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Celebration Comments On Futurity Negotiations



The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® was involved in negotiations (for several months) with the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association as well as the National Horse Show Commission that would allow the TWHBEA National Futurity to remain under the same management agreement that it has enjoyed for nearly twenty years.



“We were greatly disappointed that the annual TWHBEA National Futurity could not continue as it has for twenty years.  Celebration officials made every possible effort to negotiate an agreement between the TWHBEA and NHSC, to no avail.

  Since agreeing on which rulebook to use was the only sticking point to a successful agreement, it appeared for a while that this obstacle could be overcome.  The two rulebooks almost "mirror" each other, but the TWHBEA demanded that its rulebook be followed; the NHSC demanded the same.  In the end, this issue was the killer.

  The Celebration had agreed to manage the National Futurity as previously held and merely use both rulebooks, since they are virtually one and the same.  Ultimately, neither group would agree to this.

  With both sides deadlocked, Celebration officials were concerned about moving further in a management role, fearing that the NHSC might revoke the licenses of the Celebration judging panel after the Futurity (if the TWHBEA rulebook was used in any manner).  This would have put The Celebration in the precarious position of having no judges and would undoubtedly bring undue negative press and attention to the show and to an industry that needs to send all the positive messages it possibly can.  Ultimately, our top priority was to protect The Celebration, its judging panel, exhibitors, and fans.  Unfortunately, we had no choice but to back away from managing the National Futurity.

  Bottom line, The Celebration clearly communicated to the TWHBEA that it would agree to manage the National Futurity IF, and only if, the TWHBEA and NHSC could reach an amicable agreement.  That did not happen.”

Here is a recapitulation of the activities of the spring and summer regarding this matter.

· In April, TWHBEA indicated to The Celebration® that they would affiliate the National Futurity with their own HIO.

· Later there was concern that classes in the National Futurity would not serve as qualifying classes for The Celebration®, and Celebration staff would not be managing their show. Discussions between The Celebration® and TWHBEA began on how this could be resolved.

· Over the next three months, David Howard and Ron Thomas had several conference calls with Jerrold Pedigo and Craig Evans concerning sanctioning and management issues involving the National Futurity.

· During the same period of time, Ron Thomas had multiple conversations with Chuck Cadle on these and other topics

· After much discussion and compromise, The Celebration® approached the NHSC asking if (a) the Celebration judges could judge the Futurity, and (b) allow one NHSC DQP to work this event. The NHSC said yes the Judges could judge as long as they used the NHSC Rule Book. The DQP could not work the event.

· This information was conveyed to TWHBEA and at that time they stated that their rulebook was “almost identical” and the rulebook should not be an issue.

· A news release was issued (by The Celebration®) on June 12 conveying the negotiated points among the three groups. The parties agree on all points except for which Rule Book would be used. The Celebration® was hopeful a compromise would be reached on this point between the TWHBEA and NHSC.

· In the meantime, another news release was issued by The Celebration® , announcing an agreement with the TWHBEA on the date and location of the National Futurity and relaying its wishes that TWHBEA and NHSC could reach a compromise on the one outstanding point (Rule Book) that would allow Futurity classes to continue as qualifying classes for The Celebration®

· The NHSC was, and has remained, adamant that the Celebration Judges would not be allowed to judge unless the NHSC Rule Book was used. There was no gray area here.

· At this point, The Celebration® felt it had no choice but to withdraw from managing their event. The Celebration® could not allow any controversy to happen on Futurity night.

· TWHBEA asked for the right for use of 3 or 4 Celebration center ring personnel to help with their show. Permission was granted.

· The Celebration® deeply regrets that the Futurity could not be held like it has been for the past twenty years. Compromise on the part of either the NHSC or TWHBEA could have avoided this unfortunate outcome, but that compromise never developed.

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