Walking Horses Converge On Shelbyville, Tenn. August 22 The 63th annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration kicks-off August 22 and runs through September 1. The annual show is held in Shelbyville, Tennessee and offers more than $650,000 in prizes and awards. This year's show is projected to be a fun-filled 11 days. The Trade Fair returns with a host of new vendors; the Barn Decorating contest returns; the Barbecue Cook Out will have a new sound this year from a group Vintage County; the popular Dog Show will be in Calsonic Arena on Sunday. Many of this year's evening performances will host live entertainment from center ring. The Celebration is the term generally used to identify both the event and the organization that manages and presents it. The idea for a Walking Horse "festival" (later identified as the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration) is generally credited to the late Henry Davis of Wartrace, TN. It began when Davis went to nearby Winchester one spring day in 1939 and observed the Crimson Clover Festival. He became very enthusiastic about what he saw and returned to Shelbyville with the idea that his home county should have a festival to celebrate their most important asset - the Tennessee Walking Horse. The idea was cultivated into the first Celebration on September 7, 8, and 9, 1939. It has been held every year, without interruption, since. The show has grown into its own 100-plus-acre equestrian complex; a complex frequented by many breeds and including a 30,000 seat outdoor stadium, a 4,500 seat indoor arena, a covered outdoor practice arena, permanent stalls for more than 1,700 horses, and campgrounds featuring full hook-ups for more than 350 recreational vehicles. Indeed, it is a thrill to watch the more than 2,000 horses compete during the 10-day-and-night Celebration...and when the one horse emerges proudly on that Saturday night before Labor Day as the World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse, even the most somber could not help but feel a chill run up their spines. Nearly a quarter of a million tickets are sold to fans from more than 40 states -- fans that enjoy the excitement of the Tennessee Walking Horse and its National Celebration. 2001 Celebration Judges: Mike Carpenter Franklin, TN; Roger Hand Ranburne, AL; Jamie Hankins Paris, KY; Brian Martin Aubrey, TX; Eddie Tuck Reidsville, NC.
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