SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. -   The second year of initiatives and programs designed to improve the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® comes to a close with polygraph test results being released for Celebration show management, judges, and Designated Qualified Persons.

The tests were conducted in late September and October.  A total of 17 individuals were examined and each signed a release prior to the examination acknowledging their consent to be examined.  The testing was done by Mr. Robert Campbell, a retired Federal polygraph examiner and a past president of the Tennessee Polygraph Association.  Questions ranged from general information to set a baseline to questions that dealt with each individual’s job performance at The Celebration®.

“Our board of directors feel these tests are a positive statement regarding the fairness of our event and adding another layer of confidence and transparency to our exhibitors, ticket holders and the outside world”, said Celebration CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows.  “I am confident these examinations will go a long way in accomplishing that”.

“It is my opinion that there was no information gathered during the polygraph examinations of DQP’s, show management or judges which showed an involvement by anyone during the 2008 Celebration that harmed the fairness of the competition”, said Campbell.

However, as a result of the polygraph investigation a judge reported an inappropriate contact.  Nathan Clark Celebration judge from Arab, Alabama reported that Tommy Stewart also of Arab, made an inappropriate contact to him regarding previously judged classes and classes that had not yet shown.  For failure to report an inappropriate contact in a timely manner, Nathan will not be considered as a judge for the 2009 Fun Show and Celebration, and the rule violation will be reported to the National Horse Show Commission.  Tommy Stewart will be suspended and will not be permitted on the TWHNC® grounds for three years for any event or activity.  In addition he will also be reported to the National Horse Show Commission.

Additionally, The Celebration® issued two letters to individuals cautioning them of inappropriate comments they made at The Celebration®.

Celebration CEO Meadows said, “I applaud Nathan and think he has a tremendous future as a judge in our industry.  He did a great job in center ring and I look forward to him judging The Celebration® again.  Ultimately, this will only improve his credibility and respect in our industry”.

The polygraph examinations were directed toward the fairness and integrity of the completion at the 2008 Celebration.  Officials of the world championship event said the testing protocol is directed toward bolstering confidence in the overall integrity of the event.

The testing procedure was part of an overall plan announced in 2007 and expanded this year that was designed to ensure the health and safety of participating animals, compliance with the Horse Protection Act, and show integrity.

In addition to polygraph examinations, The Celebration® was in its second year of a random drug screening program and eliminating the use of syringes on the Grounds by anyone other than a licensed veterinarian.  Within the inspection area, hoof testers were used to detect any evidence of improper shoeing and selected flat-shod entries were required to have their shoes removed, inspected, and weighed following championship competition.  The Celebration® expanded its drug testing program to include eye exams this year.

The Celebration® also continued a more stringent overall security plan that included identification credentials for only those individuals allowed in the inspection area.