2013 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Judge Rollie Beard doing Conway Twitty’s “Slow Hand”.

“You’ve got a man with a slow hand
You’ve got a lover with an easy touch
You’ve got somebody who will spend some time
Not come and go in a heated rush baby, believe me I understand
When it comes to love, you want a slow hand

You’ve got a lover with an easy touch
You’ve got somebody who will spend some time baby
Not come and go in a heated rush baby, believe me I understand”

Last week Celebration CEO Mike Inman (pictured below) selected his man Rollie Beard as one of the five Celebration 2013 Celebration Judges:
“The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) will host its 75th Anniversary World Championship August 21-31, 2013 on its historic show grounds in Shelbyville, Tenn. Adjudicating the anniversary show will be Rollie Beard, Lewisburg, Tennessee, Jamie Bradshaw, Union Grove, Alabama, Leigh Stuart, Alvaton, Kentucky, Allen Forman, Thomson, Georgia and Derek Bonner, Mooresboro, North Carolina.

The Celebration is excited to bring such a talented and geographically diverse panel of judges to this very special 75th anniversary event. These knowledgeable judges are ready and anxious to oversee what will be the gathering of the most gifted equine athletes in the world,” said TWHNC CEO Mike Inman.

Rollie Beard will be judging The Celebration for the seventh time. Beard’s first assignment in 1988 was on the 50th anniversary of The Celebration. Beard also judged in 1994, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2009. Bradshaw will be serving his fourth assignment in center ring also judging in 2006, 2009 and 2011. Forman will be making his second appearance as a judge at The Celebration with his first being in 2007. Stuart judged the pleasure divisions of The Celebration in 1997, however 2013 will mark her first time to judge all performances at The Celebration. Bonner will be making his debut as a Celebration judge.”

To say Celebration Judge Rollie Beard has a checkered past regarding the Horse Protection Act might be an understatement.

Beard was hired to judge the 2004 Celebration, but had to resign immediately prior to the 2004 Celebration as reported in the Mid-South Horse Review:”2004/08/13Celebration Judge Resigns From Panel Celebration CEO Ron Thomas announced that Rollie Beard has submitted his resignation from the 2004 Celebration judging panel. Beard is currently involved in a hearing process with the National Horse Show Commission that could result in his suspension from active involvement in the industry prior to the start date of The Celebration. If that happens, he would be ineligible to judge “There is no doubt that this is an uncomfortable situation for all involved,” said Beard. “While I go through this appeal process, I feel it is best that I resign from the judging panel. The integrity of The Celebration is of the utmost importance. I don’t want my personal situation to cast a cloud upon this outstanding institution.” The hearing and appeal process stems from a citation Beard received at the Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show and Music Festival in April. The citation was written by an NHSC inspector (DQP). It was appealed and the case will now go before the full NHSC board August 16. “I want the NHSC board to look at the facts of my appeal, period,” said Beard. “My resignation from the judging panel today will allow them to view my case with a clear vision knowing that their decision, either way, will not put The Celebration under any undue duress.” “We appreciate the manner in which Rollie is handling this situation,” stated Celebration CEO Ron Thomas. “His decision gives us an opportunity to find another quality judge for this world championship horse show�and we will. Once this situation is behind him, I’m sure Rollie will be considered to judge our show again.” Beard has been on the Celebration judging panel on three previous occasions, 1988, 1994, and 2002. The other judges this year include Bob Cherry, Joe Fleming, Tommy Loid, and Huck Moss. “This action is an example of how the SHOW initiative works on an everyday basis and should be viewed as such,” said Thomas. “Sound horses, honest judging, objective inspection, and winning fairly are the four principles of that program. Today, Rollie Beard made a pre-emptive decision that lives up to these principles and looks out for the best interest of the walking horse industry and The Celebration.”


WHY did Rollie Beard accept the job in the first place knowing he had an HPA violation pending?

WHY did the Celebration select Rollie Beard to judge the Celebration with the HPA violation pending?

In November 2009, Rollie Beard was hired as SHOW HIO(Celebration) Director of Judges in November 2009. At the time of Beard’s hiring Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) contact person Teresa Bippen protested the hiring in a letter to Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows:
Beard received five tickets for Horse Protection Act (HPA) violations within the last six years with the last violation occuring just last year. FOSH questions how a repeat HPA violator can be named as a director of a judging program in a year when a record-breaking number of soring violations has occurred. In addition to soring being illegal, it is also cheating against all the exhibitors who do not sore. As SHOW expects its Director of Judging to demonstrate honesty and support for the sound horse, FOSH fails to understand how this appointment is not a conflict of interest when one considers Beard’s own recent history of soring and exhibiting. As long as SHOW continues to honor HPA violators such as Mr. Beard with positions of leadership, it is difficult for outsiders to envision that SHOW is serious about enforcement of the HPA or values such as honest. We hope that you will reconsider the message you sent to the public with your Judging choice.”

At the 2010 Celebration, Rollie Beard served as SHOW HIO Director of Judges. At that Celebration “The Coach” was tied as Tennessee World Grand Champion amid controversy and allegations regarding the integrity of the judging. “The Coach” was exhibited by “Big Lick” icon Billy Gray who served a five year USDA Federal Suspension sentence for violating the Horse Protection Act. During the championship class the final Saturday night of the 2010 Celebration, “The Coach” broke his gaits several times while being judged, yet still was declared the winner. The World Grand Champion serves as the representative of the Tennessee Walking Horse for the next year.

In matters not related to “The Coach” being tied and the public outcry following it regarding the judging, Beard’s job performance at the 2010 Celebration as SHOW HIO Director of Judges was reviewed by Celebration officials during the Celebration. Beard was critiqued for his performance at that time. Following the 2010 Celebration, Rollie Beard resigned as SHOW HIO Director of Judges. SHOW HIO, a subsidiary of the Celebration, was reported this past week to be in debt for approximately $559,000.

Sadly, it also appears that some of the other persons selected to judge of the five 2013 Tennessee National Walking Horse Celebration Judges may have HPA tickets in their past. More to follow. BGB

Cooking With Paula Deen - NOT.


  1. From what I`ve heard the judges are bought and paid for well before the *celebration* ever even gets started. n other words the winner is picked way ahead of time. If this is true, What is the incentive to pay out all that money?

    • Do you think what you heard came from a reliable source? What you have asked is a pretty serious question. I would think that the Celebration pays a handsome price for the Judges to dissuade any possibility of anyone paying them to influence the outcome. At one time, regulatory officials required Judges to agree to take lie detector tests at any time during the show and after the show. I am not sure that is the present practice or not.

  2. I have read on other sites that the 2013 WGC has already been chosen its HONORS,so are the words from those who claim to KNOW ALL.

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