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Dixie Challenge 2018


Ronny "Tony" Porta, Virginia

Brian Matthew Scarbrough, California Texas Rodeo Cowboys Hall of Fame Inductee & volunteer roping instructor Jeff Chapman

Shawn Edward Ellifritt, Texas Christy Harris, volunteer & horse owner, Mississippi

Rowina Darvin , Califorina (with hat raised) Zekiel “Zeke” Brunketurner, Washington (in green) Robert Junior Waddell, North Carolina (in red) Brooke Ware, volunteer & assistant trainer, Mississippi
By Laura Miller, MSQHA; Photography by
Jackson, MS. – May 3, 2018– Mississippi Quarter Horse Youth Association (MSQHYA) hosted 16 wounded veterans who came from all over the country to Jackson, Mississippi, April 26-29 and introduced them to horsemanship skills, roping, and ranch sorting. The “Dixie Challenge” is part of the Semper Fi Jinx McCain Horsemanship program.

Brooks Derryberry, First Vice President of the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association (MSQHA) and coordinator of this event, says “We are a family, a community of like-minded people who believe in and support our veterans. The Dixie Challenge is supported by the generosity of many people in the Jackson area. The Jinx McCain Horsemanship event is completely community based and run on community donations. The Semper Fi Fund pays for travel and lodging only. Thanks to all for making this happen for the fourth year!”

Emmy-Lu Marsh, an MSQHYA member and volunteer, recounted her experience: “I feel that the Dixie Challenge was life changing. It felt great to honor these men and women who have sacrificed so much for us and our country. It’s amazing how horses can bring so many people together and they can make people so happy. It was incredible to watch the riders improve their skills over a short amount of time, and it was incredible to see their horses bring so much joy to each one of them.”

Anne Beatty, MSQHA member and adult volunteer, said, “I love spending time with the true patriots, those who unselfishly served our country. These are some of the most amazing people to be around and learn from!”

The highlight of the event was the final day’s competition, in which the veterans demonstrated their horsemanship skills by working a pattern. Next came the roping competition in which the veterans roped a moving target. The final event and the most fun, according to the participants, was the sorting event, in which each participant must cut and move cattle from one pen to another in a specific order.

Considering that some of the veterans had never been around a horse, this competition was a testament to their ability to learn quickly, adjust to their surroundings and persevere. These veterans are amazing people, so dedicated, so intense, so willing to try and so thankful for the opportunity.

For more information, contact Brooks Derryberry at:
Or Semper Fi Fund Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program:

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