UPDATED: Horses aren't the only competitors at show

Friday, August 27, 2010

Updated to reflect Diane Black schedule.

It's Celebration season, and it's also election season, which means candidates for governor and the 6th District House seat will be making the pilgrimage to Shelbyville.

Businessman Mike McWherter, the Democratic nominee for governor, plans to be at the show tonight, while Republican nominee and Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam will be at the show on Sept. 4, the night of the World Grand Championship.

It won't be the first visit to the Celebration grounds for either man. Haslam made a campaign stop at Calsonic Arena in March, where he and his wife, Crissy, were given the opportunity to ride walking horses.

During a Shelbyville visit last November, McWherter said he has numerous fond memories of attending the Celebration, sometimes with a cousin, E.B. Tanner, who competed in the show. He said that if he is elected governor, he'll attend each year's show.

In the 6th District U.S. House race, Democratic nominee and attorney Brett Carter will be there will be there on World Championship night. State Sen. Diane Black, the Republican nominee, will be at the show this evening.

It has been traditional for the sitting governor, when his schedule permits, to help crown the World Grand Champion, although some governors have been more diligent than others, and incumbent Gov. Phil Bredesen has not been one of the more frequent Celebration visitors. His last Celebration visit was two years ago, and that was not on World Grand Championship night but rather on the night of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association Futurity. Bredesen is expected to miss his final Celebration as governor and has reported to show officials that his schedule won't permit him to attend.

In the 62nd District State House race, both of the candidates -- Democrat Jenny Hunt of Bell Buckle and incumbent Republican Pat Marsh of Shelbyville -- are from Bedford County, and Bedford County makes up the largest single portion of the district. So for them, the Celebration is presumably a little more routine. Marsh, a Celebration board member, was seen working at the Shelbyville Rotary Club booth on Thursday night.