The FAX machine for the Celebration was inoperative last week and the week before. If you FAXed your entries in, you will want to resend and check back to see that your entries were received.

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Wednesday Evening, August 25 – Calsonic Arena – 5:00 pm

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Judges Selected for 83rd Annual Celebration

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has selected Chris Bobo, Derek Bonner, Brent Grider, David Sisk and Dale Watts to judge its 83rd Annual Celebration, the premier event on the Tennessee Walking Horse industry’s calendar.  The panel will include a newcomer to center ring in Watts and includes judges from Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Mississippi.

            “We are excited about this panel which includes such a diverse geographic representation and includes some valuable experience along with a newcomer that recently judged our Fun Show.  We look forward to a great Celebration that continues the momentum we’ve seen thus far this show season,” said Celebration CEO Warren Wells.

            The Celebration affiliates with the SHOW Horse Industry Organization and thus selects is judges from the SHOW HIO certified judges’ list.  The SHOW HIO has 70 total judges but only 54 of which hold a AAA or better license, which is a Celebration requirement.  The Celebration sends an email to all AAA or better judges asking if they have a desire and availability to judge The Celebration and would like to be considered.  Of the 54 eligible, 28 responded they would like to be considered. 

            The Celebration has a committee that vets the candidates and puts together a slate that is then ratified by the entire board.  Both the committee and board votes only require a majority vote.

            Sisk, from Columbia, Tenn., will be marking the cards for the fourth time.  Sisk previously judged the Celebration in 2014, 2015 and 2018.  Sisk has judged the Fun Show, Tunica, Gulf Coast Charity, North Carolina Championships, Alabama Jubilee, Mississippi Charity and National Trainers’ Show demonstrating his appeal across a wide range of the industry.  Sisk also just judged the Christmas in July show over the 4th.

            Bobo, from Shelbyville, Tenn., will also be making his fourth appearance in center ring having judged The Celebration previously in 2012, 2016 and 2017.  Bobo also judged the Christmas in July show over the 4th and has almost every major show on his resume, including the International Pleasure and Colt show.  He has also judged the Fun Show, Tunica, Gulf Coast Charity, Mississippi Charity, Alabama Jubilee, North Carolina Championships and Pulaski just to name a few.

            Bonner, from Mooresboro, N.C., will be making his third trip to judge the world championships.  Bonner previously judged the Celebration in 2013 and 2015.  Bonner judged the Columbia Spring Jubilee this year and has also judged the Fun Show, Mississippi Charity, multiple 4th of July shows, National Trainers’ Show and FAST Spring Showcase.

            Grider, from Columbia, Ky., will be judging the Celebration for the second time with his first being in 2012.  Grider has judged most of the industry’s premier events and also judged the Columbia Spring Jubilee this year.  Grider has judged multiple times at the Columbia Spring Jubilee as well as judging the Kentucky Celebration, Alabama Jubilee, Gulf Coast Charity, National Trainers’ Show three times, Marshall County and at the 4th of July.

            Watts, from Summit, Miss., doubles as a walking horse trainer and also as a Hall of Fame girls and boys high school basketball coach in Mississippi.  Watts will be marking the cards for the first time, but recently worked for The Celebration at its 2021 Spring Fun Show.  Watts has also previously judged Woodbury Lions Club, Alabama Jubilee, North Carolina Championships, FAST Spring Showcase and Marshall County.

            “It is the board’s goal each year to put forth a panel capable of judging at the highest level in our halter, pleasure and performance divisions.  We feel confident this group meets that standard and provides all of our exhibitors with a level playing field,” said Celebration Board Chairman David Crowell.  The 83rd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be held August 25th – September 4th.

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Celebration releases final schedule for 2021

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® has finalized and released the final class schedule for the 83rd Annual Celebration. In late 2020, The Celebration® formed a committee to review its class sheet and make recommendations for changes that would take into account past participation, industry trends and overall fan experience.

The committee was chaired by Jennifer Bingham and consisted of Nathan Clark, Justin Jenne’, Laurie Toone, Howard Hamilton and Amy Trimble. “We can’t thank the members of this committee enough for their hard work and how much thought and time they put into this task. We weren’t able to take all of the recommendations but we were able to incorporate most of them and our show will benefit as a result,” said board member Jeffrey Howard.

The committee released a tentative class sheet earlier this year and during the comment period the Celebration received over 70 comments regarding the schedule. “We were pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the number of comments and the overall interest level we received,” said Celebration Director of Operations Connie Allen.

The Celebration® will keep its committee in place and have them again look at the class sheet after this year’s show and make sure changes continue to reflect the areas of growth and participation levels. Classes that continue to have limited or declining participation will be looked at to eliminate and/or consolidate. “Our ultimate goal is to have the most competitive show we can have that is entertaining for our fans and ends at a reasonable time each evening,” concluded Howard.

Click here to view the schedule:

Class Schedule Splits

Qualifying Classes

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Due to inclement weather, the Saturday session of the 2021 Spring Fun Show will be moved to Calsonic Arena.

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TWHNC welcomes new CEO

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) has hired Warren Wells to be its new Chief Executive Officer. Wells will be the fifth CEO in the Celebration’s rich history.  Wells, originally from Bedford County, currently lives in Signal Mountain, Tenn. and is the Assistant Vice President for Government Affairs at Unum Group, a fortune 300 employee benefits company headquartered in Chattanooga.  Wells’ wife, Jessica and son Walker will be joining Wells when he relocates back to Bedford County.  Jessica is expecting their second son, Wright in June.

Wells joins the Celebration with a wealth of knowledge in state politics. Wells began his career in politics helping Jim Tracy as his deputy campaign manager and eventually serving as his research analyst in the State Senate.  Wells later joined Governor Bill Haslam’s administration as Deputy for Legislation and then advanced to a senior staff role in Haslam’s administration as Director for Legislation.

As the Director for Legislation, Wells was the governor’s chief lobbyist and primary liaison between the administration and General Assembly. Wells was also responsible for managing the administration’s legislative agenda. One of the most impactful pieces of legislation that Wells led on was the IMPROVE Act, which contained the largest tax cut in Tennessee history.

As a Bedford County native, Wells is intimately familiar with the impact The Celebration has on the community as well as the prestige of being the World Championship Tennessee Walking Horse show. Jessica is an avid horse lover and has owned and shown Tennessee Walking Horses as well as Thoroughbreds, Spotted Saddle Horses and currently a Paint mare. Wells and Walker have also participated in lead line classes.

“My family and I are extremely excited to be returning home to serve in the community that raised us.  The Celebration is the cornerstone of Bedford County, and a treasured asset for all of Tennessee. I am humbled and honored that the board has asked me to serve in this capacity. I have so many fond memories of The Celebration and events on the grounds, including my wedding reception, that it feels surreal that I now have the opportunity to partner with the board in carrying on The Celebration’s great traditions and developing a vision of growth and prosperity. I can’t wait to hit the ground running and serve this community,” said Wells.

Wells is a graduate of Motlow State Community College with a A.S. in Criminal Justice and received his B.S. in Political Science from Middle Tennessee State University. Wells is a first-generation college graduate. Wells also served in the Tennessee Army National Guard from 2001-2010 and in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005-2006, where Wells earned a Combat Action Badge and an Army Commendation Medal.

“We are extremely excited to add someone of Warren’s experience and background to The Celebration. We were fortunate to have several good applicants for the position and conducted a thorough search.  Warren first impressed our search committee and then our entire board.  What he has been able to accomplish in his career is something that impressed our board, and made all of us confident Warren will lead The Celebration to new heights. We can’t wait for our Tennessee Walking Horse community to get to know Warren and his family and we know our Bedford County community will also be grateful for his family’s return home,” said Celebration Chairman David Crowell.

Warren will officially begin his duties as Chief Executive Officer on June 7th, but in the meantime has already hit the ground running learning more about The Celebration and the upcoming World Championship show in August.

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Celebration Selects Fun Show Judges Panel

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has selected Jamie Hankins, Dale Watts and Robert Cortner to judge the 51st Annual Spring Fun Show. The panel consists of a Celebration veteran in Hankins along with two newcomers to The Celebration® in Watts and Cortner.

The trio also represents Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee and blends differing levels of experience.  Hankins has previously judged The Celebration® seven times and has been at most every major venue at some point in his career. Watts has also judged some of the industry’s premier events including multiple Middle Tennessee 4th of July shows, the North Carolina Championships and the Alabama Jubilee.

Cortner has not been a triple-A judge for long but has judged the National Trainers’ Show, Columbia Spring Jubilee and Walking in the Smokies shows in the last two years. Cortner has risen through the ranks quickly and will be making his initial appearance at a Celebration horse show.

The Spring Fun Show will be held May 27-29, 2021 in Maverick Arena on the historic showgrounds of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration

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The 51st Annual Spring Fun Show will be held May 27th-29th, 2021. The show will begin each evening at 6:00 pm and will be held in the outdoor Maverick Arena and features 69 classes.

Entries will be taken online May 24th-25th at www.gaitkeeper.com. In person entries will be taken at the SHOW Office inside Calsonic Arena each evening from 3:00-6:00 pm.

Entry deadline for the first four classes is 5:00 pm each evening. All other entries must be made by 6:30 pm each evening.

If you have any questions, please call Connie Allen (931) 684-5915 Ext. 107 or by email at callen@twhnc.com.






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