Jul 20th, 2020 | By | Category: News

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration board of directors continued to finalize plans for the upcoming 82nd Annual Celebration to be held August 26th – September 5th. The board met July 6, 2020 and made some final decisions regarding the upcoming horse show in light of the COVID-19 recommendations from local, state and federal guidelines.

The Celebration will reconcile the sale of its box seats on July 15th to check available inventory. If at that time box seat holders that would like to move their location to a less crowded area they can work with Celebration staff to do so. The move will be a one-year temporary move and the customer will not lose the right to the original box they’ve previously had. Also, if the customer moves to a different location they will be refunded the difference in price if the new box is less expensive and charged the difference if the new box is more expensive than their original box.

The Celebration will have the Blue Ribbon Circle Club but will add a new outside location which will be located in the front lawn of the current Blue Ribbon. The area will have a tent and be equipped with table tops for those that would prefer to be in the outside air but also to increase the spacing of the club. On the most attended nights, the outside location will offer bar service and some food service. The food selection will be similar to past years in the Blue Ribbon Circle but may be limited in the selection as the food caterer will have servers in place instead of patrons serving themselves. The Celebration will follow state guidelines on occupancy and may limit those in the area at any specific time. We will continue to update our pass holders as we get closer to time.

Unfortunately, the Celebration will not have a corporate sponsor party in 2020. The board just didn’t feel comfortable with the current executive orders in place of having that many people in one confined location. Due to this cancellation this year, the board did upgrade the Blue Ribbon Circle decorations, add the outdoor area and on the first Saturday night will have a special meal during the normal time of the sponsor party for those sponsors that would like to eat prior to the show.

In the past several years the Celebration has hosted after-show entertainment in the Blue Ribbon Circle Club. Those band parties have been very popular but due to the current circumstances the Celebration will not host those parties after the show this year. In addition, in previous years barns have hired bands and entertainment to play at their locations on the show grounds. Unfortunately, in 2020 this will not be allowed due to the large crowds that gather at those barn parties. Individual barns can still have gatherings, food and normal customer entertainment but just won’t be allowed to bring in outside entertainment.

The Celebration will require all championship entries to stable on the show grounds for 48 hours prior to their championship performance. The entry deadline for championship classes will once again be 12:00PM two days prior to your championship evening performance (for example Thursday evening championship entries will be required to be on the show grounds by showtime Tuesday evening).
The 82nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be judged by the experienced panel of Rollie Beard, Ross Campbell, Mike Hilley, Sam Sorrell and Leigh Stuart. The panel has a collective 20 Celebration’s judged between them. “We are excited to announce this panel for our 82nd Annual Celebration. They bring a wealth of knowledge in both our flat shod and performance divisions as well as a geographic diversity in where they come to us from,” said Celebration CEO Mike Inman.
The Celebration judges’ committee met on Monday July 6, 2020 and made the recommendations to the full board who later that day ratified the selections recommended by the committee. The Celebration affiliates with the SHOW HIO, which is owned by The Celebration and selects the panel from the list of AAA licensed judges at the SHOW HIO. There were 20 AAA judges that expressed the desire and availability to judge this year’s show.

Beard, from Lewisburg, Tenn., is the most experienced of the panel, judging The Celebration eight times previously. The most recent was in 2014 but also includes stints judging in Maverick Arena in 1988, 1994, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2013. Beard has been active lately in some of the industry premier events including the 2019 Spring Fun Show, Money Tree Classic and North Carolina Championships. He also judged the Columbia Spring Jubilee this year.

Sam Sorrell, from Lexington, Ky., has previously judged The Celebration six times. Sorrell marked the cards in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Sorrell most recently judged the Money Tree Classic on July 3, 2020 but has judged most every major venue in the industry including twice at The International in 2005 and 2010.

Leigh Stuart, from Alvaton, Ky., has been a popular choice in recent years and will be making her fifth appearance at The Celebration. Stuart previously judged in 1997, 2013, 2016 and 2018. Stuart also judged the Tunica Fall Classic in 2016 and 2019 for The Celebration and she too has judged The International. Stuart is respected for her knowledge of the SHOW rulebook and her role in the drafting of it.

Hilley, from Shelbyville, Tenn., will be marking the cards for the second time in 3 years. Hilley judged The Celebration for the first time in 2018. Hilley has judged the Tunica Fall Classic in 2014 and 2019 and most recently judged at the 2020 Money Tree Classic in Calsonic Arena.

Campbell, from Cullman, Ala., will be making his second appearance in the big oval. Campbell judged with Stuart and Hilley at the 2018 Celebration. Campbell has also judged the Tunica Fall Classic, FAST Spring Showcase, Gulf Coast Charity and Money Tree Classic. Campbell also judged this year’s Columbia Spring Jubilee with Beard.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Celebration felt it prudent to select two alternates for this year’s show in case any of the five initial selections were to fall ill and be forced to quarantine. Chris Bobo and Paul Robbins will serve in those alternate roles, after both received serious consideration by the committee.

“We are extremely excited to work with this group of judges to make our 82nd Annual Celebration the best it can be. Competition has been extremely tough to start the year and we expect large numbers and deep classes for this group to consider later in August,” concluded Inman.

The 82nd Annual Celebration will be held August 26th – September 3rd in Calsonic and Maverick Arenas on the historic Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration show grounds. For more information contact the administrative office at 931-684-5915.

Mikey’s Motors will again be furnishing golf cart rentals for the 2020 Celebration. In an attempt to make booking cart rentals easier for Celebration guests, a link to a form that can be completed with all necessary information to book cart rental is attached. You are also still welcome to call to book, or if you have any questions.

Mikey’s Motors LLC Golf Cart & Low Speed Vehicles Office: 615-962-9265
Please visit www.twhnc.com to view the mentioned form.

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