Skip to content

Celebration Grounds Site of Bioterrorism Simulation



Compiled with information from the March 30, 2004, edition of The Tennessean

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture tested the response of local, state and federal officials to a simulated act of bioterrorism at a major horse show, March 30, 2004.

The event took place in Shelbyville, Tenn., the site of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration which attracts crowds of well over 20,000 per day during the 11-day show.

“Basically, this is a way that we can test the various agencies to see how we would respond if something did happen,” Tom Womack, spokesman for the department, told The Tennessean in a recent interview.

Over 100 people, including veterinarians, police, emergency medical workers and horse owners, were expected to attend the event, which was held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. March 30, 2004, at the Blue Ribbon Circle Club on the Celebration grounds.

Womack also said that while there has been no actual threat against the walking horse industry, the planners wanted the discussion to be as real as possible, which is why Shelbyville was chosen.

“This is a table-top discussion only, there’s no field exercise. The scenario will be read and the different groups will respond with what should be done,” Womack told The Tennessean.

Womack would not comment on what agent would be used in the simulation, but he did say that it would be harmful if not deadly to horses, would cause flulike symptoms in humans and would have an immediate impact.

The Shelbyville emergency preparedness simulation is the second one of its kind that the Department of Agriculture has conducted. A similar discussion was held in 2003 on the effects of foot-and-mouth disease on Tennessee’s cattle industry, according to Womack.

More Stories

  • Obituary – Sam Hartsell

    Sam “Shot” Hartsell, age 74, of Newport, passed away Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Knoxville. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nan Hartsell and parents, Floyd and Viola McMahan Hartsell... Read More
  • WHOA announces International judging panel

    The Walking Horse Owners' is pleased to announce the three judges selected by current WHOA members. Charlie Brown, Shelli MeHaffey and Lonnie Messick will officiate the 40th Annual International Pleasure & Colt Championship.

    Read More
  • Savannah Lions Club adds classes

    The 52nd Annual Savannah Lions Club Show, scheduled for June 23 at 6:30 pm, has added two classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • Scrivner selected to judge Mid-South

    The Mid-South Walking Horse Association Show, scheduled for July 14, has selected Dickie Scrivner of Murfreesboro, Tennessee to mark the cards for this year's event. The show will be held at Pugh Bourne Park in Jackson, Tennessee.  Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Gen’s Armed & Dangerous

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of Gen’s Armed and Dangerous. The beautiful stallion was the 1994 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion. Read More
  • Ohio Valley adds class

    Ohio Valley Walking Horse Association show, scheduled for June 23 in Stanford, Kentucky, has added a 4 and Under Trail Pleasure to their show.  Read More
  • Walking For Hope Show updates

    The Walking For Hope show, scheduled for June 16, has selected Chris Zahnd to judge this year’s event. Originally scheduled to start at 4:00, the show will start at 5:00 pm. Read More
  • WHOA Versatility revises class schedule

    The Walking Horse Owners Association has added 5 classes to its June 16 show scheduled at Tennessee Tech, Hyder-Burk Facility in Cookeville, TN. The show starts at 10 am and is a casual dress show (boots, long pants, shirts with a collar) and "Youth 11 and Under" are required to wear a safety helmet. Read More
  • Putnam Co. Fair selects judge

    The Putnam County Fair and Upper Cumberland Walking Horse Association are pleased to announce that Newton Parks of Murfreesboro, Tennessee will judge this year’s event... Read More
  • Wartrace selects judge

    The 112th Anniversary Wartrace Horse Show has selected John Fikes of Hamilton, Alabama to judge this year's event and has released their class schedule... Read More