Cowboy's ride into the sunset stalls in Henderson Point

By Brad Kessie – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The cowboy who's horseback riding across America to help children now needs our help. Ernest Nunley has set up camp at the foot of the Bay St. Louis bridge while one of his horses recovers from a bad hoof.

"For such a pretty horse you are a mess today," Nunley said as he approached his white haired horse.

The horse is named No Mo Joe. Nunley chose that name, vowing that no other horse he had would ever have the name Joe again.

On Tuesday morning, Nunley was out in his makeshift pasture. He grabbed a brush, and began grooming the four legged animal.

"This is something pretty much starts every day is these guys have to be groomed and checked for dings and dents from the day before," he said.

Because of a ding on No Mo Joe's hoof, the horse and handler Ernest Nunley have been told no mo go.

"Just sort of like you getting a mashed finger, it's just going to take a little time to heal," the horse's keeper said.

No Mo Joe is spending this week grazing under a billboard, at the foot of the Bay Bridge. And Nunley's 3,500 mile journey from Georgia to California is on hold. No big deal for the man who calls himself one fat cowboy.

"I've got the rest of my life to make my destination," he said matter of factly.

Nunley has set up camp on the banks of a bayou, under the Highway 90 bridge. That way, he can eat and sleep out of the elements.

"I didn't come at this thinking it was going to be a stay at the Hilton," he joked.

The first time we caught up with the cowboy was last week, while his horses trotted along the highway. He told us his journey was a mission to encourage people to protect children, volunteer in their communities, and donate to their favorite charities.

"My part in this is to do something outrageous to make people aware that they can do something to help," said Nunley.

Since No Mo Joe suffered the abscess, people have stopped by the makeshift camp in Henderson Point, and offered everything from water to veterinary assistance.

"I just can't tell you what kind of great people I've run into," Nunley said, "not only in Mississippi, but throughout the United States doing this."

In the next 10 days, No Mo Joe should be trotting again. Until then, Nunley will shower the horse with love and affection, patiently waiting to saddle up and ride off into the sunset.

"As a friend of mine reminded me, with God, all things are possible. Just don't mean they're going to be easy," he said.

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