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Mississippi Turns Ugly



by Melissa Stevens
JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi State Charity Horse Show was transformed into a boxing match Saturday night after accusations of crowding on the rail during the Three-Year-Old Stake. Joe Cotten won this stake and the qualifier with Ted Williams both by unanimous vote. Dr. Cash, owned by Bill Barnett, Jr., of Windsong Farms, took reserve with Jackie McConnell riding. Words were exchanged between the riders in the class and individuals on the rail. Observers say the accusations of crowding turned into allegations that the competition was fixed.

After the class, a fight broke out in the warm up area between Bill Barnett, Jr., and Wink Groover. Rusty Hyneman and Mike Walden joined the scuffle shortly after it began. At the end of the altercation, Barnett was left with a torn shirt.

Another skirmish occurred shortly after between Bill Barnett, Jr., and Joe Cotten while Cotten was trying to warm up Main Power. A reliable source reports that Barnett stood in front of Cotten and Main Power again making accusations that the competition had been fixed. Cotten apparently leapt from his horse, but observers jumped between the two before any blows were exchanged.

Lonnie Messick with the National Horse Show Commission is currently investigating the matter. We will follow with more details as soon as they are learned.

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