Semper Fi & America’s Fund/Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program/2022 Dixie Challenge Celebrates 6th Year of Helping Wounded Veterans
JACKSON, MS. – April 28, 2022 – After a two year break due to Covid restrictions, Mississippi Quarter Horse Youth Association once again hosted 14 wounded veterans from all over the country to Jackson Mississippi, and introduced them to horsemanship skills, roping and sorting in a very short 4-day period. It’s part of the Semper Fi & America’s Fund\Jinx McCain Horsemanship program and is dubbed “Dixie Challenge.” The Jinx McCain Horsemanship program’s belief is that learning and refining horsemanship skills encourages and supports recovery and reintegration through camaraderie, individual achievement and the strength of the animal-human bond.
Brooks Derryberry, coordinator of this event says “We are a family, a community of like mind people who believe in and support our veterans. The Dixie Challenge is supported by the generosity of many people in the Jackson area. I believe this is the only Jinx McCain Horsemanship event that is completely community based and run on community donations. The only thing Semper Fi & America’s Fund pays for at this clinic is, travel to get the veterans here and lodging. All of the volunteers and sponsors were disappointed when we were unable to host our event for the last two years, but they joined us again this year in full force. Thank you all for making this happen for the 6th year.”
The highlight of the event was the final day which is a competition. The veterans demonstrate their horsemanship skills by working a pattern. Next comes the roping competition in which the veterans rope a moving target. The final, and according to the participants, the most fun is the sorting event in which each participant must cut and move cattle from one pen to another following a specific order.
Considering some of the veterans have never been around a horse, this competition is a testament to their ability to adjust to their surroundings and persevere. These veterans are amazing people, so dedicated, so intense, so willing to try and so very thankful for the opportunity.
Quote from a 2019 Participant:
“I want to thank you for selecting me for the Dixie Challenge this year. It truly was a life altering event for me. I have really been struggling for the past couple years to keep things together both mentally and physically. I had truly lost my purpose in life and was simply going through the motions from day to day without any passion or motivation. This clinic allowed me to put my current state of affairs on hold (remove the cell phone, the stress, the headaches & the bad people) and surround myself with encouragement and good caring people. That simple break allowed me enough room to refocus, find myself again and chase a dream. It felt like a fire was ignited in me again that I thought was dead. I got home and my wife said I looked the happiest I have been for the past 2 years. This simple clinic allowed me to immerse myself in a life long passion and realize there is more to life and what I want to get out of it. Again I want to thank you, the Semper Fi & America’s Fund, and the entire Mississippi Quarter Horse Association for allowing me start this journey of healing!”
For more information contact Brooks Derryberrylbderry@windstream.net
Or Semper Fi & America’s Fund Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program: Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program | Semper Fi & America’s Fund (semperfifund.org)