(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
Even in times of uncertainty for the horse industry, there's something comforting about hearing Larry Bright's organ stylings and the dulcet tones of announcer Bobby Sands. Rev. Mark Ashley of New Hope Chapel delivered the invocation, and the national anthem was sung by Leah Boyd of Murfreesboro. The smells of donuts, popcorn and country ham wafted through the air, and it was Celebration time once again.
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais was honored during Thursday evening's show for his work on behalf of the industry. Celebration board member Coach Rick Insell presented DesJarlais with a ribbon at center ring Thursday night.
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
Earlier in the evening, DesJarlais viewed horse inspections for entries in that night's classes. He said he believes all parties involved want what's best for the horses, and for the regulatory process to be fair.
"I think everybody here wants the same thing," said DesJarlais.
DesJarlais sent a letter last week to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting a meeting to discuss concerns over how the U.S. Department of Agriculture enforces the Horse Protection Act. DesJarlais said that a planned telephone call on Tuesday to discuss the issue with USDA had to be delayed due to a conflict on DesJarlais' end. DesJarlais said he will probably end up talking to an undersecretary first, because Vilsack has been busy working with drought-stricken areas of the country.
DesJarlais held a fund-raiser in Shelbyville, which he said was only one of several such events he was holding across the district.
DesJarlais (R-South Pittsburg), a physician, represents the 4th Congressional District. Bedford and Rutherford counties are in the process of being moved from the 6th District to the 4th District effective with this election cycle, as a result of redistricting which followed the 2010 Census. DesJarlais is finishing his first two-year term in the House and is running for re-election against Democratic State Sen. Eric Stewart of Winchester.
DesJarlais told the Times-Gazette he's willing to debate Stewart, but first wants Stewart to be more forthcoming about some of his positions.
"We have never closed the door and said we wouldn't debate," said DesJarlais. But he said Stewart hasn't even said for sure whether or not he supports Barack Obama's re-election campaign.
DesJarlais also said Stewart's original call for three debates during August was unrealistic.
"I don't know anybody who does that," he said.
In Tuesday night's competition, the Geldings 15.2 and Under, Canter, Riders Cup class was won by Admission Is A Dollar, Charlie Green in the irons for Dr. Pam Hendrickson of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The Owner-Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion class went to I'm Pushin' N Line and Janice Fostek for Joe Fostek of Roanoke, Va.
Local winners included Willie Twilight, Lorraine Rosbury up for Maple Crest Farm of Bell Buckle, who took "B" division honors in Owner-Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Stallions. Godfather By Ultra Copy, ridden by Courtney Luttrell for Courtney and Alex Luttrell of Alvaton, Ky., and Shelbyville, won the Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Show Pleasure Horses class to close out the evening.