SHELBYVILLE, TN – Nephew Eugene could hear the “ruckus” coming out of Pope’s Cafe from out on the sidewalk this morning. The whole gang was in there, and a new fellow named Bobby DeVito from Jersey had arrived.
Bobby is 3rd cousin twice removed to Tommy DeVito who stars in Jersey Boys.
TOMMY DEVITO, 3RD COUSIN OF BOBBY DEVITO, TWICE REMOVED
Seems like the Celebration Chairman David L. Howard has hired a Nashville public relations firms, DVL, to “spin” the goings ons at the 2014 Celebration.
And Chairman Howard has borrowed Indiana attorney Big Licker Tom Blankenship from the Steve Smith/Walt Chism cabal to be the “Straw Boss”over the 2014 Celebration.
Tom Blankenship is Steve Smith/Walt Chism’s man from way back and was involved in all sorts of sore Big Lick shenanigans. Tom is thick with Vet Dr. Jerry Johnson who has apparently been whispering in one of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s ears apparently “misinforming” the Senator about key issues on Horse Soring. Lamar Alexander’s Campaign Finance Chairman Steve Smith has been whispering in the other ear.
Senator Alexander’s hometown of Maryville, Tennessee was the scene this week of a legal matter involving a “TENNESSEE TRADTION OF HORSE SORING” that for some reason (Steve Smith’s $$$$ Campaign money) Alexander decided to champion in the U. S. Senate.
LARRY JOE WHEELON OUTSIDE COURTROOM WITH ASSOCIATE BOBBIE JO KOGER
U.S. SENATOR LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN)
Tennessee’s enlightened, and not “Bought And Paid For” U. S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) has NOT sponsored the Lamar Alexander/Mitch McConnell bill to enable horse soring.
So it’s “Bye Bye” to the famous Purple Couch of Purple Strategies of Washington and Chicago, and it’s “Hello” to Ken Whitehead of DVL. A Nashville news reporter describes as the the DVL Public Relations firm as “influential”. Nephew Eugene kind of wonders why an objective news reporter, who is not supposed to be influenced by “spin doctors” in reporting the news, would describe a public relations firm as “influential”.
As of right now, no one has yet learned what color couch the DVL firm has.
- THE FAMOUS PURPLE COUCH
DVL executive Ken Whitehouse is a ”Crisis Management” guru.
KEN WHITEHOUSE, DVL PR FIRM “CRISIS MANAGEMENT” EXPERT
Ken Whitehead’s job is to apply “lipstick” to David L. Howard’s 2014 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
LIPSTICK ON THE CELEBRATION PIG OF HORSE SORING
The first thing Mr. Whitehead has done is announce the existence of “VAC” (yes another acronym to join TWSHO, PSHA, FAST, TWHGRO, ETC.)
“VAC” stands for Veterinary Advisory Committee. The Gauleiter of “VAC” is Indiana attorney Tom Blankenship who isn’t a Vet, but is going to use them as a “FRONT” for all sorts of creative things that Celebration Chairman David L. Howard and TWHBEA President Steve Smith would like to accomplish.
“VAC” is made up of some Vets who don’t know a whole lot about sore Tennessee Walking Horses, but the pay is good, and one of them is Dr. Jerry Johnson who has a rather interesting prior history and involvement in a high level extraordinarily expensive “POWER PLAY” to render impotent the USDA”SCAR RULE” regulation to stop soring. The “SCAR RULE” is used by the USDA to disqualify Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horses from showing when they have scars on both front feet. The scars result from abusive training practices such as attaching/stacking multiple pairs of chains to the horse’s foot and applying caustic chemicals to sore the horse. Then have the chains wham the sore areas.
TENNESSEAN CARTOON – ACCOMPANYING THE TENNESSEAN EDITORIAL URGING PASSAGE OF THE PAST ACT
Indiana lawyer, Tom Blankenship, will speak for “VAC” and have complete say so over it. And, of course, Celebration Chairman David L. Howard will have complete say over everything and everybody …. as usual.
CELEBRATION CHAIRMAN DAVID L. HOWARD
Once upon a time, Mr. Blankenship was paid by TWHBEA President Steve Smith‘s gang
TWHBEA PRESIDENT STEVE SMITH, U. S. SENATOR LAMAR ALEXANDER CAMPAIGN FINANCE CHAIRMAN
to assist in easing through the U. S. Senate an amendment to the Horse Protection Act which would “neuter” the “SCAR RULE”. The plan was for Smith’s personal friend, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), to put in a “FIX” and change the definition of the “SCAR RULE” where it could no longer be used to catch persons who were creating lesions on horses feet which left scars.
This all occurred in 2006, and the scheme almost succeeded. The general public didn’t realize that Steve Smith – Tom Blankenship bunch was trying to pull off. The devilish scheme was thwarted at the last minute when The Tennessean newspaper reporter Brad Shrade, who later went on to win a Putlizer Prize, obtained a copy of the ”Smith/Blankenship” Amendment to the Horse Protection Act. Senate Majority Leader Frist as a reward to his loyal supporter Steve Smith was going to ”attach” the HPA amendment on some other piece of legislation, and no one would learn about it until it was a “fait accompli”.
Steve Smith and Tom Blankenship raised several hundred thousand dollars to “buy and pay for whoever or whatever was needed”. Some say that Bobby DeVito put up a couple of hundred thousand himself to fund this exercise in American democracy. William B. Johnson put up a couple of hundred thousand. And Steve Smith had the Friends Of Show Horses throw in another couple of hundred thousand.
All total, about $700,000.00+/- was raised.
To this day, no one knows to who or for what or where all the money was spent.
You can figure Tom Blankenship was handsomely compensated along with “VAC” Committee lead Vet Dr. Jerry Johnson.
But I digress. The details of this tawdy Steve Smith/Tom Blankenship affair are a story for another day.
Suffice it to say in 2014, the ineffably pompous and arrogant Steve Smith has “loaned” Indiana attorney Tom Blankenship (a former Big Lick exhibitor) to the even more ineffably pompous and arrogant Celebration Chairman David L. Howard.
One thing for Blankenship is to be the mouthpiece by which David Howard can tell the WALKING HORSE TRIANER BOYZ what they are going to have to do.
On June 5, 2014, David Howard had a Press Conference set up in Shelbyville to announce that Horses were going to be required to be stabled on the Celebration grounds for the 2014 horse show. The Trainer BOYZ revolted on that one, saying not No, but
The Press Conference was abruptly cancelled.
So now, attorney Tom Blankenship has the newly anointed “VAC” announce:
- Horses must be stabled on the grounds of the TWHNC for 48 hours before championships,
- Registration papers, as well as a current (within 30 days) health certificate and negative Coggins test for each horse to gain admittance into the show grounds,
- Digital x-rays and blood draws on-site conducted and supervised by VAC appointed licensed equine veterinarian specialists.
- Dr. John L. O’Brien, DVM, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, has been appointed Show Veterinarian by the VAC.
HERE’S THE PECKING ORDER – CHAIN OF COMMAND – 2014 CELEBRATION
- CHAIRMAN DAVID L. HOWARD - STEVE SMITH (LAMAR ALEXANDER $$ MAN)
- TOM BLANKENSHIP – STRAW BOSS
- “VAC” VET – DR. JERRY JOHNSON (KEY OPERATIVE IN THE 2006 STEVE SMITH PLOT TO “SNEAK” IN A “SECRET” AMENDMENT TO THE HORSE PROTECTION ACT (1970) TO REWRITE AND RENDER IMPOTENT THE “SCAR RULE” REGULATION. THE OTHER TWO VETS WHICH ARE PART OF “VAC” ARE JUST WINDOW DRESSING.
- SHOW VETERINARIAN - Dr. John L. O’Brien, DVM
- CELEBRATION CEO MIKE INMAN
- S.H.O.W. HIO DQP COORDINATOR MITCHELL BUTLER ( THE CELEBRATION OWNED S.H.O.W. HIO (HORSE INSPECTION PROGRAM) IS PRESENTLY BEING DECERTIFED BY THE USDA FOR REPEATED VIOLATIONS OF THE HORSE PROTECTION ACT.
THE SESSION AT POPE’S CAFE
Herr Howardo announces “VAC”.
Bobby DeVito (who owns a nice cushy farm in Bedford County where his Trainer JimmyMedMac trains each Celebration complains that with all the “VAC” rules and regulations, there’s no need for DQP or the USDA. If blood testing, xraying etc indicate a sound horse but the DQP turns that horse down, will show management allow the horse to show? Will that DQP ticket be torn up? And, if not, will SHOW still require $1,000 to appeal? And what happens if the DQP and the USDA pass the horse, but the VAC calls the horse out, will the horse be able to show?
Mmackey chimed in saying the Lickers don’t need the USDA or HSUS to put them out of business – and loudly complains, WE HAVE ALL THE RULES AND REGULATIOINS WE NEED. Who thinks adding these additional requirements will alleviate any of the current rules? Has the USDA said they will drop ONE requirement with this additional testing? We did swabbing and the USDA immediately said it was invalid. At a show this spring horses were eye scanned, thermography, palpitatied going and coming. One trainers horse went through horrid inspections…he finally asked why they were doing this over and over nothing was wrong with the horse. Dr. Bakers response was “The eye scan said this horse had a scar rule violation last year” Trainer said “what the heck does that have to do with now? Owners and trainers alike are fed up…I suspect the Celebration again will only be a shadow of what it was in the past.
Bobby DeVito said, ”This business is no longer fun.”
Wallinda piped up and said, ”you missed it……. the panel is implenting the objective testing in the blackburn bill…….what we want to replace the subjective tests with…..since right now legally they cannot be a stand alone test there has to be some way to verify effectiveness…… now should it be necessary to go to court those objective tests might just come in plum handy..”
Bobby DeVito: Then why the requirement for registration papers, 48 hour pre show on the grounds to name just two. There’s more, of course, that has nothing to do with testing for soring. How about no tail numbing? And what is that crap about requiring your own vet to FIRST get their vet’s approval before teating any horse. No Wallinda, this not about implementing objective testing. I know that’s the party line. Blood testing, xrays etc – sure – no problem, but this goes way beyond. It’s a poorly conceive “plan”. It would have been far better to announce the implementation of objective testing, outline the various tests and what they can and can not prove, describe the limits and the factors being used to determine “soreness”, indicate when and how they would be done and whether they will be done for all, or just random horses, or just winners.. I doubt if there would be many objections then. If registration papers are required, I assume someone must be intending to inspect them. That could mean huge long lines of horse trailers at the gate as Tom Blackenship or his assigns checks each horse and paper. But then maybe the lines will not be so long.
Wallinda: actually in many states you need registration papers and coggins along with health papers accompanying the horse… and yes the registration papers should be required after all they are owner amatuer classes and the papers verify ownership according to the registry…. USEF has always required a copy of the registration papers at time of entry….. Proper registration should be required at all shows…The blood test criteria will be released shortly from what I understand… the format will based on the same format USEF meds books…… it is a banned and controlled substance test….
Shirelle: I have a very different viewpoint and applaud the Celebration for going the extra mile and taking these measures with an incredibly respected independent vet panel. I am so tired of our show, associations, leadership and the Celebration being labeled as a “sore horse person, show or organization” because we support all twh disciplines including those that may wear pads or action devices. This enhancement not only additionally supports the welfare of our horses, but also gives the media solid facts to refute the lies and misrepresentations that are being routinely disbursed to Members of Congress and media outlets. Our world championship show is the most scrutinized show and offers the most publicity opportunities to relay our message to the public. What a great tool this is to back up what is already in place and will help validate what WE already know – the TWH has the most stringent inspections of all breeds and we stand behind horse protection unequivocally.
Bobby DeVito: So implement the objective testing and have these three vets observe the subjective testing and then, heave them examine a few of the turndowns. Leave the rest of the items that have absolutely nothing to do with a “sore” horse.I was disappointed several years ago when the Celebration gathered a group of vets. They only observed and never examined some of the rejects. Had they done that perhaps they would have been persuaded on the lack of “soring” in the breed. But, slas, they only watched.
Herr Howardo: Bobby, there is a place to get your questions answered and I urge you to view it before commenting further.
Thank you for your comments… but the people charged with enforcing the rules aren’t putting us out of business, it is the violators of the rules. Those violator’s are getting all the help they need from the USDA, HSUS, the media and the United States Congress. We are one piece of legislation from being truly out of business and equipment. These three nationally acclaimed totally independent vets were retained at the suggestion of the few Senators and Congressmen that are keeping this law from being passed. Dr. Jerry Johnson has worked with Senator Lamar Alexander prior to being retained. One of the other vets is responsible for the Budweiser Clydesdales and I can assure you they know what they are doing and have no intention of doing anything except to get rid of any unsound horses.
Bobby there is no party line and for you to allege that is unfair to many people who have spent countless hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to “make it fun” again for you. It is wrong to say that this is simply designed to test for soring. Many of these same provisions are in existence for other breeds and help to further professionalize the industry. It is about objective testing and much more. These vets are eminently qualified to come up with a plan that will be believed and accepted by the public since nothing the industry has done has gained that acceptance, including some of your ideas. This plan has the support of veterinarians across the country, the senators and congressmen that are trying to save our industry, the TWHBEA and the Celebration. No, all of their suggestions are not about soring but there are many more issues the industry needs to address besides soring. It can be fun again if we will support the people doing the work instead of criticizing everything that is done.
Bobby, it is not accurate to say that The Celebration gathered a group of vets. That was done by another organization and was not under the auspices of the Celebration. Also, your observation about what that group of vets did is inaccurate. I provided lodging for one of them and you can rest assured they did more than watch.
|Josco Morrison:Someone should have at least ran this by the trainers and/or owners before announcing it to the world. I hope I’m wrong, but I hear many top trainers don’t plan to show under such conditions. That might look worse than anything we have done so far. Also, I have never heard of our vets being implicated in any wrong doing. The press release seems to imply just that. I would be very upset if I were the local vets. While I don’t know how this will turn out, I hope it works because we are running out of chances to make a turn for the better.————————————–Nephew Eugene says he doesn’t believe Bobby DeVito likes the idea at all of Steve Smith/Walt Chism man Tom Blankenship being in charge of the Celebration that Bobby has supported for the last 30 years.Radar says Ken Whitehead from the “influential” DVL Public Relations firm is going to earn whatever he is getting paid.Harold says he plans to be in Destin from August 19 until August 31.