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My Take

Walking horses

Mark McGee
Posted 8/20/22

Summer is technically over. Sure, it will be September before fall officially is declared as a season. Temperatures in the last half of August can easily reach 90-plus degrees.  

But …

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My Take

Walking horses

Posted

Summer is technically over. Sure, it will be September before fall officially is declared as a season. Temperatures in the last half of August can easily reach 90-plus degrees.  

But let’s face it. Summer’s lazy, hazy days, according to the song, are now the crazy days of school and after school activities. Football season is here with high schools, colleges and professional teams all working out.  

For Shelbyville and Bedford County there is another harbinger of fall – the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  

The 84th edition starts Wednesday morning. The final class, the World Grand Championship, will enter the ring late on Sept. 3. That is two days before Labor Day, another sign of “autumn closing in”. Thank you. Bob Seger.  

The Celebration has weathered its share of ups and downs in the past few years. The stands aren’t filled like they once were. Boxes are more easily obtained. But based on the past couple of years attendance has increased overall. 

The 2022 show season has been a successful one including the number of horses entered in shows as well as the enthusiasm of fans in attendance. For the first time since 2012 entries at this year’s Celebration have exceeded 2,500. The 2,536 pre-entries represent a 12 percent increase over 2021. 

The quality of the horses being presented has never been higher. Everyone expects the competition to be strong with multiple horses in each class possessing the talent to be a winner.  

One small mistake could make the difference between a blue or yellow ribbon. Locally the Celebration has been met with mixed feelings. Restaurant owners, hotel operators and local businesses welcome the event.  

It is like what the Christmas season is for many businesses. The economic impact of the Celebration can help a business go from the red to the black for the year. The number of civic clubs benefiting from the event are down, but many organizations are able to make significant contributions locally because of the money they raise at the Celebration.  

Agreed there is more traffic. But let’s face it, traffic in Shelbyville has increased exponentially in volume even without a horse show in town.  

For those living close to the showgrounds flies can be a nuisance as well as the sounds from the public address system.  

Many locals have never watched one class of the Celebration. I urge you to try it. Some people like chocolate. Some people like vanilla. You might find out you like the show. How will you know unless you give it a chance?  

What everyone needs to consider is the economic impact on this county. Many walking horse people buy second, or even, first homes here. They pay property taxes. They buy goods and services. They contribute to the financial success of this county.  

To steal from a Tennessee tourist promotion ad, “be nice to our visitors because they are very nice to us.” 

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