrase you live by and why? 

Dotson: Do the right thing by all people. The right thing is the right thing. It doesn’t change. It’s simple. When you’re wrong, admit it quickly. 

Fowler: What are your overall thoughts going into this year’s Celebration?
Dotson: With everything that seems to have happened this year I hope that maybe we have built a relationship with current APHIS that we can enjoy the show and have a good time and I hope we can. 

Fowler: Anything else you’d like to share with readers of the Celebration dailies? 

Dotson: I just want everybody to stay involved with their time, talent and treasure and help to permanently fix all the issues. 

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