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The Shelbyville Horse Show Jubilee officially got under way Thursday with the annual breakfast that drew a large crowd into a steamy barn at Undulata Farm.
“Like Christmas it’s rolled around again,” Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty told the assembled crowd.
The breakfast is the first event for the Jubilee, nine events stretched through the weekend and the Youth Art Show, which ends Aug. 4.
After the crowd had finished eating, S.K. Zimmerman, the master of ceremonies, led the group in the singing of a single versus of a few songs.
“We need something to get that breakfast digested and the blood pumping, if the heat hasn’t already taken care of that,” he said.
After singing, Zimmerman introduced representatives from Shelbyville, Shelby County and Simpsonville, who along with Coldwell Banker Larry Rogers Realty, sponsored the event.
Hardesty, Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger and Simpsonville City Administrator David Eaton each spoke to the crowd.
“The cardiology department at Jewish Hospital will be providing T-shirts that say ‘I survived the Jubilee Breakfast’ for those of you that had to park at the end of the driveway and walk through this heat to get up here,” Rothenburger said jokingly.
But it was Eaton that wowed the crowd with a story from around the time of the horse show’s inception.
“I don’t know how many of you remember, but about 21 years when we started with the hospitality tent, it was at the other end of the campus [on the fairgrounds], and we just had guide wire around a tent,” he said. “You had to have a ticket to get in, but we later found out that some people were doing was going to the back of the tent and handing their ticket to someone else, and, the next thing you know, five, six, seven people are using the same ticket, and we were running out of food.”
Eaton said the organizers got together and came up with the solution of adding bouncers in the tent.
“So they enlisted me and Tom Hardesty. I know, aren’t we intimidating?” he said laughing. “As I’m sure you can imagine, this didn’t work very well. They actually expected me and Tom to bounce people in August and then turn around and ask them to vote for us in November. It wasn’t going to happen.”
After the laughter died down, 2011 Miss Kentucky Ann-Blair Thornton, the featured guest speaker, took the podium.
Thornton, who’s grandparents are Shelby County residents Bill and Ann Borders, shared some of her lessons learned throughout her experience as Miss Kentucky, and how Shelby County was the perfect place for her to round out her tenure.
“My very first appearance as Miss Kentucky was here in Shelbyville, actually at the horse show,” she said. “And my last appearance was at Simpsonville Elementary, so Shelby County has kind of bookended my tenure. I want to thank you, Shelby County, for helping make my year so wonderful. It’s great to be back here, again, for the horse show.”