THOMSON, GA (WFXG) - Thomson held their Christmas Parade this weekend, but it wasn't all holiday cheer towards the end. They say at this point they are outraged and deeply disappointed by his behavior. "I will never ride a parade in Thomson again," says Misty McKinnon-Craps, Grovetown resident who traveled into Thomson to ride her horse in the parade.
Horse riders say before they got a chance to walk at the end of the parade, they were asked to leave for a reason they were not informed of beforehand. "When it's time for us to come out as horses, the Mayor jumped out and said you guys aren't riding. And we were like, 'Why not," says Willie Peterson, Thomson resident who allowed the Kirks to use his horse in the parade.
They were not allowed in the parade because they didn't have manure scoopers to clean up the horse waste. But Riders say the application said nothing about providing horse clean up, just providing documents for a negative Coggins test along with the $15 application fee.
"He didn't let us know and even then when he told us we couldn't ride, other guy was like 'Hey, I won't ride, I'll go ahead and get it up'. He still was like 'No, you're not going to do it'. It really was disappointing because my little grandson was with me and another little girl was with me and then when he started swearing, that's when I'm like 'No, we're not about to tolerate that'," says Peterson.
Peterson also allowed Mayor Usry to use his horse for his campaign before his election and says he is disappointed in the Mayor's behavior at the parade. Misty McKinnon-Craps, who was in a separate group from Peterson and Kirk, feels the profanity and jail time threats from Mayor Usry were completely unnecessary and inappropriate in front of children.
"We're getting ready to ride out into the street and Mayor Usry jumps in front of my horse and starts waving his arms. And he looks at the police officer and said, 'If they ride, you arrest them. They'll go to jail if they ride in my parade'," says McKinnon-Craps.
Riders say even if the Mayor apologies, that won't get them back the time and money spent to prepare for the parade and escort their horses to Thomson. "I was very disappointed. We had put a lot of time and effort into the parade," says Katie Kirk, Appling Resident and business owner who paid to ride in the parade.
"You know, an apology, yea that's a start, but you can't get back the time and the effort that people went through to get prepared," says Peterson.
While others want a greater outcome. "A change in the Mayor election. Somebody else to be the Mayor," says David Bradshaw, Thomson resident and horse rider.
I reached out to the Mayor's office but I did not hear back from them.