On June14th, the Alabama Veterans’ Museum, with the assistance of Ken Wilson of the Southeastern Saddle Club, will have their 3rd Annual Col. Sam Gibbons Memorial Horse Show at the Sheriff’s Arena on Highway 99 to benefit the Museum.
In 2012, Ken Wilson, a Tennessee Walking Horse owner and the manager of Southeastern Saddle Club, contacted Veterans’ Museum board member, Teresa Todd, about helping him to find a suitable non-profit to donate the proceeds from a TWH Show he was planning to have. When Wilson mentioned it was to be a Walking Horse Show, Todd didn’t hesitate to say she knew the perfect organization, the Alabama Veterans’ Museum. Todd explained the Museum had a board member who recently passed away that was a TWH trainer, Col. Sam Gibbons.
Mr. Sam dedicated most of his life to the Walking Horse industry and was the Show Manager of the national organization where they select the “World Champion Tennessee Walking Horse of the World.” The Celebration (short for Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration) is located in Shelbyville, Tennessee, where Mr. Sam has been honored for his 37 years of dedication to the industry with a street named Sam Gibbons Boulevard.
Mr. Sam also cherished the Veterans’ Museum, volunteering many, many hours, helping with fundraising and serving on the Board of Directors and as the Museum’s Treasurer from 2002 until he passed away March 22, 2010 at age 95.
As a result of Wilson’s conversation, the first Sam Gibbons Memorial Walking Horse Show began June 22nd of 2012.
Mr. Sam was a World War II veteran. He served with the 79th Division, landing at Utah Beach on June 14, 1944 — “D-Day, plus 8” –– and fought across France, crossing into Belgium and Holland. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor along with several other distinguished citations and awards.
Todd mentioned, “This year our Horse Show will be held on the 70th anniversary of when Mr. Sam and his division landed on Utah Beach in 1944. It is also the day we commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States in 1777, plus the United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date. We hope to have a large veteran presence and will honor their service as well. Even though Mr. Sam never spoke much of his achievements or the honors he received, he wouldn’t mind having this horse show in his name. He always encouraged the progress and endurance of this Museum.”
Director Thompson said, “We have found the Horse Show to be our ‘niche’ we will use the proceeds toward our expansion fund. We need to raise one million dollars to complete our building expansion project; this horse show will be one of several areas we use to work toward achieving this goal.”
The Horse Show committee is calling on businesses and individuals to assist by sponsoring a class. Each class will have ribbons and prize money given to the 1st five place winners – with 31 classes being held, a sponsor for each class is needed. The committee is also selling ads in the program that will be given out at the show.
Director Thompson, Teresa Todd or Ken Wilson are available to answer any questions and their contact information is below.
Please support your local Veterans’ Museum with any assistance you are able to give.
Ken Wilson—email firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 256-777-4578
Sandra Thompson—email email@example.com phone 256-771-7578
Teresa Todd – email firstname.lastname@example.org phone 256-233-4568
By: Teresa Todd