Tommy Hall, Ron Thomas, WHOA President Frank Neal

MURFREESBORO, TN: The Board of Directors of the Walking Horse Owners Association (WHOA) voted today to name Ron Thomas director of sponsorship development, effective January 1, 2010. Thomas will be charged with developing a sponsorship program and recruiting sponsors for the association and its horse show development program that was announced last month. Plans are for WHOA to sponsor 75 horse shows across the country in 2010. Last month you asked me to come up with a way for WHOA to raise money in order to fund our new endeavors.

“This is my recommendation,” prefaced WHOA President Frank Neal in his report to the Board. “With 75 shows being planned for next year, we can offer sponsors a great deal of national exposure, plus there are a lot of people in our industry who want to support what we are doing. I think Ron can put together a very lucrative sponsorship program for our association. Thomas' company, Clear Solutions, will work on commission basis.

"It will be very exciting to work with WHOA to help them implement new goals and initiatives. A strong representation of owners is critical to the success of our industry,” said Thomas. Thomas served as CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration for 24 years. During his tenure he created the event’s sponsorship program, which raised over $16 million in revenue. For the past two years he has been under a non compete agreement, which expires this month.

He feels strongly that the industry is judged by what happens at the Celebration each year and should do everything possible to ensure its success. “All involved in showing Tennessee Walking Horses should do everything possible to help keep The Celebration as ®the “world’s greatest horse show. Our national championship show is fueled by the success of all horse shows during the year. As WHOA’s shows, including the International Grand Championship, grow and are more successful, The Celebration will also benefit. I look forward to the opportunity and the challenge of helping improve show ring success and participation.”