Left to right:  John Houston, TFC Feed and Animal Health Specialist, Celebration CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows, and Kim Smith, TFC Equine Specialist.

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - In a show of support for walking horse owners and their industry, Tennessee Farmers Cooperative is continuing its popular partnership with the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration  for the 2009 event, set for Aug. 26 through Sept. 5 in Shelbyville.

Last year, Co-op was named the "Official Feed of the Celebration," the first time such a designation has been awarded.  Along with that honor, TFC's "Premier Sponsor" status includes an extensive presence at the Celebration shows and trade fair and gives horse owners and visitors a chance to learn from TFC equine experts.

"This partnership has been extremely special for both the Celebration and Tennessee Farmers Cooperative," said Dr. Doyle Meadows, chief executive officer of the Celebration.  "I think the relationship has been beneficial for both organizations.  I'm excited to have Co-op as a major corporate sponsor for the Celebration again in 2009."

Aligning the Co-op name with the Celebration is helping TFC and member cooperatives build a stronger relationship with walking horse owners and trainers, says John Houston, TFC feed and animal health specialist.  This connection to the Celebration is especially meaningful for Houston, a Bedford County resident and longtime fan of the event.

"I am excited about Co-op's commitment to the equine industry, and I am even more excited that Co-op is the official feed of the Celebration," said Houston.  "The Celebration has been a part of my life for many years, and I'm looking forward to this year's show."

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration takes place each year during the 11 days and nights prior to Labor Day.  It is the premier event for the Tennessee walking horse, during which the breed's World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse and some 33 other World Grand Champions are crowned.  It is a festival event, encompassing exciting classes in competition where more than $700,000 in prizes and awards are given.  Other activities include a barn decorating contest, a trade fair and a dog show.

Throughout the event, Co-op feed experts will be on hand to answer questions on equine nutrition and Co-op horse feeds.  TFC and its members will also work together to promote the Celebration to equine enthusiasts and other
customers who shop at Co-op retail outlets across the state. 

In addition, TFC will provide educational opportunities after the Celebration is over.  This past January, TFC hosted a walking horse trainers meeting and luncheon at the Celebration grounds, and Kim Smith, TFC equine specialist, says the cooperative plans to offer a similar seminar again.

"This partnership shows that TFC is committed to the walking horse industry throughout the year," says Smith, "not just at Celebration time."

For more information and schedule of events, call 931-684-5915 or visit the Celebration's Web site at www.twhnc.com .

Co-op in Tennessee, recognized as one of the strongest federated farm supply cooperatives in the nation, includes TFC and its 58 member Co-ops that are locally owned by the farmers in their communities.  Co-op horse feeds are
manufactured in Tennessee at TFC's three state-of-the-art feed mills located in LaVergne, Jackson, and Tenco, near Knoxville.  For more information, visit online at www.ourcoop.com .