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Celebration Judges Selected After Thorough Process

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration annually crowns the breed’s World and World Grand Champions at The Celebration.  Each year, The Celebration selects the judging panel based on a set of criteria and after careful consideration.  In an effort to be as inclusive and transparent as possible, The Celebration would like to outline the criteria each judge must meet.

The Celebration currently affiliates with the SHOW Horse Industry Organization so each judge must be licensed by the SHOW HIO.  The SHOW HIO currently has 82 judges.  In order to judge the Celebration, the judge must be a Triple A or Quadruple A judge as determined by the SHOW HIO.  There are currently 72 Triple or Quadruple A judges with SHOW.

To be considered a Triple A judge with SHOW, the judge must hold a SHOW license for three years and have judged at least twelve shows during his or her lifetime. The AAAA must be certified and licensed in all divisions.  The AAAA judge must have judged a minimum of 5 shows in his or her lifetime to include each division of performance, pleasure, versatility, and equitation.  

The Celebration will contact each Triple A judge and seek their availability to judge this year’s Celebration.  In addition, the Celebration will seek input on those Triple A judges from the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association, the board of directors of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association, and the board of directors of the Walking Horse Owners’ Association.

The Celebration Board of Directors appoints a judges’ committee each year that analyzes the input received from the surveys returned, as well as other criteria, and then makes a recommendation to the full board for a vote.  The judges’ committee looks at each candidate’s history at previous Celebration events, other major horse shows, involvement in the industry, current employment as well as their overall character and honesty as a judge.

The Celebration is happy to consider input from exhibitors at its shows.  Any concerned exhibitor that would like to submit feedback on a particular judge is encouraged to do so in letter form with their signature included.  The Celebration encourages both positive input and concerns to be submitted if an exhibitor feels strongly.

The Celebration considers it an honor to crown the best in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry as World and World Grand Champions.  Every judge selected to judge this premier event should be honored and held to the highest possible standards.

The Celebration also incorporates the high-low Olympic judging system contained in the SHOW Rulebook that throws the high and low tie for each horse out and calculates their total on the three remaining cards.  The system is intended to provide the most equitable tie for each class.

The 78th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be held August 24th through September 3rd.  For more information, please visit 

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