The Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show and Music Festival is proud to announce that Ben Lee of Statesboro, Georgia, has joined the team of the Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show and Music Festival as the new executive director. Lee is an Auburn University graduate with a BS in Agricultural Business and Economics and a Master of Business Administration. He also graduated from the International Cotton Institute at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN.

Lee is no stranger to agriculture having been brought up on a diversified family farm 30 miles west of Savannah, Georgia. He has managed his family’s beef cattle operation for the past 8 years and has also worked in agricultural chemical sales. Ben has spent time working in many different aspects of government in Washington, D.C. and with the Georgia Legislature in Atlanta, Ga.

Martha Blackmon Milligan, President, said the Gulf Coast Horse Show “is lucky to have a young man of Ben’s caliber and experience. He will be an asset to the show and everyone will love him. In the few short weeks he’s been with us, he’s already learned more than I believe most could learn in a year. He seems to really love the horse shows and the people he has met in the industry. We hope the horse industry will embrace him because not only will he be an asset to our show, he will be an asset to the Walking Horse in general."

The new location of the Gulf Coast Horse Show and Music Festival will be Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, Fla. This location will be across Back Beach Road from the old location of Aaron Bessant Park.

There is also a new class added to the show. Thanks to the National Distributing Company of Pensacola, Florida and Piper Hiedseick there will be a champagne performance class. This will be a $1000 winner take all class. The smoothness of the horse and steadiness of the rider's hand will determine the winner. Riders must be 21 years of age or older to enter.

Ben states, “The first horse show I ever attended was the first Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show and Music Festival. After that I have been hooked on Tennessee Walking Horses and when given the opportunity to join the industry, I knew it was something I would enjoy doing and it could be a lifelong career helping build this show as well as the industry. In the few short weeks of being actively involved in the industry, I am convinced that the people in the Walking Horse industry are among the cream of the crop. I am proud to have my name associated with such a respected group of people. I look forward to meeting everyone throughout the industry and bringing new people to our industry that now occupies a large portion of my heart.

"We look forward to having everyone join us at the “world’s most beautiful beaches” for the Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show and Music Festival, April 24-26, 2003.”