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31st Annual Fun Show Kicks Off Walking Horse Show Season by Barbara Simmons In, 1970, B.J. Thomas scored a number one hit with "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head." The tune later provided the soundtrack for the hit movie Forrest Gump. It was also the year that Patton beat out Love Story for the Oscar, National Guard troops killed four students at Kent State University, bread sold for 24 cents a load and the average salary for Americans was $7,500. 1970 was also the year that The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration kicked off its show season with the first ever Spring Fun Show. Now, 31 years later, the Fun Show is still going strong and ranked among the Walking Horse industry's best multi-day events. The 2001 version promises to continue in that vane. It will be held May 24-26. As it has for the past three decades, the show will draw some of the top trainers, owners and exhibitors of potential world champion horses to The Celebration Grounds in Shelbyville to vie for coveted titles and "bragging rights." Typically, it hosts 600 to 700 entries in 54 classes, comprises of 450 to 500 different horses. Classes will begin at 7 p.m. daily in the Calsonic Arena. In addition, a Saturday morning show, new this year, will begin at 9a.m. Also new this year is free face painting for children and adults from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It's part of the Celebration continuing effort to add more fun to the Fun Show. "With the 3-year Operating Plan signed, we anticipate our show returning to its rightful place as one of the best multi-day shows in the industry," said Celebration Chairman Bob Garner. "Enthusiasm is high and the attitude in the industry is good. "We look forward to working with the DQPs and the USDA again this year to ensure that only clean, sound horses compete. We continue to believe in and promote the S.H.O.W. campaign," the chairman said. The S.H.O.W. campaign was adopted by the industry in 1998 as the creed for its shows and stands for Sound horses, Honest judges, Objective inspections and Winning fairly. Garner explained that the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been trying to reach an accord on unified inspection procedures for several years. A three-year agreement has been signed and approved by all parties, Garner said. In addition to the action in the show ring at this year's Fun Show, there will be equestrian-theme shopping in some 30 booths that line the concourse level of the arena. Among items that customers will find on sale there are fine jewelry , custom-made riding apparel, boots, etched art glass, casual wear and art by widely-known Walking Horse artist Billie Nipper. Reserve seats and boxes of six seats each for the show are available from The Celebration Ticket Office. For reservations or more information, call (931) 684-5915, ext. 109, 112, or 110.
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