The first big Tennessee Walking Horse show of 2012 won't be held in Shelbyville as in years past.
A conference call was held earlier this week by the board of directors of the Walking Horse Trainers' Association (WHTA) to prepare for the upcoming 2012 National Trainers' Show in White Pine, in Jefferson County, which is in east Tennessee.
According to The Walking Horse Report, WHTA membership voted 96-39 in July to move the show to White Pine from Shelbyville, where the event had been held since the early 1990s.
The show is scheduled April 12-14, 2012, approximately one month later in the calendar than its traditional date, at the Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center, which was built in 1996 by Walters State Community College in an effort to boost economic development through agribusiness.
The center includes a 98,000 square-foot pavilion with a 300' x 150' show ring, and seating for 3,900, as well as the Ray and Barbara Bible Equestrian Center, which is comprised of four horse barns with 100 stalls each, a 22,000 square-foot covered warm-up ring that connects to the pavilion and an outdoor ring.
In December 2008, WHTA and the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration announced a 10-year extension of an agreement to hold the annual show in the Calsonic Arena, rejecting proposals made at the time to move the event elsewhere.
However, in June of this year, Shelbyville's city council had stated while discussing donations to non-profit organizations that a $10,000 contribution to the Trainers' Show was contingent on the event staying in Shelbyville.
During the conference call, the WHTA board unanimously voted to follow the membership vote and continue preparations in White Pine and the organization will continue to release information regarding hotels, sponsorships and class schedules after the first of the year.
The WHTA is urging all of its members to make plans to attend the 2012 National Trainers' Show, the Walking Horse Report stated. The show is the largest fund-raising effort of the WHTA and its proceeds are vital to the operation of the association, the organization said in a statement.
The Trainers' Show will continue to be affiliated with the SHOW Horse Industry Organization (HIO).
In 2009, the show was postponed several months as sanctioning duties were shifted from the National Horse Show Commission to SHOW at the bequest of the WHTA and the Walking Horse Owners' Association.