SHELBYVILLE, TN – Three days following Monday night’s “Celebration Association” Annual Meeting, The Walking Horse Report today finally reported that Mr. David L. Howard (Walking Horse Report publisher) “retired” from the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Board of Directors.
Mr. Scott Johnson was elected to replace Mr. Howard.
|By Jeffrey HowardDavid Howard officially retired from the Celebration Board at the January 26th meeting of the Celebration Association. Scott Johnson, son of former Board member Virgil Johnson, was elected to serve in the role vacated by Howard. Howard joined the Celebration Association in 1987 and was elected to the Celebration Board in 1997. During that time, he was dedicated to promoting the Celebration and the Tennessee Walking Horse.”David is one of the most dedicated people to our industry that I have had the pleasure to work with for the past 25 years. He has been a great influence on me personally and professionally and he will be truly missed on our board. I am very blessed to call him my friend,” said Connie Allen, Director of Office Operations for the Celebration.Celebration CEO Mike Inman added, “David’s passion for the Celebration and how it is woven into the fabric of Shelbyville is always apparent. It is and has been a total commitment. I have found David’s leadership as Chairman to be an incredible asset.”David Howard has served as Chairman of the Board for two separate terms, most recently this last year of his service. Pat Marsh was elected to the role of Chairman of the Board for the coming year.”We are really going to miss David’s knowledge and expertise of the Walking Horse industry as well as his business sense. He has put in countless hours of free work and done it with a big heart to help the horse, trainers and owners. He has done it for the right reasons and I respect him greatly for that,” said Marsh.”In my 25 years of involvement with The Celebration no one that I have dealt with has given more time or more effort to The Celebration than David. He will be missed by all of us and I appreciate his service and his friendship. In addition to his service, David is the longest standing corporate sponsor of The Celebration and his company’s generosity has meant a great deal to The Celebration,” said board member John T. Bobo.Fellow board member, Charles McDonald, commented, “The Celebration, and more particularly, The Celebration Board of Directors, has lost a huge resource and dedicated member with the retirement of David. His insight and knowledge of the Walking Horse industry has been invaluable. His dedication and commitment to The Celebration, and what I’ve grown to see and appreciate, his love and sincerity for the betterment of the breed, is far more than most people realize.”Although he may think he will be able to walk away into obscurity, I feel
certain The Celebration Board has other thoughts and will be calling on
David regularly for guidance and advice. It has been my pleasure to work with him for his years of dedicated service to The Celebration Board and I appreciate his friendship.”Howard is the owner and president of Dabora, Inc. which publishes the Walking Horse Report. Although Howard turned over the majority of the management of Dabora, Inc. to his children Christy Womack and Jeffrey Howard, he keeps an active link to the industry through Walking Horse Report.”It has been an honor and privilege to serve on the Board with some outstanding and committed community leaders. The Celebration is more than a horse show and its leadership is critical to the future of the breed. Without the broad based support from horsemen all over the country the Celebration would not be the championship this horse deserves. I certainly appreciate the support I have received,” said Howard.”
SHELBYVILLE TIMES-GAZETTE ARTICLE
Howard retires as Celebration chair
Thursday, January 29, 2015
The Celebration’s leadership underwent some changes following a Monday meeting.
Chairman David Howard has retired from the Celebration board upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70, but he plans to stay busy with Dabora Inc., the family business, his son Jeff Howard said.
David Howard was not available for comment at press time.
State Rep. Pat Marsh is the new board chairman, said Mike Inman, Celebration CEO.
Board positions rotate every two years, Marsh said, and he had served as vice chairman for two years, so he was already scheduled to assume the lead position.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Marsh said. “With David, we hate to see him go. He has a lot of business sense and a lot of knowledge of the horse business. We hope to keep him involved in some of our meetings.”
The Celebration’s leadership has one new face — Bedford County Emergency Management Agency director Scott Johnson, who is a new board member, Inman said.
Addressing rumors going around the community about his employment status, Inman said he does not plan to leave The Celebration.
“Absolutely not,” Inman said.
The Celebration board plans to continue to work to implement objective inspections so “trainers and owners feel like they get a fair inspection instead of subjective inspections,” Marsh said.
THE DECLINE OF THE WALKING HORSE CELEBRATION – 2006 TO 2015
Mr. David L. Howard seized control of the Celebration in 2007 when he engineered the ouster of long time successful Celebration CEO Mr. Ron Thomas (1984 – 2007)
Since that time, the Celebration has gone into a free fall:
CELEBRATION ATTENDANCE ““ 2004 TO 2014 – LOSS OF 73,000 FANS
Under Mr. Ron Thomas, the Celebration’s annual Corporate Sponsorships exceeded $1 Million a year.
In 2014, the Corporate Sponsorships were down by $700,000.00.
The largest corporate sponsor, Pepsi Cola, pulled out after the Hall of Fame Trainer Jackie McConnell expose’.
Last year, the largest remaining corporate sponsor, Regions Bank, decided it no longer wanted animal abuse in the form of Horse Soring to stain its corporate image.
Regions is the largest bank in Shelbyville and does business in 16 states.
AAWHA EXPOSING THAT DR. DALLAS GOBLE WAS NOT PART OF “VAC”
Perhaps the all time low of Mr. Howard’s service as Celebration Chairman was the AAWHA‘S discrediting the vaunted “VAC” (Veterinary Advisory Committee) when it was revealed by the All American Walking Horse Alliance that Dr. Dallas Goble was not part of the “VAC”
THE TENNESSEAN NEWSPAPER HEADLINES – WALKING HORSE CELEBRATION
As Celebration Chairman, Mr. Howard publicly claimed Dr. Dallas O. Goble was part of the “VAC”. Mr. Howard traded on Dr. Goble’s professional association with the beloved Budweiser Clydesdales attempting to give the Celebration some degree of respectability and credibility. Mr. Howard bragged on internet message board that the Celebration would spend $250,000.00 on the “VAC”.
THE FAMOUS BUDWEISER CLYDESDALES
When contacted during the Celebration by AAWHA, Dr. Dallas O. Goble spoke freely:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Group: AAWHA (ALL AMERICAN WALKING HORSE ALLIANCE)
Contact: Clant M. Seay – Media Representative/Spokesperson
Phone: (662) ““ 380 ““ 3367 AAWHAMEDIAREP@gmail.com
DR. DALLAS O. GOBLE IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE CELEBRATION’S “VAC” VETERINARY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
NASHVILLE, TN ““ The All American Walking Horse Alliance discovered Tuesday that Dallas O. Goble, DVM, is not a member of the “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
It appears that Celebration Chairman David L. Howard and his “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship have perpetrated a fraud upon the public by claiming that Dr. Dallas O. Goble, DVM, is a part of the “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee ““ a so-called independent inspection program paid for by The Celebration that has been widely publicized by the organizers. When reached at his home on Tuesday, Dr. Goble said he knew absolutely nothing about the Celebration using his name and reputation until he was contacted about it by a friend.
When asked it if he was a member of the “VAC”, he said:
“No, I am not a part of it. I wouldn’t touch that with a 10 foot pole.”
When Dr. Goble was told that Celebration Chairman David L. Howard and “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship were using his name and his reputation to bolster the credentials of the VAC by stressing his participation on the committee”, Dr. Goble said, “The only thing my name is on is my driver’s license.”
Dr. Goble explained that he had originally been approached by Dr. Jerry H. Johnson about possibly being on the “VAC”, and said he would do it, but as he had been retired for 11 years and he didn’t have the necessary malpractice insurance, he declined the invitation.
In reponse to AAWHA questions, Dr. Goble said:
- I never signed any Contract with the Celebration
- I never received any payment or retainer with the Celebration.
- The last time I set foot on the Celebration grounds was 20 ““ 25 years ago.
- The last time I worked with the Clydesdale herd was three years ago.
- I am leaving Wednesday to go do missionary work in Guatemala.
Since the original announcement in mid-July 2014 that the Celebration was going to hire an “independent” group of vets, and that Dr. Goble was a key member due to his care for the Budwieser Clydesdales, Celebration Chairman David L. Howard and “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship have repeatedly used Dr. Goble’s name apparently knowing full well that Dr. Goble is not a member of the “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee.
On July 22, 2014, “VAC” Chairman Dr. Jerry H. Johnson told the press, “The panel consists of Drs. Jerry H. Johnson, D.V.M, Dallas O. Goble, D.V.M, and Phillip D. Hammock, D.V.M. As chairman I speak for the entire committee and we are pleased to provide TWHNC with independent veterinary advice,” said Johnson. “Our primary mission is to protect the horse and set a gold standard which hopefully will be embraced and utilized by the industry for the future.”
On July 25, 2014, Celebration Chairman Howard said on The Walking Horse Report internet message board, “”These three nationally acclaimed totally independent vets were retained at the suggestion of the few Senators and Congressmen that are keeping this law from being passed. Dr. Jerry Johnson has worked with Senator Lamar Alexander prior to being retained. One of the other vets is responsible for the Budweiser Clydesdalesand I can assure you they know what they are doing and have no intention of doing anything except to get rid of any unsound horses.”
“The Celebration retained these three vets after meeting with and talking to other leadings vets in the country; the senators and congressmen that are fighting for the breed’s survival; lobbyists dealing every day with this legislation, other breed representatives and several highly respected public relations firms,” said Celebration Chairman David L. Howard.
On August 20, 2014, “VAC” Spokesperson Tom Blankenship, said,”The [Veterinary Advisory Committee] does not work for Celebration. They are totally, by contract, independent.”Blankenship said the Celebration spent a “significant” amount of money to secure the contract with VAC, which he said is comprised of three world-class” veterinarians. (WSMV TV Allana Autler interview)
As recently as August 22, 2014, in a comment on The Tennessean article by Brian Wilson, Celebration Board Chairman David L. Howard said, “None of these vets have had a deep and long tie to the industry and if you will merely Google their names you will see their credentials are top notch and their integrity is without question. “¦ By the way, one of the vets on the VAC is responsible for the care of the Budweiser Clydesdales and another is the official vet for the most prestigious sales of thoroughbreds. You can rest assured they are not going to compromise their principles or damage their reputation by doing anything improper.”
On August, 22, 2014, Mr. Howard extended an invitation to The Tennessean reporter Brian Wilson, “Mr. Wilson, you are more than welcome to come to the Celebration and see first hand what the Celebration is doing to eliminate any soring. Members of the Veterinary Advisory Committee will be more than happy to meet with you and answer any questions that you have as well as observe their protocol for examining horses.”
The horse inspection program owned by the Celebration known as S.H.O.W. HIO, is presently being decertifed by the USDA in legal proceedings due to it allegedly not properly enforcing the Horse Protection Act.
The “VAC” Veterinary Advisory Committee is in addition to the S.H.O.W. HIO inspection program. -30- ####################################################
Mr. Mike Inman, who approved hosting Cock Fighter B. L. Cozad, Jr., speaking at the Hall of Fame Club during the 2014 Celebration, when asked if he planned to leave the Celebration, Mr. Inman told the Shelbyville newspaper, “Absolutely not”.
NEW CELEBRATION CHAIRMAN PAT MARSH
The “new” Celebration Chairman Pat Marsh said, “The Celebration board plans to continue to work to implement objective inspections so “trainers and owners feel like they get a fair inspection instead of subjective inspections,” Marsh said.
Mr. Marsh also said when lobbying in Washington against the PAST ACT, ”
- “People come to the show to see the fancy, high-stepping horses, and we need to keep the industry going strong.“
It’s pretty obvious that Mr. Marsh is thinking about everybody, but “these guys”.
And Nephew Eugene says that is a crying shame.