The Heart O’ Dixie Walking and Racking Association horse show will take place 6:30 p.m. Friday at Southwest Event Center, Highway 48 East, Tylertown, followed by the McComb Lions Club Horse Show on Saturday night.
The Heart O’ Dixie association has been putting on horse shows in McComb and Tylertown for more than half a century. This year, the event is named the Reid Estess Jr. Memorial Walking Horse Show after one of the five founding members.
Estess, who died June 6 at age 85, was a trainer for many years, showing all over the Southeast and maintaining his love for Tennessee Walking Horses until his final day. He was the last living member among the show’s founders.
“Walking horse was his thing,” said his wife, Van Estess. “That was his life, Tennessee Walking Horses. He was a self-made trainer.
“He showed at Celebration every year for 50 years,” she said, referring to the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, the largest horse show for the breed, in Shelbyville, Tenn.
Estess also owned Reid Estess Feed & Seed and Reid & Van Estess Leather Shop. When not training horses, he could be found serving in his church or spending time with friends and family members.
Saturday, walking and racking horses will compete in 34 classes in the McComb Lions Club Horse Show. A stick-horse class for children will be held at 5:30 p.m. before the main show competition starts at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $6 each, and available at the Enterprise-Journal or from any Lions Club member. Children 6 and younger are admitted free. Gates open at 4 p.m.
Leigh Stuart of Bowling Green, Ky., will judge the show, with Mark Vest of Columbia serving as ringmaster. Perry Taylor of Ellisville will return as announcer, and Tylertown hometowner Larry Bright as organist. Bright has also played for the Celebration in Shelbyville.
More than $3,300 in prize money will be up for grabs.
The annual event is a major fundraiser to support the club’s charitable endeavors in the McComb and Pike County area.
The Lions Club uses proceeds from the horse show to support local causes such as providing eyeglasses and reading technology to the visually impaired, and other community concerns.
The club also supports causes related to the national and international advocacy of Lions Clubs International, including diabetes awareness, childhood cancer, hunger and the environment.