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Shelbyville Horse Show starts Wednesday

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25th anniversary means added excitement, organizers say

By Lisa King

Shelbyville Horse Show

What:25th annual Saddlebred competition

When:7 p.m., July 30 – Aug. 2

Where:Shelby County Fairgrounds

Tickets:$5 per person for gate admission, $350 for 6 box seats, including gate admission, for the entire show, $45 for Horseman’s Tent, $20 for Saturday night party

 

How can you improve on something like the Shelbyville Horse Show?

Well, that’s easy, organizers say, just throw a 25th anniversary atmosphere into the mix.

“We’re going to be doing the T-shirt thing, and we’ve got somebody coming that has a T-shirt gun like you see at football games, and we’re going to give away some shirts and shoot them up into the stands,” said R.H. Bennett, manager of the Shelbyville Horse Show.

The show, which begins Wednesday, will also be broadcast live on the Internet by Richfield Video, Bennett said.

Preparations for the show got underway at the Shelby County Fairgrounds, last week, said Pam Ray, co-chair of the Horseman’s Club, along with Tina Sanderlin and Lucy Long.

“Tents are up; we have been out there most of the day, and they are bringing in picnic tables in as we speak, so we’re moving right along,” she said on Thursday.

“We’re doing a little painting and sprucing up. Sunday at two o’clock is going to be set-up Sunday, and we are going to have as many volunteers as we can get come out and help cover all the picnic tables in vinyl and do some of the last minute stuff before we finish up.”

Those volunteers make the horse show possible, Ray said.

“We’ve got so many volunteers, we’ll have people parking cars, the Sharks Swim team, hosts and hostess at the horseman’s club, electricians, carpenters and painters – I can’t even begin to guess how many we’ve got,” she said.

Bennett said that everyone is looking forward to the show this year, with around 500 horses expected, and even some new horses coming in.

“We’ve got two new stables coming in from Chicago and Florida, so we’re looking forward to having them, too,” he said.

 

Special touches

In addition to all of the standard preparations and décor, some unique decorations are also in the works, including centerpieces for the tables that will commemorate the show’s 25th anniversary, as well as the shirts mentioned by Bennett. As well as shooting some of them up into the stands as free gifts, they will also be for sale, and will include the names of some of the more prominent stables that have been involved in the show over the years.

Edward “Hoppy” Bennett, board member of the horse show and R.H. Bennett’s brother, said that there was a tremendous response from stable owners for that activity.

Also, R.H. Bennett’s daughter, Lily Bennett, put together a special video commemorating the show’s 25th anniversary that was shown at the Shelbyville Horse Show Jubilee Breakfast Thursday morning.

“I put together photos of the horse show starting in the 1990s all the way up to 2013,” she said.

The photos include not only horses, but also people who have been instrumental in the show over the years, some of whom have passed away, she said.

The video went over so well at the jubilee that she has decided to set it up in the horse show office so that people can come in and watch it, she said.

R.H. Bennett said that watching the video at the breakfast was very emotional for him.

“It makes me feel proud of what we’re accomplished, and it’s really a mixed bag of emotions,” he said. “There are so many people that are no longer with us that were extremely helpful with the event. We miss those guys, but we take pride that we are still continuing in the same light as when they were in there rolling up their sleeves, too.”

Bennett said that continuing tradition is very important to everyone connected with the show.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long and I don’t want to admit that I must be twenty-five years older than I was when we started, but I’m awfully proud of it,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing, and I think it’s wonderful for our community; it’s like a big family reunion that includes everybody, because people come home and schedule their family reunions around the horse show. So they get to see not only their family, but also their friends and their schoolmates and so forth. So it’s fun that the community has something like this to offer.”