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Celebration Making Security Upgrades



Copyright WHR 2007

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration plans to make several security upgrades for its 69th annual world championship horse show. The changes will be centered around access to the warm-up and inspection areas.

Issues surrounding the 2006 Celebration prompted the moves.

“We never want to experience some of the things we experienced last year,” said Celebration CEO Ron Thomas. “Our staff and board of directors took a long, hard look at the events of the first Friday night and final Saturday night and we plan to take action.”

Thomas explained that one of the key issues that seemed to escalate problems in the inspection area were groups of individuals with no direct need to be there.

“The only people that should be in that area are the trainers, grooms, and riders for classes in that particular session,” Thomas said. “I truly believe we could have worked through some of the issues we faced had it not been for people being back there that should not have been.”

The Celebration plans to make several changes that will restrict access to that area to only those with proper identification. This will include providing identification badges for trainers and grooms that make entries at The Celebration. There will also be identification credentials issued for riders that will allow them into the area no more than three classes prior to their scheduled class. In addition, The Celebration will make sure there is sufficient manpower to secure the entrances to this area.

“It’s not an easy job when you have nearly 5,000 entries come through those doors in eleven days and nights,” Thomas added. “We will devote the resources necessary to make sure all of our exhibitors have a safe and enjoyable experience.”

The Celebration has provided its own security for this area. It is also looking at other options.

“We’re looking hard at contracting with an outside security provider,” said Thomas. “No matter who is manning the doors, it will be imperative that the trainers, grooms, and riders have the proper identification and take these security measures as seriously as we do.”

Thomas went on to say that violators may be removed from the area and prosecuted. More details on the program and exactly how it will work will be released in the near future.

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