SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The year 1976 was an important one for women in the walking horse industry – Judy Martin claimed the floral horseshoe on Shades of Carbon and was crowned World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse at The Celebration and Betty Rutledge began her long and faithful career at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. Friday, February 13, 2009 was her final day as Accounting Manager at The Celebration.

Betty Rutledge’s first day at The Celebration was February 23, 1976. Celebration Executive Director Bill Tune hired Mrs. Rutledge to assist Office Manager Mrs. Ruby Robinson in the ticket office. Mrs. Rutledge’s first four years were spent working in the ticket office assisting Celebration patrons with their Fun Show and Celebration ticket needs.

About four years after she began, Mrs. Rutledge was promoted to Accounting Manager upon Mrs. Robinson’s retirement. For nearly thirty years she has faithfully handled the variety of tasks that come with not only the day-to-day operation of the corporation, but also the tremendous amount of paperwork, forms, etc. that are associated with the World’s Greatest Horse Show, The Celebration.

Celebration CEO, Dr. Doyle Meadows stated "Others may have worked long and hard, but none have been more faithful to her job and organization than Betty Rutledge. The Celebration owes a great deal of gratitude to her and her family for her years of service and dedication."

In her honor, the Board of Directors hosted a reception in the Bob Garner Room on Thursday with over one hundred friends, family and fellow employees, current and past, paying tribute to her. Upon the occasion of her retirement Celebration Board Chairman Charles McDonald presented Mrs. Rutledge a championship tri-colored ribbon inscribed with her name and years of service. She also received several retirement gifts from her fellow employees, family and friends at The Celebration.
Retiring Accounting Manager Betty Rutledge displays the tri-colored championship ribbon presented to her by The Celebration Board of Directors. Making the presentation are (left to right) Director Jim Allison, Director Henry Hulan, Rutledge, Board Chairman Charles McDonald and Celebration CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows.

Although Mrs. Rutledge has no definite plans for her retirement, she will spend time with her husband William and their children Bart and Kristy and enjoy her grandchildren Brett and Keri Beth.