by Christie Miller
JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi Walking Horse Association held its 2001 high point awards banquet February 23, 2002 and Dennery’s in Jackson. Lowell Stephens conducted the general membership meeting a 4:00 p.m. for outgoing president Billy Ray Phillips. Among the business discussed was the interest in creating a Mississippi Vanity car tag depicting the Tennessee Walking Horse. This matter has been submitted to the Mississippi legislature for passage. New officers for this year are President Mike Miller, Vice President Steve Frank, and Secretary-Treasurer Joy Smith. New board members elected to serve are Larry Russell, Doug Estes, Dr. Tommy Vinson, Lois Hardy, and Carol Smith.

After the social hour and dinner of prime rib, Joe Rankin inducted into the Mississippi Hall of Fame, Sam Stockett. The beginning of the MWHA started in 1980 with Mr. Stockett and twenty-nine others. Since then, the membership has grown to 162 families. Mr. Stockett is a life-long resident of Jackson, Mississippi and has been associated with the Tennessee Walking Horse industry for fourty years. During those years, he has registered more than 400 horses with TWHBEA. Sam has served on the Celebration Advisory Board, the Mississippi State Charity Walking Horse Association as well as the TWHBEA board.

The speaker for the evening was TWHBEA Executive Committee Board Director, Robert Thomas. Mr. Thomas stressed the importance of youth and marketing within our breed as well as within the state. He commented on how far the industry has come, but indicated “It still has a way to go.” He also briefed the membership on the current status of the issues of the government in Washington, D.C.

Next was the award ceremony for owners, exhibitors, and trainers whose hard work throughout the year has paid off.