Skip to content


Posted March 27, 2002
Gov. Don Sundquist has appointed Ron Thomas, CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, to serve on the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame board as a representative of Middle Tennessee. Thomas’ term begins immediately and runs through Feb. 28, 2004.

Thomas has been CEO of the Celebration, Tennessee’s longest-running event, since 1984. He was formerly an executive in the insurance industry. During his tenure at the Celebration, the event has experienced growth in many areas.

The Celebration grounds recently experienced a $4 million renovation. Included in the renovation are an elegant Celebration Plaza, a covered practice ring, 30 new state-of-the art barns, and a drainage system.

Thomas was the driving force behind the S.H.O.W. campaign that was introduced in 1998. The campaign, sound horses, honest judging, objective inspections and winning fairly focused on the values that guide the sport. It has been endorsed by all of the industry’s major groups. The growth in both paid attendance and horse entries has been phenomenal during the years since Thomas came on board.

But, his most illustrious accomplishment to date may be the success of the corporate sponsor program that he developed during his first year at the Celebration. The program enjoys more than 65 corporate sponsors, and to date has raised more than $10 million dollars in revenue for the event.

Celebration Board Chairman Virgil Johnson said, “It is gratifying to me, as a fan of this great horse, to see such a display of confidence from Gov. Sundquist in appointing Ron to the Sports Hall of Fame board. Ron’s dedication to the Celebration as well as to the walking horse industry is admirable. His vision and his drive join in making him a top CEO”

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, located in Nashville, is a nonprofit organization that was started to recognize the outstanding achievements of Tennesseans in the realm of sports and to perpetuate the memory of their careers.

Ryland Hoskins, executive director of the Sports Hall of Fame, said, “We’re extremely pleased to have someone with Ron Thomas’ expertise join our board. Ron is the first individual representing the walking horse industry to be appointed to this position. We are looking forward to what he can bring to the table.”

The members of the board are chosen in the following manner: Eight are chosen by the Governor, eight by the Lt. Governor, eight by the Speaker of the House, and the 25th members is always the State Treasurer of Tennessee.

More Stories

  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • Notice WHTA Members

    The 2020 WHTA Nominating Committee is composed of Brad Beard (Chairman), Jessica Hlebak and Russ Thompson. Anyone wishing his or her name be added as a candidate will need to notify the WHTA office or a member of the Nominating Committee no later than November 9, 2019 his or her intent to run for an officer or directorship... Read More
  • Updated venue for Saturday meeting

    The Walking Horse Trainers' Association's open meeting Saturday at 1:00PM has been moved to the main area of Calsonic Arena. The move is to allow for social distancing and the WHTA strongly encourages everyone to wear a mask at the meeting. Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Gen's Lady Topaz

    Gen’s Lady Topaz was humanely laid to rest on October 24th, 2020, just one week shy of her 27th birthday. She was one of only a handful of direct Pride’s Generator mares left. Gen's Lady Topaz was the matriarch of Rushing Creek Walker’s breeding program for many years and the ambassador to any visitors. Read More
  • Walking For The Angels revises class schedule

    The Walking For The Angels Horse Show, scheduled for Saturday, November 14, has added several classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • FAST Showcase revises class schedule

    The FAST Showcase, scheduled for Friday, November 13, has added three classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • WHTA to host open meeting October 31st

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association will host an open meeting on Saturday October 31st at 1:00PM at the Hall of Fame in Calsonic Arena. The meeting will be to present details on the proposed legislative amendments and have questions from industry participants answered.  Read More
  • Obituary – John Peels

    Mr. John Luther Peels, age 84, of Shelbyville, passed away Sunday, October 25, 2020, at his home under the loving care and comfort of his family and Willow Brook Hospice... Read More
  • Online entry system available for Celebration Fall Classic

    The Celebration has opened its online entry system for the Celebration Fall Classic, scheduled for November 5-7, in Calsonic Arena. The system will be available for entry from October 26–October 30... Read More
  • Latest Issue 10 26 20

    Read More