Skip to content

Shorter Celebration Night Performances?

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The fall and winter months at the historic Celebration Grounds in Shelbyville, Tenn., are times of review and planning. That’s no different this year with a considerable amount of time being spent on customer concerns and the like.

One of the most often heard concerns by ticket holders, exhibitors and owners, was the length of performances.

Recently, Celebration CEO Ron Thomas and the Celebration Board of Directors met with members of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Board of Directors to discuss the issue. Prior to the meeting, the Celebration staff researched each and every class from the 2003 Celebration from a time perspective.

Some of the results were startling. During the 11 days and nights of the show (excluding the TWHBEA Futurity) 79 timeouts were called due to equipment problems. The total length of these timeouts was 6 hours, 4 minutes, and 25 seconds, or an average of 5:01 per timeout.

Of particular interest was the opening night of the show, Thursday, Aug. 30. That evening, the performance ended at 12:58 a.m., but had a total of 15 timeouts that totaled nearly 69 minutes. The elimination of these timeouts would have had the show end at approximately 11:45 p.m.

“The number of timeouts is a concern for all parties involved,” said Celebration CEO Ron Thomas. “Everyone understands that a show with 185 classes and over 5,000 entries needs to keep moving. It is in the best interest for everyone to get the evening performances over between 11:00 p.m. and midnight each night.”

Further review of the timeouts called at the Celebration breaks down as follows: 23 for tail braces, 22 for thrown shoes, 6 for breast straps, 6 for action devices, 6 for stirrups, 4 for broken bands, 4 for broken bridles and 9 for various other equipment problems.

The two boards discussed possible solutions to the problem. One of the most-discussed solutions was to eliminate all timeouts in preliminary classes, but allow an excused entry (due to equipment failure) to return for championship competition.

This potential rule change would not affect timeouts during championship classes, where current timeout rules would still apply. Only 11 timeouts were called on the three championship nights for a total of 53:54, or an average of less than 18 minutes per night.

“There were several scenarios put on the table to get the evening performances over earlier,” explained Thomas. “Modifying the timeout rules was clearly the most attractive to all parties involved. Others included the simple elimination of some evening classes and the possibility of moving some padded classes to Champions Arena during the daytime.”

“We want The Celebration to be an ‘inclusive’ show, not exclusive,” said Celebration board chairman Pat Marsh. “Our discussion with the Trainers’ board was a great first step in moving forward toward finding a solution that works for everybody, most importantly the customers that have made The Celebration the great spectacle that it has become.”

Both groups will continue to study the situation and work on a possible solution.


Session Number Total Time

Wednesday a.m. 5 27:02

Thursday a.m. 5 31:17

Thursday p.m. 15 68:35

Friday a.m. 0 0:00

Friday p.m. 5 13:56

Saturday a.m. 0 0:00

Saturday p.m. 5 21:37

Sunday p.m. 7 14:12

Monday a.m. 1 2:03

Monday p.m. 11 47:12

Tuesday p.m. 8 39:35

Wednesday p.m. 6 21:28

Thursday p.m. 2 5:24

Friday p.m. 5 23:55

Saturday p.m. 4 24:35

More Stories

  • Obituary – Sam Hartsell

    Sam “Shot” Hartsell, age 74, of Newport, passed away Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Knoxville. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nan Hartsell and parents, Floyd and Viola McMahan Hartsell... Read More
  • WHOA announces International judging panel

    The Walking Horse Owners' is pleased to announce the three judges selected by current WHOA members. Charlie Brown, Shelli MeHaffey and Lonnie Messick will officiate the 40th Annual International Pleasure & Colt Championship.

    Read More
  • Savannah Lions Club adds classes

    The 52nd Annual Savannah Lions Club Show, scheduled for June 23 at 6:30 pm, has added two classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • Scrivner selected to judge Mid-South

    The Mid-South Walking Horse Association Show, scheduled for July 14, has selected Dickie Scrivner of Murfreesboro, Tennessee to mark the cards for this year's event. The show will be held at Pugh Bourne Park in Jackson, Tennessee.  Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Gen’s Armed & Dangerous

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of Gen’s Armed and Dangerous. The beautiful stallion was the 1994 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion. Read More
  • Ohio Valley adds class

    Ohio Valley Walking Horse Association show, scheduled for June 23 in Stanford, Kentucky, has added a 4 and Under Trail Pleasure to their show.  Read More
  • Walking For Hope Show updates

    The Walking For Hope show, scheduled for June 16, has selected Chris Zahnd to judge this year’s event. Originally scheduled to start at 4:00, the show will start at 5:00 pm. Read More
  • WHOA Versatility revises class schedule

    The Walking Horse Owners Association has added 5 classes to its June 16 show scheduled at Tennessee Tech, Hyder-Burk Facility in Cookeville, TN. The show starts at 10 am and is a casual dress show (boots, long pants, shirts with a collar) and "Youth 11 and Under" are required to wear a safety helmet. Read More
  • Putnam Co. Fair selects judge

    The Putnam County Fair and Upper Cumberland Walking Horse Association are pleased to announce that Newton Parks of Murfreesboro, Tennessee will judge this year’s event... Read More
  • Wartrace selects judge

    The 112th Anniversary Wartrace Horse Show has selected John Fikes of Hamilton, Alabama to judge this year's event and has released their class schedule... Read More