A delegation representing SHOW, Bedford County and Task Force members met in Washington with USDA officials Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson, DVM on Thursday, August 13.  The meeting was arranged by Tennessee Congressman Bart Gordon who also attended.

The meeting was hosted at the USDA offices and lasted almost 2 ½ hours.  There was a candid and open discussion of past issues and a dialog of open communication was established to assure a better working relationship between SHOW and the USDA.

SHOW pledged to work with the USDA to achieve the goal of finding and eliminating the sore horse with the goal of 100% compliance.

As a first step, Dr. Gipson will be meeting with SHOW Compliance Coordinators Dr. John Bennett and Dr. Steve Mullins in Nashville prior to the Celebration to review details associated with the inspections at the Celebration as well as the future of SHOW’s enforcement program. 

Dr. Gipson indicated that the inspection program at the Celebration will be substantially the same as in 2008 with increased emphasis on three areas:  chain weight, policing of the warm-up area and increased inspections of horses tied in classes, specifically first place horses.
Representing SHOW at the meeting was Chairman Charles McDonald, board member David Howard, CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows, Co-Compliance Coordinators Dr. John Bennett and Dr. Steve Mullins.  Task force members attending were Mike Davis, Mike McGartland and Lee McGartland.  County Mayor Eugene Ray spoke on behalf of Bedford County.