A black female has sued the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, Inc. (SHOW) on grounds that she was charged $5,000 to enter the current national show at Shelbyville, Tn., while others did not have to pay a fee.
Natalie Jackson-Pritchard, in the suit in Chattanooga Federal Court, is asking $100,000 compensatory damages and $10 million punitive damages.
Ms. Jackson-Pritchard, a horsewoman who has been a critic of SHOW leadership, is claiming racial discrimination in the complaint, which was assigned to Judge Sandy Mattice.
Also sued were SHOW officials D.B. Nelson, Jr, Pat Marsh, John T. Bobo, James Allison, David Howard, Charles McDonald, Rick Insell, Mike Inman and Stephen Mullin.
The suit says:
"Defendants did with full knowledge charge plaintiff, a Black Female, an exorbitant amount of Fees to participate in an invitational public horse show hosted by the named defendants, then subsequently solicited several White Men to show in the same class for no-charge preventing plaintiff to Fair Competition.
"Plaintiff being a Black Female met all physical and financial requirements to exhibit a horse she co-owned and trained herself in the World Grand Championship Class at Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Championship Show. The entry office for pre-registration officially closed at 1 p.m. on Friday, September 1, 2012. At the end of closing there were 2 paid horses entered, (both females). On Saturday September 2, 2012 night of the class there were an additional 10 horses that showed up. The Plaintiff paid $5,000.00 to exhibit in the class."
It says SHOW leadership "contacted via phone & in person, several white male trainers and owners offering them a free from cost entry into the same WGC class in order to prevent the Plaintiff from receiving a placing of 10th place or higher which would payback cash, advance the publicity of her breeding stallion, (Previous Stallion Winners have earned millions of dollars) increase the visibility of the Trainer, and advance their prospective economic business advantage. This would of have elevated the plaintiff, her horse, her being the Trainer and rider in the history books as the first Afro-American Female to win a placing in that class.
"The plaintiff has a long whistle Blower history of public protest of the utilization of Pads and Chains and the Process of Soring the horse's feet which has been highly contested by the defendants.
"Defendants Mike Inman is the CEO working on the behest of the rest of the defendants; David Howard is a Director who contacted individuals to go into the class for free. SHOW President Dr. Stephen L. Mullins, contacted all plaintiffs and explained how they and they alone had to take off the horses bell boots while the horses were in line up to be judged. Sept 1, 2012
"Margaret Eakins is the Celebration Manager who received all entries and fees from horses to be exhibited. She will testify as to who and when horses were signed up for the class.
"Sept 1, 2012 Lynn Clanton assisted Celebration Manager in receiving and logging all entries. Center ring announcer (to be named later)
"Trainers Allowed to enter class without paying entry fees:
Sept 2, 2012
"Chad Baucom, Knox Blackburn, Steve Dunn, Jimmy Smith Family; Tim Smith, John Allan Callaway, Winky Groover, Charlie Green, Brandon Stout, Jimmy Norris
"Judges for the class 177 WGC Sept 2 2012
Nathan Clark, Brent Grider, Chris Bobo, Jennifer Bingham, Joel Weaver III."