CLAY COUNTY, MISS. (WCBI) – They start to arrive more than an hour before showtime.
“I just call it a backyard show, everybody comes, we have black and white participating in this,” said Sammie Jefferson.
For more than three decades, on the third Sunday of every September, Sammie Jefferson opens his family’s Clay County property, for a horse show. They come from all over to see quarter horses, colts and other breeds.
“Kosciusko, Louisville, Nettleton, Coldwater, Tupelo, Pontotoc, and participate,” says Jefferson.
Jefferson, who is 66, began working with horses when he was 14. He has competed in shows for many years and started the Clay County event as a way to share his passion with the community. He says training horses is always a challenge because each one is different.
“Sometimes you have a colt, takes a little longer, some learn fast, I say it’s just like people, some learn fast and some don’t, horse is the same way,” Jefferson said.
The show may be named for the patriarch, but this event is a family affair.
“Hard work , sweat tears, whatever you want to call it, we have been through it all,” his son Elroy said.
“We have to cook and feed the people and I just love it,” said wife Nettie.
Nettie and Sammie have been married 44 years. All members of the Jefferson clan sport red and black because those are the colors Sammie used to wear when he would show horses. Mrs. Jefferson has a favorite part of the show.
“I like the walking horses, I like to see them strive and put that back hand down to the ground and they throw them front legs up high as they can go, I love it,” she said.
Her experience on horses, however, is limited.
“I got on a horse and my son told me to get on the horse and sit up. We was going on that hill up there, I laid down on the horse cause I didn’t want to fall off and he got tickled at me, my son did,” Mrs. Jefferson recounted.
Whatever your experience with horses, this show is much more than an event. It’s a time of faith, family, friends, food and fellowship.