I worked with Jim quite a lot during my tenure as organizer. He was funny, professional, and a terrific guy.
One memory stands out above all others. In 2006, at the American Eventing Championships, Jim was announcing novice cross country. USEA was sponsoring a live audio via computer and my husband, stationed in Taji Iraq at the time, was listening with his fellow soldiers to Jim's voice as our son galloped around the course. At the end of son's XC (a double clear) Jim made a point of announcing a greeting to Manny, listening halfway around the world. It was a very special moment.
Mr. Thompson always took time to sit and visit with me when he came to town for Red Hills. I'm the president of Upstage's unofficial fan club (and I may comprise most of the membership ) and I loved hearing how he was doing in retirement.
I was so hoping this was just a rumor. Jim was my games coach in Pony CLub, and his coaching on dealing with people under pressure (let them punch jello) and being a good sport were absolutely formative.
What's the most important thing today?
Be good sports
What's the 2nd most important thing?
What's the third?
Picture 10 or 12 Pony Club kids hollering the answers at the beginning of the day and multiply that by the countless kids he coached over the years, and there's a legacy.
Dana - We were there volunteering in 2006, and I remember the incident you described- a very special moment.
My favorite memory of Jim was helping him in "control" at one of Morven's last true 3-Day's - had never done that before, but he was very supportive and helped me learn my job while having a blast. He was a very special part of many of our VAHT events, and will be hard to replace.
Jimmy Ligon had been hero to me since long before I met him.
Just before I started high school, in NY, a "horsey" family moved in (from maryland) just down the road, and it became teh local gathering place for all the local kids who rode. I sometimes spent more time there than I did at my own house.
The youngest brother had skin grafts on his legs from serious burns, but a young Jimmy Ligon had saved his life.
I don't remember the exact circumstances, but the parents were not home, and a leaf fire went out of control and the youngest one "caught on fire". Jimmy was the one who got help, and put out the fire on his legs.
I heard lots of great things about Jimmy and his ability to deal with a crisis- as well as his riding ability.
When I finally met him several decades later, after moving to Virginia, he fully lived up to my expectations.
chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).
He was an incredible influence on me growing up and as a adult. He allowed me to ride his awesome horses who taught me the ropes in eventing and games. I learn my horsemanship from him and his mother. Sportsmanship always came first as did the horse. As a friend, coach and supporter you couldn't ask for anyone better. Having him announce at shows was special and u were always happy to hear him or work as a volunteer with him as "control"
There will be a memorial service for him in several weeks. I will post info. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the US Pony Club, Inc or Sandy Spring Friends school.
Jim- thank you for all that you did! You are truly missed.
Dick worked at Fair Hill in April. You just can't replace his voice and gifts to the sport.
Jim also was just an incredible guy and another supporter of the sport and to lose both is just beyond words -- how will be ever replace either one? Who can do what they did?
As for Dick, what he knew, and did, there will never be another person who could have done it. He knew how to set up and time the Seiko clocks. The radios. Knew the course, the riders, the play of a cross country day and kept it all level voiced and calm over the air. I just don't think we can find another person to replace him. And the support over the years to the industry, he owned many horses for top riders and even when his wife died he kept going; when his disease took a limb, he kept going. This sport just can't have enough heros like Dick Thompson and Jim Ligon.
This is tragic (and shocking!), though it is touching and much appreciated to hear the personal stories about these men; this will be their legacy.
I didn't know him personally, but worked with Jim Ligon when I volunteered at the MDHT. He was thoroughly professional (making this very hard job look ridiculously easy), and had a droll sense of humor. I never knew that he was so involved in Pony Club (and the games), but then again, a passion for this sport never dies, and often just "takes different forms" as you get older...
Brian O'Connor wrote a touching testimonial for both men on Facebook. They clearly shared a good deal of mutual respect, and were all highly skilled in this very demanding profession.
How is it possibly that they are both gone, and in the same week?
Brian is going to be the only announcer left with this level of experience and expertise
RIP, and Godspeed..
"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
"It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")
Jim was an important friend to the eventing and Pony Club community, and I'm so sorry to hear of his passing. If the Facebook page is public, could you post a link to it, or can someone point me to an obit or any further information? Thanks.
Enjoyed the pleasure of working with Jim for several years at MDHT. He was truly a pleasure to work with, helped me learn so much into the inner workings of eventing. Would always make a point to say hi, if I saw his black truck at other horse trials, He would always reply with a smile and not miss a beat with his control and announcing.
I will miss him in the events to come.