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State Honors World Grand Champion Winners

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens honored 2004 Walking Horse World Grand Champion owners Tom and Judy Waite and trainers Jimmy McConnell and Dan Waddell for their victory at last year’s National Celebration.

Givens recognized the Waites, McConnell and Waddell during a luncheon of industry leaders and supporters Feb. 14 in Nashville at Ellington Agricultural Center, headquarters for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Givens represented Governor Phil Bredesen at the event in what has become a tradition to recognize the contributions of the Walking Horse industry to the state.

"People throughout the world recognize and embrace the beauty, versatility and mild temperament of Tennessee Walkers," said Givens. "The National Celebration is not only a great experience and draws thousands of people from across the globe, but it also has a major economic impact on Middle Tennessee. We are fortunate to have this event and industry here in our state, and we want to do what we can to support it."

Charles Hulsey, executive director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association, presented an official portrait of World Grand Champion "The Black Night Shade" to Givens, who accepted it on behalf of Governor Bredesen. The portrait by photographer Jack Greene will be displayed in the historic Brentwood Hall mansion at Ellington Agricultural Center.

Senator Jim Tracy, Representative Curt Cobb, representatives of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association and the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, joined Givens in recognizing the guests of honor.

The Waites reside in Milton, FL. Trainer Jimmy McConnell of Union City was named the Walking Horse Trainers Association’s "2004 Trainer of the Year," and assistant trainer Dan Waddell was named "2004 Assistant Trainer of the Year."

State Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens received a portrait of 2004 Walking Horse World Grand Champion "The Black Night Shade" at a State luncheon honoring owners Tom and Judy Waite and trainer Jimmy McConnell. Givens is pictured with Tennessee Walking Horse industry leaders and representatives of state government. The event was held at Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville.

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