SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The 65th Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has been named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society. It marks the 14th time in the last 15 years that The Celebration has been listed as a Top 20 Event.

“I couldn’t be more proud for The Celebration, our board, our staff, our community, and our industry,” said Celebration CEO Ron Thomas. “Once we were put on the list in 1988, it has been our goal to continue to work extremely hard to earn that honor again each and every year.”

The Southeast Tourism Society has published the Top 20 Events since 1985. Each month, 20 of the best events across the Southeast compete to be named a Top 20 Event. Southeast Tourism Society publishes the list of winners quarterly and sends the list to over 300 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, and others, as well as 125 AAA publications. The combined circulation runs into the millions. Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Events are also published on the Southeast Tourism Society web sites at and on

"The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is one of the treasures of the Southeast - a uniquely Southern festival that celebrates this majestic breed right in the heart of Tennessee horse country,” said Bill Hardman, President and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society. “We are proud to once again recognize the event as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for August 2003."

The Celebration began in 1939 and has grown to an event that draws nearly a quarter-million fans annually. The 2002 Celebration featured over 5,000 entries and distributed over $650,000 in prize money. To be nominated for a Top 20 Event, an event must be at least in its 3rd year and must have a minimum attendance of 1,000. Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society is dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism to its member states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitors bureaus, airlines, bus companies, car rental agencies, newspapers, magazines, and other travel related organizations.

The 65th annual Celebration is scheduled for August 20-30, 2003, at the Celebration Grounds in Shelbyville, Tenn. Ticket information can be obtained through the Celebration ticket office.