The Walking Horse Report recently sat down with Dr. Doyle Meadows, Celebration Chief Executive Officer, and asked several questions regarding the financial well-being of the Celebration. Recent news was made about the removal of five people from the Celebration full-time staff, including Public Relations Director and announcer Chip Walters. The Celebration issued a release regarding the staff changes but many in the horse community and Bedford County have asked about the financial stability of the Celebration.

The following is an excerpt from that released issued at the Celebration:

Meadows also indicated that all operational areas of the Celebration will be addressed and expenses reduced in all possible areas. This included not only full-time and part-time staff, but also outside contractors and vendors that provide goods and services to the Celebration. Meadows also indicated declining revenues for the last two years combined with increases in total expenses dictated these necessary cost cutting initiatives.

Meadows also said, “These moves were prompted so we can maintain a strong and healthy Celebration for the Shelbyville community and walking horse industry.”

WHR – Is the Celebration financially stable for the future?
DM – Absolutely, the Celebration is and will remain viable to support the walking horse industry. With two consecutive negative years (revenue growth), we don’t want to continue to have reduced revenue and increased expenses. We wanted to change our financial situation while we could and remain fiscally responsible to the horse industry.

WHR – Will we see a decline in services provided at the Celebration with the recent cutbacks?
DM – No. We will continue to do the things we have done in the past. We won’t have all the full-time resources we’ve had in the past but we will continue to work hard and provide these same services to the horse community.

WHR – With Chip Walters leaving the Celebration, who will be the announcer in 2009?
DM – I have made some initial contacts but no final agreement is made at this time. The new announcer will be released promptly.

WHR – Are you going to replace the Public Relations position?
DM – No, not as such. It is my intention to utilize contract people at our busy times in the show schedule (summer months).

WHR – Do you see Chip Walters playing any future role at the Celebration?
DM – He very well could be. Chip does a real good job with public relations and in fact is a very good horse show announcer. Depending on his availability he could very well be used in a supporting role for the Celebration. A lot of the people that help the Celebration are part-time contract laborers.

WHR – Did the post-show polygraphs have anything to do with his being relieved of his duties?
DM – No. Chip didn’t take a polygraph test. There was no need for him to nor was it ever intended for him to.