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SHOW Hosts Industry Groups



SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The SHOW HIO hosted The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC), Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA), Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA), and Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) at its offices on Friday February 11, 2011.  The purpose of the meeting was to bring each association together to better understand the initiatives and goals of each as well as how all of the groups can work together to provide greater support for the industry.

Representing TWHNC were CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows and board chairman Henry Hulan.  In attendance for WHOA were President Kim Bennett and board member Deborah Williams while President Marty Irby and Vice President Margo Urad attended from TWHBEA.  President Bill Cantrell and 1st Vice President Chad Williams were in attendance from WHTA.  President Dr. Steve Mullins and DQP Coordinator Tony Edwards represented the SHOW HIO.

Frank Eichler was also at the meeting and gave a detailed presentation in advance of his industry stakeholder presentation on Friday February 18, 2011.  Before Eichler’s presentation Meadows gave the group an update on the Celebration and its continued decrease in revenue. 

Highlighting Meadows presentation were figures reflecting a decrease of $150,000 in stall rental income, $400,000 decline in box seat revenue and a decline of $120,000 in entry income in the last five years.  Meadows pointed out those totals were $670,000 in lost revenue in just the last five years.  “At the Celebration we simply can’t continue to host events and take on initiatives that lose us money,” said Meadows.  In addition to those losses the corporate sponsor program is down $350,000 in the same timeframe.

Meadows also pointed out that in two years the Celebration has funded SHOW to the tune of almost $500,000 and that it was continuing to look at ways to adopt a funding model for SHOW to become independent and not a part of The Celebration.

Eichler addressed the panel and spoke to the agenda for the industry update on February 18, 2011 but stressed that despite rumors SHOW would not agree to the mandated penalties by the USDA.  Eichler also pled with the attendees, “It is time for you to lead and tell your groups this is what we are going to do.”

Eichler also stressed that during any decertification process, including an appeal, SHOW would be operational and would inspect horse shows and continue with its 2011 rulebook.  Agreed upon by all in attendance and pointed out bluntly by Eichler, “If we don’t come together, we will fail.”  Also, Eichler spoke to the formation of a united industry association that would have representation from WHOA, TWHBEA and WHTA but also include independent leadership including AAEP veterinarians.

Each of the groups was very intrigued by the concept, had multiple questions and asked that Eichler make the presentation to their respective boards.  Eichler will speak to the WHTA on February 21 and to TWHBEA on February 26.  Each Organization agreed to initiate a Unified Show Development Committee, including representatives from those present as well as potential other industry associations, including state associations.

At the end of the meeting, it was agreed upon that future meetings would be held and that each group would continue to bring forth the goals of each association and reflect the best interests of their respective members.

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