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Lifelong Hattiesburg Resident Mike Essary to Serve as 2020 Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo Grand Marshal

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 16:46pm | By: Van Arnold

Mike EssaryLifelong Hattiesburg resident Mike Essary will serve as grand marshal for the 35th Annual Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo to be held Feb. 14-15 at the James Lynn Cartlidge Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center on U.S. Highway 49 South in Hattiesburg.

Essary attended Forrest County A.H.S., and The University of Southern Mississippi before graduating from Mississippi State University in 1988 with a degree in Civil Engineering. He has worked at Neel-Schaffer for 24 years and currently serves as the firm’s Pine Belt Operations Manager, responsible for managing work performed by Neel-Schaffer’s Hattiesburg and Laurel offices.

Essary notes that his passion is to work with local leaders to develop projects and implement changes that improve Pine Belt communities and make them a better place to work, play and worship.

He has served on the Optimist Park Board, The Oak Grove Warrior Club, and the Heritage UMC Trustees.

His wife, Layla, well known for her previous role as a WDAM-TV anchor, currently works as a travel consultant for local restaurateur Robert St. John.

Mike and Layla have two children. Their son, Alex, is a junior at Southern Miss in the College of Business and Economic Development, and their daughter, Olivia, is a senior at Madison Central High School where she plans to attend Mississippi State University in the fall.

Comedian Lecile Harris, four-time professional rodeo Clown of the Year, and riding sensation Dusti Crane Dickerson will serve as special guest rodeo entertainers.

Tickets are on sale at Boot Country on U.S. Highway 49 and Hub City West Farm and Garden on Pioneer Road in Hattiesburg. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 after Feb. 13. Starting Feb. 14, tickets will be sold at the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center beginning at 8 a.m. All seats are chair back and reserved.

The rodeo is also sponsored by Southern Beverage, Comcast, B-95, Pine Belt Motors, Papa John’s, Keith’s Super Stores, Hattiesburg Clinic Sports Medicine, Forrest General Hospital, Copy Cats Printing, The Hattiesburg American, Neel-Schaffer, Service Master, Eagle Dining, Southern Miss Campus Recreation and F45 Fitness Studio.