SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - Approximately 200 guests attended the annual Appreciation Dinner held November 14 in the Blue Ribbon Circle Club. People who played significant roles in the successful 2002 Celebration comprised most of those present.

“Tonight is always the highlight of the year,“ said David Howard, Celebration Board of Director.

“It gives us a chance to express our thanks to those who are very important to the success of the Celebration ....those who work so hard behind the scenes to make our event the smooth-running show that it is. It’s because of their experience, dedication and determination that we can host the greatest horse show in the world.”

Among the special guests that Howard recognized were Bob Cherry, Executive Director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association’ Ed Craig, Shelbyville City Manager; Kathy Prater, Bedford County Court Clerk; Bo Wilson and Eugene Ray, County Commissioners; Lee Russell, Judge; Geneva Smith, Shelbyville Mayor; Thomas Smith, General Session Clerk; Austin Swing, Chief of Police; Walt Wood, Executive Director of the Shelbyville/Bedford County Chamber of Commerce; and Jimmy Woodson, County Executive of Bedford County.

After kind words and thanks to the media for their fine coverage of events as well as news all through the year concerning the Celebration, Howard recognized the Media representatives who were present. They included Christy Parsons, Walking Horse Report; Rob McDonald, The Maryland Group; Kay Rose, Shelbyville Times Gazette; and David Kranich and P.J. Wamble, The Voice.

Howard recognized longtime Celebration ring master Mark Farrar who was in attendance after undergoing surgery a few weeks ago. Farrar was given a standing ovation for his years of service to the Celebration and to the Walking Horse industry.

Celebration Chairman of the Board of Directors Virgil Johnson brought the evening to a close. He said, “The Celebration is a great event and you all are a great group of people. That is one of the reasons that for 16 consecutive years the Celebration has been recognized as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society,”

Johnson awarded the door prizes ending the festive evening declared a triumph by all standards, as was its predecessor, the 2002 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.