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TWHNC Kicks Off the 74th Annual Celebration

Celebration Leading the Way with Historical Horse Welfare Reforms Ensuring
SHELBYVILLE, TN -  The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration today kicked off the 74th annual Celebration® ,which is the world’s largest and most prestigious event celebrating the Tennessee Walking Horse. For over 70 years, the Celebration has crowned world champions and left an indelible mark on the community. In addition to the $38 million impact on Middle Tennessee’s economy in direct spending, the Celebration helps raise over $200,000 for local charities. The Celebration’s highest priority is placed on the welfare of the horses and the Celebration is proud to lead the way in safety reforms and partner with SHOW Horse Industry Organization (HIO) who imposes the most stringent inspection measures and strictest penalties of any HIO.
“The Celebration truly is a celebration of the Tennessee Walking Horse, and we are dedicated to preserving the breed’s rich history. As the industry’s premier event, the Celebration has a significant impact on the Middle Tennessee community that is both economic and civic. It is only fitting that we lead the way in reforming the industry so that all horses are treated humanely and trained in a safe environment,” said Dr. Doyle Meadows the CEO of the Celebration.
In the days leading up to the 2012 Celebration its Board of Director’s announced historical reforms that will ensure that The Celebration is a leader in reforming the industry. The measures will enhance the Walking Horse Trainers’ (WHTA) Enforcement Initiative, an objective, science based inspection that tests for chemicals that harm the horse or mask substances that could have harmed the horse, and strengthen the stringent testing methods currently employed by the Celebration. The Celebration is going one step further and paying to expedite the swabs from this program so that the results will be available during the event. For the first time ever the WHTA’s swabbing results will be made public during the event and violators will be punished severely by suspending trainers’ licenses, disqualifying horses, removing ribbons, trophies and prize monies.
“We applaud The Celebration’s commitment to horse safety and to preserving this rich Tennessee tradition for future generations,” said Jamie Hankins, WHTA President. “Not only is The Celebration going above and beyond anything that has ever been done in the Industry, they are footing the bill as well. We are happy to see such strong support for the WHTA’s Enforcement Initiative. Together we are reforming the Industry so that only sound horses compete in the show ring."

Click Here for a chart: USDA versus SHOW
Founded in 1939, The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® is based on a vision of Henry Davis of Wartrace, TN. It has grown into the world’s largest and most prestigious event celebrating one of Tennessee’s most valuable assets - the Tennessee Walking Horse. The event is an 11-day and night annual festival in Shelbyville, TN, taking place from August 22 – September 1, during which there are 2,660 entries and 1,500 horses compete in 171 classes and more than $650,000 in prizes are awarded.  The Celebration® names 39 World Champions of the breed and the festival culminates in its main attraction, the crowning of the World Grand Champion®, on the Saturday evening prior to Labor Day. Additional activities include a barn decorating contest, trade fair, and dog show. The 2012, Celebration has sold  120,000 to fans from more than 40 states each year, The Celebration® has an economic impact on Middle Tennessee’s economy, comparable to a NASCAR race and bigger than the Music City Bowl with a direct contribution of nearly $40 million to the economy.

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