From The Desk Of The CEO

Q – Are any staff/contractor changes planned for 2008 Celebration?
A – When I took over as CEO, I made the decision to stay where we were through the 2008 Celebration. There had been enough change and turmoil and I didn’t want to create any more. All of our videographers, photographers and many of the vendors will return in 2008 in addition to our new corporate sponsors. We will have one new ringmaster and that is Tim Farrar. After the 2008 Celebration we will take a look at all of our contracts and staffing for the Celebration and I am sure there will be some changes. Also, at this year’s show, we will have Celebration licensed product for sale inside the arena at various points for our spectators to purchase.

Q – What is your role as CEO going to be during each performance of the 2008 Celebration?
A – My main objective is to make sure everything happens as it should. That is my ultimate goal. I want to continue the continuity with the staff and do what has been done in the past in center ring.

Q – Do you see yourself in years to come changing that role?
A – I definitely believe that the CEO doesn’t necessarily need to be in center ring for the entire show. We have sponsors, spectators, vendors and guests that need to be able to put a face with the Celebration and this should be the CEO. These people need assistance at the show and I need to make sure and make their experience a positive one. This could very likely change in the future.

Q – What are your thoughts on workouts in Celebration classes?
A – I am for workouts if they achieve getting horses placed in their correct positions and entertain the crowd. I believe that a good workout is healthy and can help in many classes. Now a workout just to have a workout, for instance with a class of just 16 horses, is probably not going to help achieve the above stated two goals and thus shouldn’t be done. As a spectator and CEO, I like a good workout.

Q – Has there been any thought to allowing crowd participation to judging with either hand-held electronic devices or cell phones?
A – Yes. I think this would be absolutely wonderful and help entertain our crowd, one of my major goals for the show. Walking horse fans are more vocal than other horse breed fans and I am always amazed at how knowledgeable our fans are at the Celebration. We need more crowd involvement and this is one potential way to achieve that, so it is definitely something in future years that we will consider. Obviously, the crowd’s placing would not be “official” but would be fun to compare with the judging panel.

Q – What are the employment policies regarding relatives of current employees and Celebration participants?
A – We have a new policy as of May 1, 2008, that no relative of a current Celebration employee can be employed by the Celebration. However, all current employees have been grandfathered in under the new policy. As for relatives of participants and/or walking horse trainers, they are not prohibited in any way from seeking employment at the Celebration.

Q – What is your reaction/response to the Equus Article that appeared in the June issue?
A – They (Equus Magazine) continue to look at one side and it is our fault because we do not spend enough time and effort with the media. We need to have them down here and court them to show them the other side of our great horse. We need to allow them to ride these horses and ask them to listen with an objective ear. Many facts are left out of the article and they never mentioned the many positive aspects of our outstanding trainers that take care of these horses.

Q – What has been your biggest problem?
A – Stall rentals. Who has stalls? Why do they have those stalls? Everything involved with this element of the Celebration has been a challenge. We are working on it now and will continue to work on it in the future. It will probably be after this year before we get anything done.  Regardless of anything in the past, the stall situation will be made fair and equitable in the future. It is important to note, no matter who has previously assigned stalls, no owner, trainer or anyone else owns a stall on the Celebration grounds. The Celebration owns the stalls and anyone using them is subject to those policies that govern their use.

Fact or Fiction – Box seats for the 2008 Celebration are sold out.
Fiction – In fact, box seats are available and can be purchased by calling the Celebration ticket office and Carolyn Reed at 931-684-5915.