Gulf Coast Winter Classics wrapping up at the Harrison County Fairgrounds

All good things must come to an end. The 25th annual Gulf Coast Winter Classics is entering its final weekend, but there’s still time to bring the family out to this free event.

It’s been six weeks of nonstop excitement at the Winter Classics. This is the biggest turnout they’ve had in over a dozen years. Gulf Coast Winter Classics Manager Bob Bell said, “This has been a very exciting year for us. It’s amazing that I think we lasted 25 years. It’s been a lot of work, but the people love coming here. They love coming to the Gulf Coast.”

Rider Chaney Adair said, “The showing is so much fun of course. it’s so good to like get out there and show off what you’ve been working on all year.”

Seeing these majestic creatures in action is what keeps the fans coming back. Trainer Dennis Murphy said, “People just enjoy horses and they do it in a lot of ways. We do hunters and jumpers.”

Trainer Buddy Brown said, “So the jumpers are more like hockey. It’s an action sport, you go for score. The hunters are more subjective where you’re getting a subjective score like you would in ice skating.”

It’s the one sport where man or woman and animal have to be in sync as one. Rider Danny Grice said, “Men and women compete on the same level and you’re steering around a thousand-pound animal, sometimes more. So, anything can happen, it’s anybody’s game on any given day.”

When riders aren’t battling out for first place, they are taking time out to explore the Coast. The Winter Classics have a large economic impact here. “The Coast has so much to offer. You know with the casinos out there, with golf and fishing, so when they’re not competing, there’s a lot more fun things to do than a lot of other places they could go.”

The final Grand Prix will be held Sunday at the Harrison County Fairgrounds at 1 p.m.

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