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Shelby County Horse Show has new manager

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Fenton will replace R.H. Bennett after 22 years at the reins

By Lisa King

After more than two decades of managing the Shelby County Fair Horse Show, R.H. Bennett has stepped down, citing other commitments.

“I'm the manager of the Shelbyville Horse Show, and I have stepped down from managing that,” he said. “I've got a conflict with other stuff going on. I've done it for the past twenty years or so.”

Shelby County Fair Board member Jeff Hagerman said the board of the directors of the fair’s horse show called a meeting after Bennett’s announcement last week to try to come up with a replacement and Monday night made the decision to appoint Pleasureville resident Peter Fenton.

“Everything has been approved,” he said Tuesday. “We met last night and the board approved Peter Fenton as the new manager.”

“It’s always a good show, always a quality show and Peter has been around the business for years and he manages shows in other parts of the country,” said Hagerman.

He added that the board is excited to have someone as experienced in the horse show sector as Fenton coming on board.

“We don’t anticipate anything other than what we’ve had in the past,” he said. “There’ll be a few little tweaks and changes to it, but I think we’ll have even a better show now. We have talked about doing an exhibitor party which we have not typically done, so we may do that.”

Fenton expressed gratitude at being chosen, and said he plans to start right away with the Shelby County Fair Horse Show coming up June 21.

“I am honored,” he said. “I live in Shelby County, and I think it’s so important for people in that area to know how important horses are to the community in a number of different ways, and how important horse shows like the Shelby County Fair and all of those are – they are an integral part of the world’s championships and sort of sets the stage for the American Saddlebred industry.”

Fenton, who has been the announcer for the Shelby County Fair Horse Show since 1995, said that Shelby County is the hub of the industry, so he knows how important the show’s role is in the county.

“We are truly the Mecca for the Saddlebred, it’s very important to our business, so I was very honored to be asked and very happy to be able to move forward with this,” he said.

He said he hasn’t had much time to think about what changes he plans to make, if any, in the show – that will come with time.

“I’ve thought about it, and it’s funny, you can make a million plans, but sometime – now that it will happen – I’ll try to formulate them,” he said. “I manage and announce horse shows. I have announced the Shelby County Fair Horse Show and Shelbyville and Louisville and Rock Creek shows, and have worked with R.H. and for R.H at a lot of different places. I manage about six or seven [horse shows] throughout the country in Texas, Florida, California, St. Louis. I was raised in the horse business, it’s the only thing I’ve ever known.”

Hagerman said the board wants to thank Bennett for his years of service and plans to have some sort of ceremony in his honor during the show.

“We want to congratulate R.H. for his years of service,” he said. “R.H. has been involved in managing the horse show since 1995.”