Shelbyville – The Tennessee National Walking Horse Celebration released figures this week which confirmed suspicions that the organization is hemorrhaging money – about $931,000.00 for the last five years of operation plus being on the hook for $559,000.00 regarding SHOW HIO for a total of a whopping $1,491,000.00. And the figures are apparently climbing because 2013 is not shaping up to be a good year at all.
The numbers are particularly shocking and disturbing because the Celebration is blaming outside influences for its dramatic skid – rather than looking inward. David L. Howard (on the left), Celebration Board member and publishing magnate tycoon has presided over the decline. It accelerated drastically when present Celebration CEO Mike Inman(on the right) took over in 2012.
Here is the Celebration news release:
“CELEBRATION CONTINUES DOWNWARD FINANCIAL TREND
As the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) is making plans to celebrate it’s 75th Anniversary show August 21-31, 2013 on the historic show grounds in Shelbyville, the deadline for box seat renewals recently passed and renewals showed a continuation of a disturbing trend.
While reform efforts have been successful and a turnaround in the industry is upon us, the misinformation campaign being run by the other side has been successful in curtailing the interest in a sport that means so much to many of us, and the charities to which we give the bulk of our profits each year. Box seat sales are down 148 boxes this year, which will result in a decline of $120,000 of revenue to TWHNC. In the last two years, box seat sales were down a total of 478 boxes equaling $376,000 in lost revenue.
“Sales have been down, and therefore, to continue holding The Celebration, as a last resort we have been forced to increase fees, including our grounds fee” said Celebration CEO Mike Inman. “We did not want to do this and we do so after looking at every penny we spend and cutting every corner we can without sacrificing the experience for attendees.”
For many years, The Celebration has been losing money and as a result, the management has focused heavily on cost-cutting measures. In the previous 5 years the Celebration cut just over $1,000,000 in expenses and in the last year alone, TWHNC has implemented the following cost-cutting reforms:
· Reduced maintenance crews by 50% and management by 20% saving $120,000;
· Reduced management staff and expenses by consolidating functions; and
· Decided not to have jumbotron televisions at the event for a savings of $80,000.
For six years, The Celebration has been losing money totaling almost a million dollars, which is broken down by year below:
· 2007 – ($67,802)
· 2008 – ($139,408)
· 2009 – ($153,810)
· 2010 – ($32,417)
· 2011 – ($100,379)
· 2012 – ($438,356)
In addition, SHOW, the HIO owned by The Celebration, lost $558,987 since 2009. And while revenues have gone down, costs to hold the event have gone up. For example insurance fees are up $50,000 this year. It is also important to note, The Celebration does not retain concession revenue as it gives the nearly $400,000 in gross revenue to the local civic clubs.”
The losses over the last five years total approximately $931,000.00. In addition to that the Celebration is in hock $559,000.00 and change – to make the total checkout number a cool $1,490,000.00, and 2013 is not looking to be a good year.