Roy Exum: ‘Jesus,’ The Stable Hand

Monday, September 11, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When Shelbyville’s Bill Callaway rode the winner of the 79th annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Saturday night a week ago, he could hardly contain himself as he told reporters, “I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without Jesus …” Please! To bring our Lord and Savior into a filthy circle of sadistic and cruel vermin is against every principle and virtue that mankind holds dear.

Get this -- Just hours after his victorious ride, the same Bill Calloway was fined $1,000 and suspended from showing horses for the next eight months by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for allegedly violating the federal Horse Protection Act, which means torturing horses that cannot defend against it. What a charmer Bill Callaway must be!

As you might expect, Callaway’s callous comment instantly fueled strong credence to the belief that the Jesus of whom Callaway spoke must obviously be some Hispanic stable hand, this in the evil and despicable Land of the “Dirty Lick.” (Callaway should have known the correct pronunciation is ‘hey—ZEUS.’)

Christians around the entire world overwhelmingly believe Jesus Christ would have naught to do with the disgusting and depraved segment of the Walking Horse industry. God created the magnificent animals and when He did He most certainly did not include the padded hooves, the tight bands, or the action devices that very intentionally and quite willfully torture the animals in a way that is not replicated anywhere else or to any other animal on planet Earth.

The “lickers,” assuredly dwindling in number, salivate over an unnatural and revolting dance called “The Big Lick.” True horsemen have been repulsed by it for almost a century and I personally feel the Dirty Licker will be held exceptionally accountable, as we all will on Judgment Day … but I don’t like the cheaters’ chances. Not a bit.

Scurrilous trainers of Callaway’s ilk slather caustic substances on the horses’ forelegs to create excruciating pain, making the animals lift the legs high to achieve a repugnant gait that is never seen on any horse farm except in the Tennessee show ring.  This year’s winner – with Callaway actually in the saddle, presumably hissing his hideous vitriol in the terrified horse’s ears – most definitely danced the “Dirty Lick” to the delight of the warped crowd. My Jesus was not among them.

Mind you, Callaway was disciplined for his alleged indiscretions at the 2016 “Sore-abration” – not this year -- but just recently a “dirty deal” was cut. How else would the USDA allow a known miscreant like Callaway to take part in this year’s mockery? Somebody delayed announcing the punishment until just hours after the show ended. “Thank you Hey-zues!”

Also, the rider/trainer of the new World Champion openly denied any wrong-doing to escape the fact horse-soring is a felony in Tennessee. But in the plea agreement, he officially “neither admitted nor denied” the USDA claim. Callaway explained he accepted what he called the “great deal” because he said he has no money to fight the USDA. “Thank you Hey-zues!”

Mike Inman, the CEO of the event, was all bubbly at the Shelbyville Lions Club Thursday night, citing the best crowds in five years, but there were conflicting reports. Several nights the crowd was reported as less than 500 as the public’s open scorn of the “Dirty Lick” has taken a devastating toll in recent years. The economic repercussions from the cheating has obviously impacted Shelbyville.

But the “lickers” are still trying mightily. Four candidates for governor were introduced, including U.S. Congresswoman Diane Black, who has knowingly accepted thousands in donations in dirty money and has joined every Republican representative and senator from Tennessee in Washington in rejecting the PAST Act (Prevent All Soring Tactics). All of the representatives – each taking dirty money from the lickers – are up for re-election in 2018.

So blatant is the cheaters’ grip on politicians that Scott DesJarlais (R-South Pittsburg) was “awarded” the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainers Auxiliary Merit Award (TWHTAMA) for his relentless efforts to “mediate disputes between federal regulators and the (Dirty Lick.)” He was presented his TWHTAMA distinction at center ring. “Thank you Hey-zeus!”

Many others find DesJarlais’ shameful actions on behalf of the Dirty Lick akin to “birds of the same feather …” An article in The National Review identified DesJarlais as “quite possibly the worst in Congress” last year, which made the TMHTAMA reward all the more fitting.

Another touching moment two weeks ago was when Jackie McConnell’s brother, Jimmy, was named once more as the Trainer of the Year in the questionable ‘performance’ category. Jackie, you’ll remember, starred in an undercover film on Walking Horse abuse and was brought to trial in Chattanooga in 2012. He was fined $75,000, sentenced to three years’ probation (soring was not a felony at the time) and banned for life. (Wink, wink.)

Jimmy, his brother, has been the Trainer of the Year a number of times and has a lengthy record of USDA citations. At one time both of the McConnell brothers were in the Trainers Hall of Fame in Shelbyville but when Jackie was convicted, his plaque was removed. Jimmy has never been convicted.

As a matter of fact, to this day no Tennessee sheriff has successfully charged a trainer, owner, or rider with a felony. Better yet, no “Dirty Licker” has faced a conviction since Jackie McConnell. “Thank you Hey-zues!”

* * *

When the Shelbyville Times-Gazette reported Callaway had cut a deal with the USDA, escaping with the fine and less than a year of probation, the newspaper was threatened with cancellations and boycotts. Readers said the reporting was biased and one woman emailed staffer Jason Reynolds that “You should lose your job over this piece of garbage you published.”

“Thank you, Hey-zeus!”

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