Dr. Doyle Meadows informed the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration board of directors earlier this week that he will step down as CEO at the end of October, 2012, following the 74th annual event.
Meadows told the board at its annual planning meeting and sent a letter to the members of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Association, the larger body from which board members are chosen.
"As most of you were aware when I became CEO of the Celebration, being the 'old-timer' that I am, my years of service would be limited," stated the letter, according to a Celebration news release.
"Therefore, in an effort for the Board of Directors to adequately plan an exit strategy, I will leave as CEO of The Celebration at the end of the working day, October 31, 2012. As you can tell by the date of this I will be here through the 2012 Celebration. I look forward to an outstanding year and Celebration. I am most grateful of the lasting friendships that will not end when I leave the Celebration."
Meadows was hired in February 2008, and -- as the news release points out -- his tenure has included a difficult time in the Celebration's history, including an economic downturn, regulatory issues and the replacement of the National Horse Show Commission with the S.H.O.W. HIO as the Horse Industry Organization governing Tennessee Walking Horse competition.
"It has been a great honor for me to be the CEO of The Celebration," stated Meadows. "I truly appreciate all those people that have helped me as we continue to have the world's greatest horse show in Bedford County. I have a tremendous amount of pride for The Celebration and what it means to the Walking Horse industry and our community."
Prior to joining the Celebration, Meadows retired from a 20-year career with the University of Tennessee Extension, where he led the statewide horse program including the state 4-H horse shows, the nationally recognized Tennessee 4-H judging contests, and many other multi-state horse events. Meadows coached 25 world and national champion youth horse judging teams.
He served as the show manager of the Tennessee State 4-H Horse Championships, held at Calsonic Arena on the Celebration grounds, for 20 years.