SHELBYVILLE, TN – Nephew Eugene truly loves to visit Shelbyville.  It has everything Theta doesn’t  – a big square where people can drive around and wave at each other – and lots of good places to eat.

And it has Pope’s Cafe where the Lickers like to congregate.

Eugene was at Pope’s yesterday,  and was listening to some Licker Folks talk about that “SHELBYVILLE NOW” Poll that Mr. Dave Thomas sponsored and published the results last Friday.

It just flabbergasted some Lickers that Mr. Thomas Poll results were the almost the exact same as The Poll of the TWHBEA members.

63% – 37% “The Poll”  and   62% – 38% “Shelbyville NOW”

One person at Pope’s said the Shelbyville Poll was a “sneak attack”.

Another one quoted  Mr. Thomas as saying everyone in the town and country was invited to voice their opinion.    Some of the local residents protested anybody being allowed to vote in the Poll who lived outside Shelbyville    Then some of the Lickers who lived outside Shelbyville piped up to say they spent a lot of money on Horses in Shelbyville, and they should be able to vote, also.

One person said the Poll wasn’t accurate because it let people vote more than one time.  Mr. Thomas said he understood that,  but he could eliminate all the repeat votes and get it down to one vote per isp address.

Then the results came in  – 62% YES 38% NO – just almost identical to the Poll of TWHBEA members – and the ruckus started up in a big way.

So then the Lickers attacked Mr. Thomas and his  businesses “Winner’s Circle” and “National Bridle Shop”.

One large lady with a loud voice named Wallinda called Mr. Thomas extremely stupid and accused Mr. Thomas of deliberately manipulating figures and undermining the sore Big Lick.  She accused Mr. Thomas of being slanted and said other bad things about the 62% YES 28% NO vote.

Some Yankee guy named Roberto who lives outside New York City called the Poll “stupid”. Another person said Mr. Thomas had stepped in his own cereal bowl.

Mr. Thomas responded by saying he had promoted the Tennessee Walking Horse breed all his life and wasn’t going to sit back and watch greed in Shelbyville destroy it.

Jayroe from Flat Creek chimed in and said he was taking Mr. Thomas’s side.  Jayroe then accused the Sound Side (YES) voting more than 300 times. He kind of put words in Mr. Thomas’s mouth saying he was trying to help and realized that he had made a mistake.

One fellow weighed in and said he was concerned his Big Lick show horse worth $25,000.00 might be worth a few hundred dollars if the PAST Act passed.  He had a lot to say about it wasn’t greed, but that lots of people had invested lots of money in breeding, horses, real estate, jobs.  And that there had been a change of culture and there were only a few bad apples ruining things for everybody now.

Another Licker woman had nice things to say about Mr.Thomas, and she felt he had made a mistake with the Poll, and was critical about the person who would vote over 300 times to attempt to manipulate it.

Another person basically said, “we have met the enemy and he is us”.  Another one said they were all feeling “frustrated and helpless”.  One person said the next trouble would be the  “legal problem” up in East Tennessee, and said everyone needed to make sure that the men got the best legal representation possible and positive press from PSHA.  He suggested giving away tickets to the Trainer’s Show to all the soldiers at Fort Campbell, the National Guard and the VA Hospital in Murfreesboro, TN.  He said fill the seats with veterans.

Wallinda then continued her criticism of Mr. Thomas and said,   “Mr. Thomas went ahead after being warned, and he made a huge mistake.  He never should have let the world know about the Poll numbers outside Shelbyville.  And God forbid, he posted for all the world to see the votes on the area outside 250 miles from Shelbyville showing the majority favored passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act to remove the pads and chains.

Than Mr. Thomas finally got enough of the yip yap.   He thanked those defending him, and  said he had been around the Licker Business for his entire life.   And  he was disappointed in the last 20 years.  He said he wasn’t going to drink the Kool Aid.   And then, he (while looking directly at Wallinda)  intimated that the Lickers was the side which had attempted to stuff the ballot box by voting more than once. He said he would post that if they really wanted him to do so.

The room went totally silent.

He said that he couldn’t force down any more Kool Aid and it was time to shoot straight and focus on reality.  He said he would try to continue to connect the Shelbyville community with the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.

One sore Big Lick guy from Alabama who posted on Facebook about never admitting “fixing” a horse said Mr. Thomas needed to go have lunch with the TWHBEA VP who had polled the TWHBEA members on the PAST Act.

Mr. Thomas said he thanked all of the people from the Walking Horse community who had emailed supporting his companies.

One of round Wallinda’s friends named Balinda piped up and got nosey and wanted to know “WHO” the numerous emails were supporting?

Mr. Thomas told Balinda his entire group of companies.

Another person asked Mr. Thomas what he was hoping for in the Walking Horse business “elimination of the padded horse”  “passage of HR 1518”?

Mr. Thomas said his view was that no more laws were needed to change the Horse Protection Act.

Finally, one person put the ultimate litmus test to Mr. Thomas –

Do You Support All Divisions Of The Tennessee Walking Horse?

Mr. Thomas emphatically said,  “Yes”.

Nephew Eugene noticed that he had his fingers crossed when he said that.

And so it goes in Lickerville, Tennessee,  where all the women are strong-willed, all the men are not that good-looking, and all the children hope the PAST ACT passes soon so they don’t have to grow up with the TWH soring stigma hanging over their heads.




“All of the media outlets had an agenda. So I had to find out for myself. Recently, I started a website called that is dedicated to serving the citizens of Shelbyville and Bedford County. The first 3 weeks we took a poll as to what the people of Shelbyville considered to be real news that they wanted to hear about. The #1 response was the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. We will be keeping the community up-to-date with the REAL news in the Walking Horse industry and continue to promote this breed. We Love the Tennessee Walking Horse and the City of Shelbyville. I’ve lived here for 51 years! The citizens of this city deserve to know what’s going on because the Tennessee Walking Horse has been the cornerstone of the economy around here for over 75 years. For the past 15 years or so there has been an unfortunate disconnect between the TWH industry and the community. is striving to reconnect Shelbyville to the Walking Horse Industry”