To the 2002 Celebration Attendees,

Only this week have things slowed a bit since the Celebration in order that I might personally express my gratitude to each of you for helping to make my experience as this year's organist a memorable one.

When my good friend, Larry Bright, contacted me about possibly substituting for him this past August, I was very apprehensive to say the least. Knowing the level tradition has always played at the Celebration, I was unsure how I would be received sitting in the place Larry has so eloquently occupied for almost 20 years. However, my wife, Jackie, and I found Walking Horse Folks to be understanding and very gracious during our experience. The many compliments and kind words were very much appreciated. We observed first hand the caliber of people that make up the Walking Horse industry.

Hopefully, Larry will be back at Center ring in 2003. We talk together often and his prognosis is good. He told me before we loaded up to head to Shelbyville that having the opportunity to play the National Celebration would prove to be the grandest experience I could want as a horse show organist. He was right! And furthermore, I found that working with Walking Horse people is a privilege I shall never take for granted.

Charles Ritchie
Memphis, Tennessee