Posted May 29, 2002
LEWISBURG, Tenn. - Bob Cherry will retire as TWHBEA Executive Director at the end of the year. His official announcement came during the association's semi-annual board of directors meetings on May 25, 2002, and will become effective on December 31, 2002.

Having held the position since March 11, 1991, Cherry is the longest running executive director in TWHBEA history.

"In the year 2000, I promised myself, and my family, that I would retire by the end of that year," said Cherry. "However, as the end of that year grew near, I simply could not resist the opportunities presented by the challenges of the ensuing year."

Having recently come to the realization that the challenges are never-ending, he announced that he is moving on to his next venture, that of relaxing and spending time with his family.

During his tenure, both TWHBEA and the breed itself experienced unprecedented growth. Among his first official actions was the creation of a marketing department. His belief in the power of promotion and his commitment to aggressively market the breed, both nationally and internationally, no doubt contributed to this growth. A number of key staff positions were created in response to the growth, and major office renovations took place, including the construction of the TWHBEA meeting annex.

Under Cherry's leadership, TWHBEA significantly expanded and modernized its computerized records. Each staff member now has access to state-of-the-art equipment, and association members can view more breed information than ever before via the TWHBEA website. In addition, through the creation of IPEDs, members are now able to obtain a variety of records on all of the more than 400,000 horses in the TWHBEA registry system.

In 1997, TWHBEA became the first breed registry to end the practice of grandfathering and require parentage verification on all horses, thus guaranteeing the authenticity of all future pedigrees. Registration certificates were redesigned and made more convenient, and the issuance of blood typing kits was brought in-house for better customer service.

"I've served eight years on the TWHBEA board and spent three of them on the executive committee," said TWHBEA President Robert Thomas, "and I appreciate everything Bob Cherry has done on behalf of the breeders' association. He's always been a class act and a tremendous ambassador for the Tennessee Walking Horse. He will certainly be replaced, but Bob Cherry's mark will be indelibly placed on the association forever."

During his announcement, Cherry publicly thanked the board and the executive committee for the opportunity to serve, and called it " a wonderful and richly rewarding experience."