Seven new members of the Celebration Association were brought on board at Tuesday’s annual meeting. The new members will bring enthusiasm and new ideas to the group but are faced with the challenge of replacing over a century of experience.

The new Association members are Ron Bell, Scott Johnson, Christy Parsons, Mike Rittenberry, Austin Swing, Jim Tracy, and Lisa Turner. All have been successful and have demonstrated their dedication to The Celebration and their community.

Their arrival means seven others are rotating off the Association’s roster. Those Association members provided a total of 102 years of service to the organization.

“It’s truly remarkable when you think of it in those terms,” said chairman David Howard. “Our Association members do what they do because they care about this community, this event, and the wonderful animals we showcase.”

Of the seven that rotate off, Bailey Little had the longest tenure and eventually was elected to the Celebration Board of Directors. Little was elected to the Association in 1975 and provided 33 years of service to the show. The other retiring members and their years of service include Garland King (17), Billy Hicks (5), Eugene Ray (17), the late Bob Rittenberry (13), and Bobby Vannatta (17).

“When you look at it in terms of their longevity, it truly shows their dedication,” said Howard. “We owe each of these individuals a debt of gratitude for sharing their time, talents, and experience to this event.”

The Celebration Association is the 40-person governing body of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. The Celebration Board of Directors is chosen from the pool of Association members.