We are only a couple of weeks away from the 74th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration calling of the final class. Can you imagine what it was like in 1939 to experience the first class at the inaugural Celebration?
My father-in-law W. W. Gill, Jr. (deceased) was honored in 2006 along with 13 others who had shown at the first Celebration. My wife's grandfather, W.W. Gill (deceased) was president of TWHBEA in 1965-1966. On an even more personal note, I met my wife, Gloria, in the West Grandstands in 1989. Obviously, I am reflecting as this will be my fifth and final year as Celebration CEO.
Last week, I talked with David Brown, president-elect of the Shelbyville Rotary Club and Katie Guthrie, region III chair of the Shelbyville Lions Club, and their overwhelming theme for the 2012 Celebration was "Civic Pride." They are initiating some projects to help build more community strength through involvement. These projects include involving more youth through education and demonstrations with the walking horse.
Additionally, they are producing lawn signs to promote "Civic Pride." These two groups, Rotary and Lions, were instrumental in the development and sustainability of the Celebration since 1939. All of us that love the Walking Horse are indebted to these groups.
We need your help -- we want you to attend the Celebration. Many of you may want to help with sponsorships today or in the future. All sponsorships are valuable regardless of the scope of your involvement. We need them all. Rise above all the negative comments and support the Celebration. The Celebration*® is our community treasure and it is what sets us apart from other Tennessee counties. See you at the Celebration!
-- Dr. Doyle Meadows is the current CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. He plans to retire later this year.