Hooray for the Dixie 50

Ropers go for points and cash during a special-event roping shootout.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

After two days of roping, the fastest times returned for a shootout at the Dixie National Quarter Horse Show. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos from the #Dixie50, scroll to the slideshow below.

Money and points were on the line February 18 during the special-event roping at the Dixie National Quarter Horse Show.

“It’s the Watson Quality Ford Shootout,” explained Watson fleet manager Greg Kinard. “Throughout the day, they roped under the AQHA judges. We kept the times, and in the Shootout, they’ll be roping for $10,000.”

It was a win for Watson Quality Ford, a win for the ropers and a win for AQHA, Greg said.

“As a sponsor, we thought we’d get a lot of people coming for the roping and we’ve had a lot of people who’ve been at the NFR roping here today,” he said. “The money increases the number of ropers, and the number of ropers increases the AQHA points.”

The 50th Dixie National Kicks Off


In 1965, Jimmy Orell won the first cutting at the first Dixie National Quarter Horse Show.

In 2015, Jimmy returned to cut again in a demonstration that highlighted 50 years of Quarter Horse competition at the Dixie National and brought cheers from the crowd.

It was just part of the excitement February 16 in Jackson, Mississippi, in a ceremony that included dignitaries from the state of Mississippi and the National Cutting Horse Association.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant welcomed the exhibitors and spectators to his state, speaking from horseback.

“Thank you for being here,” he said. “Enjoy every minute of it.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Mississippi commissioner of agriculture, spoke about the financial impact the Dixie National has on the state.

“We’d love to have you for 50 more years,” she said.

Mississippi Quarter Horse Association President Rob Seal and National Cutting Horse Association Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell were among the dignitaries whose appearances were organized by Mary Hopkins.

“Fifty years is a long time, but everything has been worth it,” said Miss Mary. “I was at the very first one and every one in between.”

AQHYA President Kalee McCann of Walnut Grove, Mississippi, and National Cutting Horse Youth Association President Austria Arnold of Terrell, Texas, both cut in the competition and rode out to celebrate 50 years of the Dixie National.

On February 17, a special-event roping drew youth, amateur and open exhibitors in a spectacle that will continue February 18, the day the Expo trade show opens.

Journal Coverage of the 2015 Dixie National

  • February 23 – Look through all-around, halter, cutting, roping and ranch riding photos from the 50th Dixie National Quarter Horse Show.
  • February 17 – Cutting classes got the #Dixie50 rolling February 16, and ropers went for points and cash during a special-event roping shootout.
  • February 13 – Equestrians With Disabilities AQHA Equestrian with Disabilities classes kicked off the 50th anniversary of the Dixie National Quarter Horse Show.