Citizens Campaign Ad “Don’t Give $25,000 Tourism Tax Money To Hurt Horses!!!” Appeals To Tourism Board To Make The Best Decision For Panama City Beach/Bay County, Florida

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL –  Almost 9,000+ persons have now signed Change.Org Petitions urging the TDC/CVB Tourism Board to deny $25,000.00 tourism tax money to Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show organizer Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan to market and promote the “Big Lick” horse show which is directly associated with Animal Cruelty.

Ms. Milligan failed to disclose a number of material facts to the Tourism Board on Jan. 12, 2016,  when she requested the Board to approve a $25,000.00 funding request of tourism tax money to market and promote the Gulf Coast Charity Trainers Horse Show.

People from all over America and around the World have chipped in $10 – $25 – $50 donations to pay for ads in the Panama City News Herald newspaper.   The first Ad appears on the newspaper website: PANAMAPencil_Banner_3

When person opens the page, the Ad expands and displays the following message whidh is addressed to the TDC/CVB Tourism Board:PANAMAADHORSES01

The “Horse Show Controversy”  boiled over in Panama City Beach when the public learned that on Jan. 12, 2016,  the TDC/CVB Tourism Board unanimously agreed to provide $25,000.00 tourism tax funds to horse show organizer Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan.  Unbeknownst to the Tourism Board,  Ms. Milligan has a record of Horse Protection Act Violation (Animal Cruelty) Citations, and a serious federal Complaint was filed against her and her horse trainer on Dec. 14, 2015, which alleged Horse Protection Act violations (Animal Cruelty) which occurred at the Panama City Horse Show in 2013.    Apparently, Ms. Milligan failed to disclose this,  and other important facts , to the nine member Tourism Development Board when she requested the funds.


The TDC/CVB Tourism Board members are:

Mr. Phillip Griffitts, Jr.              

Mr. Andy Phillips       

Mayor Gayle Oberst

Mr. Rick Russell       

Mr. David Chapman

Mr. Buddy Wilkes            

Mr. Yonnie Patronis

Mr. Gary Walsingham

Mr. Mike Thomas   

Mr. Dan Rowe, CEO

Mr. Doug Sale, Attorney


On Monday, Feb. 29, 2016,   the Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty has requested to be placed on the Agenda of the TDC/CVB Tourism Board at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday,  March 8, 2016.







The Citizens Campaign letter was delivered to Mr. Dan Rowe,  CE0,  TDC/CVB Tourism Board on Monday morning,  Feb. 29, 2016.

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016,  Mr. Dan Rowe replied,  I am in receipt of the packet you delivered to my office yesterday. That information has been forwarded to the chairman for his consideration. I will advise as to his decision when it occurs later this week.   If the chairman chooses not to include your presentation on the agenda, you will have the opportunity to address the CVB board during the public comment portion of the meeting.   Expect to hear from me again on Friday.”

Mr. Phillip Griffitts, Jr., is the Chairman of the TDC/CVB Tourism Board:

(Left to Right) Mr. Gary Williamson, Mr. Phillip Griffitts, Jr., Mr. Rick Russell (Vice Mayor)

(Left to Right) Mr. Gary Williamson, Mr. Phillip Griffitts, Jr., Mr. Rick Russell (Vice Mayor)C

Citizens Campaign representative Clant M. Seay said,  “I hope that each member of the Tourism Board will read the following comment by a PCB resident, and reflect upon it, and then search their conscience, and make the right decision for their community which, in my opinion,  is to not take ownership of this “Big Lick” horse show by providing tourism tax funds to market it. This horse show has a horrible record of Animal Cruelty.   To be associated with an event which involves hurting horses, much less providing $25,000 to fund it,  will bring disgrace and shame to one of the most beautiful places in America.  Citizens should attend this meeting and speak out.  The board should consider that both Regions Bank and Pepsi-Co recently pulled their $25,000.00 sponsorships of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  The TDC/CVB Tourism Board should do the same, and ensure that Panama City Beach and Bay County are on the right side of history where this issue is concerned, and not stain their community with this stigma”

PCB/Bay County resident:   So ashamed that this abuse continues year after year despite the increasing awareness that this is flat out animal cruelty. And add to it that our tax dollars are being funneled to support this show is so egregious. We can’t have this on our beautiful beaches again. The publicity will most definitely impact future tourism.” PANAMASUNSET02