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TWHBEA Executive Committee Holds September Meeting

LEWISBURG, Tenn. - The TWHBEA Executive Committee held a regularly scheduled monthly meeting on September 29, 2003, at the Association headquarters in Lewisburg, Tenn.

President Robert Thomas called the meeting to order and took the opportunity in his opening remarks to praise this year's Celebration, which he called "exceptional." He also commended the trainers for their efforts in making the Celebration a success.

Executive Director Charles Hulsey reported the year-to-date numbers from the registry department. First-time foal registrations are up 233 from last year, and revenue from registrations is up $18,584. Compared to last year, transfers are down 805, but transfer revenue is up $51,635. Memberships have decreased 484 since last year, resulting in a loss in revenue of $35,775.

To date, TWHBEA's recent membership drive, which targets inspired memberships by offering a free t-shirt or video with each renewal, has resulted in 148 regained memberships, according to Mr. Hulsey.

On the international trade show front, Mr. Hulsey reported on the success of TWHBEA's participation in the prestigious Royal Dublin Horse Show, held in Dublin, Ireland in August. Dublin resident Elizabeth Stouffer, a TWHBEA member and breed enthusiast originally from Michigan, staffed a promotional booth and distributed literature. From all indications, the response was quite positive.

Mr. Hulsey also announced that funding had been secured through United States Livestock Genetics Export, Inc., for TWHBEA's participation in Equitana Asia-Pacific. This equine trade fair is scheduled for November 16-24 in Melbourne, Australia, and attracts some 225,000 attendees.

The executive committee approved a recommendation to send TWHBEA representatives to assist in the breed promotions at that event. They include Robert Thomas, Charles Hulsey and TWHBEA Marketing Coordinator Jan Keyser. Australian TWHBEA members Walter and Vicki Pisciotta, the owners of more than 20 walking horses in Australia, will also lend their assistance.

Craig Evans, reporting on the NHSC, said the working relationship between the NHSC DQPs and the USDA VMOs during the Celebration was, in his opinion, the best it's ever been.

Charles Wharton delivered the standing committee report from the Administrative/Fiscal/Audit division. The financial results for the month of August show revenue of $404,000 compared to $386,000 a year ago. Expenses for August were $315,000 -- $27,000 below last year and $15,000 below plan. For the first time this year, monthly revenue exceeded plan, resulting in $88,600 in income over expenses, said Mr. Wharton.

Through nine months this year, revenue was $2.96 million, compared to $2.8 million for the same period last year. This is up $129,000, but $292,000 below plan. Expenses amounted to $2.97 million, up $156,000 over last year and $71,000 below plan.

"For the nine months ending August 31, we have an $11,000 loss compared to a $16,000 profit last year," said Mr. Wharton.

Following the financial report, Charles Hulsey proposed the formation of an oversight committee for the Voice Magazine. He said the committee would report to the executive committee, and recommended it be comprised of the president, the immediate past president and the executive director. This recommendation was approved.

Returning to the standing committee reports, Nancy Lynn Beech, vice president of the breeders' division, said the three-year bloodtyping contract with Shelterwood Labs and the University of Kentucky is up for renewal.

Charles Wharton asked how the contract dealt with transitioning to DNA testing, if that opportunity were to present itself at some point during the term of the contract. A discussion ensued, and the committee asked Craig Evans and Sid Baucom, member at large-bylaws, to review the contract and report their findings at the October executive committee meeting.

Larry Lowman delivered an extensive report from the marketing division. With regard to the TWHBEA Gift Shop, Mr. Lowman said the Tennessee Walking Horse print by artist Sherrill Brooke is now available in three price ranges. In addition, designs for a new bumper sticker and bookmark are complete.

At the TWHBEA World Versatility Show and the International Grand Championships Pleasure and Colt Show, gift shop sales totaled $859.12. During the Celebration, the gift shop generated sales of $5,110.17. Mr. Lowman said staff is scheduled to attend the Atlanta "apparel market" in October to make purchasing contracts for the gift shop.

Mr. Lowman also gave an update on Progressive Farmer magazine's "Idea House and Farmstead." He and several members of the TWHBEA staff recently attended a preview and reception for the first idea house located in Limestone Springs, Ala. He said the project presented an interesting sponsorship opportunity for TWHBEA. Next year's idea house will be located in Middle Tennessee.

Lastly, Mr. Lowman introduced an idea to place kiosks promoting the Tennessee Walking Horse in all the "Welcome Centers" throughout Tennessee. He is working with a Knoxville-based company on the design of the kiosks, and with state officials on the concept itself.

Spencer Benedict, vice president of the performance show horse division, said the TWHBEA Academy Championships are scheduled for October 4 at the Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He also announced that another "Tennessee Walking Horses on Parade" is planned for the Sunbelt Agriculture Exposition in Moultrie, Ga., October 14-16. This invitation-only event is the third largest agriculture expo in the nation.

Ann Kuykendall, vice president of the pleasure horse division, said this year's TWHBEA World Versatility Show was the best to date. She took the opportunity to acknowledge the show's sponsors, along with the adult and youth high point winners from the show.

Sid Baucom distributed copies of a letter he sent to President Thomas regarding the issue of cloning. Some time ago, Mr. Baucom had been asked to take a look at cloning and its ramifications and report his findings. In short, he recommends that TWHBEA prohibit the registration of a cloned horse. The executive committee will consider Mr. Baucom's recommendation, and also seek input from the scientific community, before taking any stance on the issue.

In the final action of the day, the executive committee selected the 2003 nominating and election committees. The nominating committee consists of Chairman Bud Thomas (MO), Kathy Zeis (GA), Joe Dietz (IN), Tommy Hale (AL) and Mandy Dawn (TN). The alternate will be Wayne Dean (TN).

The election committee members are Chairman Carroll Benedict (KY), Sally Fleck (GA), Russ Thompson (CA), Martha Branson (GA) and Debbie Birk (MO).

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