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2002/06/12

25th Annual Tom Boyd Memorial Ride A Great Success Friendships renewed, old acquaintances reintroduced, and perfect riding weather combined to make the 25th Annual Tom Boyd Memorial Ride at Natchez Trace State Park on April 20th and 21st a great success. With 25 years of stories to tell and fables to be retold, the Wrangler Camp Ground was filled to capacity by Thursday morning and the only solution being double parking. Registration began Friday morning and continued all day and into late night with staff members going camp-to-camp helping everyone get registered. As dawn broke Saturday morning, the smell of campfires burning, bacon cooking and coffee brewing made everyone anxious to start a great day of horseback riding. At 9:00 over 250 horseback riders grouped to start the day's ride. Al Stokes led the all day group followed by Tony "Pollock" Cupples leading the pleasure horse group. Gene Kueher led the gaited horses and other groups left seeking their own adventures. While videotaping the riders leaving camp, I felt very sentimental as I watched young men and women that I had known as children now taking their own children out to ride. In fact Janet Patterson from Camden was riding the same horse she rode on the first ride 25 years ago. Tom Boyd's dream of a family oriented, recreational ride was in fact a reality. Everyone seemed to be one large family. After a good day of riding, campers enjoyed a cookout Saturday evening sponsored by the Natchez Trace Horseman Association. Hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans, chips, etc. was the menu and no one left hungry. As a special treat the Sons of the Southland played music including songs by Merle Haggard, George Strait, Foggy River and other assorted old cowboy favorites. Campers even had the chance to dance to some hillbilly rock. As the camp settled for the night one could hear the owls screech as older campers told stories of when I was a kid camping here. The sky was star filled with a beautiful moon lighting the night. All was truly quiet, peaceful and beautiful in our world. The Team up Jesus Ministry group from Nettleton, Mississippi, provided inspirational music Sunday morning, and Brother Vann had a short devotional which ended with the cowboy's prayer. Al Stokes thanked everyone for attending this year and for being so faithful in supporting this event in past years. Al also said that he just knew Tom was looking down on us today and was pleased at what he saw. Al's daughter, Beth Pullimum shared special memories of how Al, Larry Spencer and Darrel Douglas had dedicated themselves to keeping this ride going for 25 years. An array of prizes was given away as names were drawn from the prize basket. Giving away prizes at the ride is a tradition that has grown over the years. We wish to thank our prize sponsors Fast Stop #8, Carroll Farmers Co-op, Huntingdon Animal Clinic, Watson Lumber Company, Poorman's Auto Sales, Bill's Florist, Woodhan of the World Insurance, US Foods Inc., Henderson Country Farmers Co-op, Jean's and Carl Perkins Center. A special thank you to the Cowboy Store for donating matching breast collar, Arrowhead Stables for providing a matching headstall and the Kevin Stone Family for giving the beautiful statuettes and matching bookends and a collection of miniature cowboy boots, and Judy Noles of First Bank for sponsoring the riding T-shirts. The grand prize a "Billy Cook" saddle was won by a local cowboy, Mr. Stanley McDaniel. Stanley is a very special man. His love and dedication to his God, family, friends, and animals sets Stanley apart from most. Stanley has been a loyal support of this event for many years. It seemed very fitting for a man of Stanley's caliber to be the grand prize winner. The Natchez Trace Horseman Association thanks everyone for coming this year and making this year's "silver lining" ride truly the best. In fact, Louis Lemour would have been able to capture enough memories for another bestseller. We hope to see you next year for the 26th Annual Tom Boyd Ride. This enabled us to raise $3,500.00 for the Carl Perkin's Child Abuse Center in Jackson. May God bless each of you that participated. 2003 Easter weekend will be the third weekend in April so the ride most likely will be moved up to the second weekend in April. Please don't forget the Shrine Ride for the Shrine Children's Hospital October 18-20. Thanks again for all the help and support.

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