By By William F. West / community editor
Aug. 4, 2002
This and that and other notes from the Neshoba County Fair: Haley Barbour, the former Republican National Committee leader from Yazoo City, continues to hold off making an announcement on whether he'll seek the GOP nomination for governor of the Magnolia State.
But he certainly doesn't mince words in talking about who he's rooting for in the Chip Pickering-Ronnie Shows contest for Congress.
Barbour's nephew, Henry, is managing Pickering's campaign, but make no mistake about it, the older Barbour has some pretty bitter feelings about the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's vote earlier this year against elevating Pickering's father, Charles, from a U.S. District judgeship to a judgeship on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
One thing was for sure at the fair, folks continue to show admiration and respect for Pickering's predecessor, G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery.
At least that was evident by folks who were eager to go up, shake hands with and say hello to the Boll Weevil Democrat, who retired in 1996 after serving three decades in Congress after a stint as the state senator from Lauderdale County.
The Meridian native and Washington, D.C.-based consultant turns 82 on Monday. On Thursday morning, ever the dapper Southern gentleman, Montgomery seemed to be about the only fellow wearing a business shirt with a necktie among the casually dressed fairgoers, but that's not to say he wasn't taking things in stride.
And how long has he been going to the fair?
And what keeps him going back?
Opinions may forever vary on one fairgoer, ex-Ole Miss Rebel football coach Billy Brewer, but even in retirement in Oxford at age 67, he doesn't look much older than he did when he paced the sidelines during the red-and-blue's roller-coaster ride from 1983 to 1993.
Brewer said folks continue to ask him about the 1959 season, when he starred on the nationally second-ranked Rebel team. "It was a great football team," he recalled.
Brewer has been going to the fair since 1953, when he was growing up in Columbus. "We raced horses down here and motorcycles," he said.
Among the newcomers to the fair Thursday was Julie Kurant from Chicago.
Kurant, a press secretary for Ronnie Shows, was excited to see so many people involved in politics "in a day when most people are really turned off and disappointed."
And what's the difference between the politicking at the Neshoba fair and in the Windy City?
Fair organizers ought to be pleased with such an endorsement.