Sometimes one show tells you all you need to know. The Celebration announced earlier this week that it would not be hosting the Celebration Fall Classic horse show it initiated last year. The show had been slated for Oct. 13-15.
"The main reason we did it to start with was to explore the possibility of moving the Celebration further into the year," said Doyle Meadows, Celebration CEO. "We made an attempt to have this show last year and when all is said and done, we just didn't have enough people and horses."
Several participants at last year's Classic had been enthusiastic about the prospect.
"I think it's a great time of the year," said Bob Kilgore at the time. Kilgore is one of the owners of last year's World Grand Champion, The Coach. "It's cooler and the weather is just beautiful. It's much better for the horses than that heat was."
Another reason the Classic was originally proposed was because of availability.
"We need more shows," said trainer Don Mason of Petersburg at last year's Classic. "A lot of the little shows have been called off and this gives us somewhere to go."
Some of those shows have been reinstated and others have been created since then.
"We kind of did it to help the industry and now there are plenty of fall shows," said Meadows.
The decision to cancel the Classic was made before the Celebration and was not based on the big show's lower-than-usual paid attendance numbers, down to 168,481 from 2010's 176,732. It was the attendance of the first Classic itself that was the determining factor.
"Although the quality of horses shown at the 2010 Fall Classic was exceptional, the lack of horses and community support dictated the decision to cancel the event," said Meadows.
The annual Spring Fun Show will be held May 24-26, 2012, and the 74th Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be held Aug. 22--Sept. 1.