“Morris” Getting Ready to Parade through Tryon Thursday, April 18

Local artisans Fred Herres and Barney Eiserloh took on a big undertaking when TDDA approached them to build a Morris that can be used in a parade celebrating the Tryon Horse.  

In late January, the TDDA Equestrian Heritage Committee met to determine what to do now that WEG ended. Representatives from the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club, Anne Moss and Drew Brannon, were present at the meeting to brainstorm, and at that time they announced that the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club would be “coming home” for the Traditionally Tryon Horse Show April 18-21, 2019.

For the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club’s Harmon Field homecoming, TDDA and the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club have partnered to promote our equestrian heritage and future with an annual “Tryon Horse Heritage Week” starting with the FENCE Horse Trials and Downtown Kickoff Celebration on April 13, and concluding with the Traditionally Tryon Horse Show April 18-21.

To hearken back to the old days of horse shows at Harmon Field, both organizations knew a parade would be “Vintage Tryon” with Morris the Tryon Horse trotting through town and all. 

Morris the Tryon Horse has proudly represented Tryon since 1928. He is both a symbol of the community’s love of horses and a replica of an era gone by when wooden toy horses just like him were made in Tryon and shipped all over the country. 

The first Tryon Horse was built of wood by Meredith Lankford and Odell Peeler, two employees of Tryon Toy Makers, to advertise the first horse show held at Harmon Field in 1928 and sponsored by Tryon Riding and Hunt Club. Pulled by a car through town, the horse would lift its tail and head when the reins were pulled. The current Morris is the 4th generation of Tryon Horses and he does not travel around town as his ancestors did. 

In order to continue the bygone tradition of Morris rolling through Trade Street, TDDA approached local artisans Fred Herres and Bernard Eiserloh to see if they would be up for the task of building a slightly scaled down version… and that it needed to be built in less than 3 months. Fred the woodworker and Bernard the metal sculptor were excited about the project and loved the idea of building a town heirloom that they accepted the challenge and got to work. After several weeks and many long hours of labor by Fred in the woodshop, Morris Jr. was transported from Fred’s house to Bernard’s for the final phase of construction.

The transport was a team effort from Town of Tryon Commissioner Bill Crowell, Town Manager Zach Ollis and Assistant Fire Chief Tank Waters. Now Morris Jr. awaits his metal exterior, a fresh coat of paint, and wheels so he can ride proudly in the Tryon Horse Heritage Parade!

The Tryon Riding & Hunt Club stepped in to cover all expenses, and Henson’s Building Material donated many materials and provided the remainder at a discount to build a 7 ft tall version of the Tryon icon. Morris Jr. will be pulled by Traditionally Tryon Horse Show sponsor, Land Rover, in the Tryon Horse Heritage Parade on Thursday, April 18 at 5pm. Information can be found at www.downtowntryon.org/thhw.