Skip to content

Celebration Extends Thanks

Annual Dinner Given In Appreciation of Staff and Volunteers

by Ashlea Wheelon

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration hosted its annual Appreciation Dinner in honor of the many staff members and volunteers who make the Celebration such a special event. The 2008 version of the dinner took on a different “theme” as new Chief Executive Officer Doyle Meadows hosted a casual barbecue dinner at the Calsonic Arena.

Meadows gave the opening remarks as well as the reflections on 2008 since Chairman of the Board David Howard was unable to attend because of illness. Meadows thanked the staff for being such a positive face on the Celebration. “You are the face of the Celebration, not me,” said Meadows. “You are the reason our customers continue to come back to the Celebration.”

Meadows also addressed the tough decisions he has been forced to make in the wake of the trying economic times the country is currently enduring. “I have been forced to make some very tough decisions, decisions that I don’t like to make, but I don’t apologize for having to make those decisions. I am proud that these decisions will allow the Celebration to continue to be the heartbeat of this community and provide support to the walking horse community,” said Meadows.

Incoming Chairman of the Board Charles McDonald also addressed the many in attendance and spoke of his new position. “You don’t know how humbled I am to be introduced as the new Chairman of the Board of the Celebration,” said McDonald. In introducing McDonald, Meadows quoted board member Jim Allison: “Charles McDonald loves the Celebration.”

McDonald referenced the challenges facing the Celebration regarding reduced attendance, rising costs and negative press of the Tennessee Walking Horse. McDonald described the walking horse as “it is the most tried and true animal we have ever seen.”

Meadows and McDonald spoke to the tradition and historical significance of the Celebration and the commitment to continue and build upon that tradition. The Celebration is the longest running continuous event in the state of Tennessee, enjoying its 70th anniversary in 2008.

Virgil Johnson received the Celebration Ambassador award from past Chairman John T. Bobo for his many years of service to the Celebration. Johnson served on the Board of Directors at the Celebration and most recently served as interim CEO before the hiring of Meadows. “I can’t thank Virgil enough for what he has meant to me. He didn’t just baby-sit the Celebration, he moved it forward in the time before my hire and has been a tremendous asset to me in my job,” said Meadows. “You are a great friend and I appreciate you,” he said to Johnson.

More Stories

  • Southern Championship relocates for 2021

    For many years the Georgia Walking Horse Exhibitors Association has sponsored and operated the Southern Championship Charity Horse Show... Read More
  • Latest Issue WHYIR 20

    Read More
  • Latest Issue 3 1 31

    Read More
  • Walking In The Smokies stall deadline approaching

    The Walking In The Smokies Horse Show, scheduled for April 8-10, 2021, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is preparing for their first annual show and would like to send a reminder to anyone needing stalls that the deadline is March 15. Please contact Lexi Stinnett at 828-550-8520 to reserve stalls on the show grounds. Read More
  • Trainers' Show announces judges

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association National Trainers’ Show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. March 18-20, 2021. Judges for the three-day event will be Wayne Dean, Newton Parks and Johnny Puckett. Read More
  • USDA prepares for 2021 show season

    The USDA recently conducted their virtual HIO training course for the 2021 show season. The USDA and industry recently received the final report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and some of the recommendations in that report are communicated in the new processes the USDA will implement in 2021... Read More
  • WHOA hosts virtual awards ceremony

    On Saturday. February 20th, the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) held their National High Point awards for 2020 on their WHOA Facebook page with winners who chose to be zooming in to accept their awards... Read More
  • WHOA to host virtual awards ceremony on February 20

    The Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) will recognize their award winners from the 2020 show season during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, February 20, 2021. The show will be broadcast live on WHOA’s Facebook page beginning at 6 pm central time. Read More
  • FAST Spring Showcase announces judging panel

    The FAST Spring Showcase is pleased to announce that John Fikes, Newton Parks and Sam Sorrell will judge this years’ two-day event. The show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. April 16-17, 2021... Read More
  • Obituary – Kimberly Woods

    Kimberly Lynn Woods, age 47 departed this life on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky... Read More