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Record Entries At 65th Celebration



The 65th Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be the largest ever, with a record number of entries being made for the 11-day show. Celebration officials announced Thursday that the total number of entries is 4,914.

This year’s total is 120 more than last year’s pre-show entry record of 4,794.

“It is extremely gratifying to post a record number of entries,” said Celebration CEO Ron Thomas. “The credit for that goes to all of the owners, trainers, and exhibitors from across the country that have helped make the Celebration exactly what it is, the World’s Greatest Horse Show.”

The 2002 Celebration saw its first-ever four-way split of a class due to entries. Again this year, the Two-Year-Old Walking Stallions will be divided into four divisions. In addition, three other classes have been split into three divisions due to a high number of entries. That number is up from only one three-way split last year. Those classes with three-way splits are Owner-Amateur Youth Riders on Walking Geldings, Riders 11 and Under, Three-Year-Old Walking Stallions, and Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Walking Mares or Geldings.

“This speaks to the overall health of the industry,” said Thomas. “Our record number of two-year-olds is trickling up to the three-year-olds this year and we expect that it will continue into the four-year-olds next year.”

Besides the two-year olds, the main areas of growth this year were in the youth divisions and in the trail pleasure divisions.

“We are extremely happy to see the growth in the youth division,” reported Thomas. “There had been some concerns about the lack of growth in that area. These are the horsemen and horsewomen of the future that will grow the breed and the industry. Of all the areas we’ve seen growth this year, this is by far the most encouraging.”

Stall requests are also up this year meaning the historic Celebration grounds will be bursting at the seams with the world’s greatest show horses.

The Celebration is the longest continually-running event in the state of Tennessee and the 2003 edition kicks off with morning classes on Wednesday, August, 20th and the TWHBEA National Futurity that night in Calsonic Arena. The initial night performance in the outdoor Celebration Arena will be on Thursday night.

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