The representatives from the Walking Horse Owners Association for the newly formed Unity Committee will be Tam Brogdon of Panama City Beach, Florida, Duke Thorson of Huron, Ohio, and Kim Bennett of Alvaton, Kentucky. “This group exemplifies the diverse background and demographics of the Walking Horse Owners Association membership. They will represent the interest of the Owners of the industry well” says Tommy Hall Executive Director of the Walking Horse Owners Association.
Tamela D. (Tam) Brogdon
Tam was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida and rode her first performance walking horse at the age of 12 under the auspices of Mr. Carl Edwards at Carl Edwards and Sons Stables in Dawson, Georgia. Tam’s parents had grown up owning and trail riding walking horses, and throughout the 70’s and 80’s she showed as a juvenile along with the rest of her family, mostly in the Georgia and Alabama circuit. The Brogdon Family owned several notable contributors to the industry including Pride’s Generator, Ebony’s Miss Dixie – the very first amateur 2 year old World Champion, and the family’s beloved “Sweet Georgia Brown”.

Tam graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in 1985 and entered the United States Air Force as an officer where she completed Undergraduate Pilot’s Training then flew as a C-130 aircraft commander for 6 years with the 815th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Air Force Reserve Unit at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. She has the unique honor of being the first female pilot to ever guide an airplane through a hurricane. While in the reserves she served as training officer, disaster preparedness officer, squadron mobility officer and was awarded 3 Air Medals and The Air Force Commendation Medal. Tam also worked as a civil service GS-12 in her reserve unit for one year before she was hired by American Airlines in 1989. At American Tam was promoted to Captain on the Boeing 727 in 1999 flying internationally for her entire career.

Since returning to the show ring in 2007, Tam has enjoyed many successes - the pinnacle being her World Grand Championship spotlight ride this year aboard her charismatic gray stallion Bouré.
Duke Thorson
Duke Thorson grew up in Bemidji Minnesota where he owned his first Tennessee Walking Horse as a youth. He attended the University of Nevada - Las Vegas (UNLV) and was a member of the tennis team while studying business and finance. Duke owns several manufacturing companies throughout the United States as well as a global franchising company where he was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year award recipient. Duke and his wife Rhonda own ThorSport Racing which competes in the NASCAR Truck Series and the ARCA series on a national basis.

Duke, Rhonda and daughter Allison own 19 Walking Horses and attend over 35 Walking Horse shows per year in over 13 states. They are members of several Walking Horse associations throughout the country.
Kim Bennett
Kim Bennett, a third generation horsemen was born and raised in Western Kentucky. Kim has been involved with raising and showing horses his entire life. His Father purchased their first Walking Horse in 1956. It has been a family venture ever since with his entire family involved with Tennessee Walking Horses. He and his family have been very active with his hometown Horse Show, located in Centertown, Kentucky, with a population of 300, it is one of the longest running Horse Shows in the state of Kentucky making 2011 sixty one years for the annual event.

After graduating high school Kim attended Cumberland College in Lebanon Tennessee, and graduated with an Associate of Science Degree. While attending Cumberland Kim traveled with the basketball team, and worked Tennessee Walking Horses at the stables of Mr. Ellic Bobo. Kim graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Kimʼs major was Equine Science and he was one of the first graduates of MTSUʼs Equine Science program. While attending MTSU he continued to work and show horses, was a charter member of the BetaTheta chapter of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, a member of the Block and Bridle club, and president of the MTSU Walking Horse Club.

After graduation Kim worked first with Ricky Womack stables in Murfreesboro and later with David Mason stables during his campaign with the 1977  World Grand Champion, The Super Stock. He was later trainer and manager of Vista Hermosa stables in Murfreesboro before moving to Alvaton, Kentucky in 1980 where he was trainer and manager of Drakes Creek Stables. Kim has been married to Leigh Stuart Bennett for the past 27 years. They have two children Rick and Paige both who have been heavily involved in raising and showing Tennessee Walking Horses. Kim and Leigh have both worked, managed, and trained under the Bennett Stables banner for the past 30 years.

Working with both flat shod and performance horses Kim and Leigh have both been involved with standing stallions, raising foals, riding lessons, the academy program, Youth camps, coaching Youth and Amateur riders as well as preparing horses for open competition. They currently own 27 Tennessee Walking Horses including brood mares, flat shod and performance show horses, breeding stallions, and pleasure horses. Their brood mares and breeding program have produced many great show horses both in the flat shod and the performance division such as the 2011 three year old stallion World Champion Performance Horse Im Innocent and the 2011 Trail Pleasure World Champion Oh Buddy. Kim enjoys watching his daughter Paige and his wife Leigh show both flat shod and performance horses.

Kim served as president of the Bowling Green Horseman Association. He has been involved with the Walking Horse Owners Association since its inception, first serving on WHOAʼs Licensing and Enforcement Committee until WHOA merged its inspection program with the National Horse Show Commission. He represented WHOA on the NHSC both as an alternate and as a voting member. Kim has been involved and sat in HIO meetings and conference calls multiple times for different HIOs. Kim has held a AAA or Master judges license since 1978 with WHOA, NHSC, and currently holds a AAAA license with the SHOW HIO. He has judged Horse Shows from the Carolinas to California, including both the Celebration and the International two times each.

Kim serves on the National Board of Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and exhibitors Association representing the state of Kentucky. Serving on the Walking Horse Owners Associationʼs board of directors for the past 15 years Kim now serves as President of that organization.