Local Bank, TWHBEA will be Celebration Sponsors

Weeks after the Regions Bank withdrew its sponsorship of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, event management has announced that another financial institution, along with the Tennessee Walking Horse breed registry will become the sponsors for the high profile exhibition.

Last month, Jeremy D. King, vice president of corporate communications for Regions Financial Corporation, said Regions Bank had withdrawn its celebration—a high-profile exhibition event which takes place each August in Shelbyville, Tennessee—sponsorship for corporate business reasons. The withdrawal was the second since 2012 when PepsiCo withdrew its celebration sponsorship following an ABC News report on soring.

At the time of the Regions announcement, Michael Inman, chief executive officer of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, said that the bank's withdrawal “opens the opportunity for another financial institution to step in.”

On July 10, Celebration spokesman Rob Hoskins said the event would partner with the First Community Bank of Bedford County. Under that partnership, the bank will become the event's premier sponsor and the first Saturday night of the 2014 celebration will be designated First Community Bank of Bedford County Night.

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA) will also be an event sponsor, Hoskins said. In addition to its sponsorship, TWHBEA will host its National Futurity Championships on the celebration grounds.

“(TWHBEA) is returning after a several year absence, and celebration officials are very excited to welcome them back home,” Hoskins said.

Bank CEO Scott Cocanougher said his firm's celebration sponsorship represents an investment back into the community.

“This show has been the mainstay even in this community for 75 years and provides the opportunity to not only show off this amazing animal, but also Shelbyville and Bedford County to the thousands of attendees,” he said.

Teresa Bippen, president of Friends of Sound Horses, was surprised by the bank's corporate sponsorship.

“It is amazing that any company would financially support a horse show that has been subject to harsh criticism and worldwide scrutiny for soring abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses,” she said.

Meanwhile, Inman applauded the event's sponsors: “It's our sponsors that help make the celebration possible, and we look forward to another amazing show next month.”

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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