Random Thoughts on Celebration 2007



By David L. Howard


Opening Night

            Opening night is always special at The Celebration and this year a little more than usual. In light of what happened last year at the end of the show, the sight of the American flag and Bud Seaton on Counterfeit Dollar entering the ring carried a little extra meaning for everyone involved with this breed.

            Even better, it was certainly good to see 15 youngsters come in for the first class and all of the remaining classes filled to expectations. Actual attendance was down 1,261 with 10,416 coming through the gates compared to 11,680 a year ago, a decline of approximately 10%. Those numbers can change dramatically from night to night and will improve as the show moves along and the weather gets a little cooler.

            Thursday night was special and we need nine more nights like it. The results of this year’s show will have a profound effect on the future of this industry and we all need to do our part to make it a great Celebration.



Thursday Night  Highlights

            I am getting to watch a lot more of the show this year with the restrictions on going into the warm-up and inspection areas and I like what I am seeing. Some of my personal highlights.


            Gary Edwards return to The Celebration and the winner’s circle after a ten year absence . . . how I loved hearing his name called out. Gary campaigned my stake horse years ago – Generator’s Uno -  and it was one of my most rewarding horse experiences. As good a trainer as Gary is, he is an even better person and I am proud to call him my friend.


            Knox and Stacy Blackburn turned a potentially dangerous day into a rousing success. Earlier Stacy was in an automobile accident when a driver crossed over into her lane and hit the side of her car. Tough as nails, Stacy showed that night and never missed a beat.


            Knox had a banner night with four of his horses earning the roses, a great start to the week for this talented horseman.


            Patti Pollack was a busy lady showing four times Thursday – once in the morning and three times that night winning two blue ribbons. Someone needs to tell her how hot it is.


            Sue Ann Dowell won her third straight blue ribbon on The Indy 500 in sparkling fashion . . . Thom Meek gave a wonderful exhibition on how to show a horse as he won with The Phantom Menace in a very competitive class . . . and Clay Mills captured two blue ribbons the first day, one in the morning and one in the evening.




A Tough Call

            As you have no doubt noticed, the judging panel closely observes the horses as they enter the ring before assuming their respective judging positions. Occasionally, an entry is asked to leave before the class gets called to order when the panel determines that their appearance does not represent the proper image in the show ring.

            This has happened several times and the message is being sent that there is no place for a “bad image” in front of this group of men.

            It sounds like a simple thing to do but I can assure you it takes real courage to send an entry out of the ring. They could just as easily say “Well, he passed inspection” and so forth, but they have taken this responsibility to the show, the industry and themselves seriously and are doing the right thing. They deserve our congratulations!




Dickie Woods

            Dickie Woods, formerly one of west Tennessee’s finest horsemen passed away Thursday. As his friend and former show ring competitor Russell Pate put it, “The doctors said he should have been dead a week ago, but he was tough as nails.”

            Dickie has not been as active in recent years, but he is fondly remembered by his many friends.



New Rules for 2007 (Compliments of Terry Lowman)

            Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it, it doesn’t make you spiritual, particularly if it is just above your butt. The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren’t pregnant.



T Shirts and Bumper Stickers


“No wonder you always go home alone.”


“A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.”