Victor Stanfield of Gulfport, right, won the 34th annual Heart O' Dixie Triathlon Saturday with a time of 1:57:56. He is pictured with top female division finisher, Sara Gibson of Madison.
Victor Stanfield of Gulfport, right, won the 34th annual Heart O' Dixie Triathlon Saturday with a time of 1:57:56. He is pictured with top female division finisher, Sara Gibson of Madison.
There's always something new at the Neshoba County Fair.

For the first time in recent memory, the 34th annual Heart O' Dixie started in the rain. But it didn't slow Victor Allen Stanfield of Gulfport who finished first overall with a time of 1:57:56.

"This was my fourth time to do the Heart O' Dixie Triathlon," Stanfield said. "My times have gotten better every year. The rain didn't bother me. Last year, I placed third overall and this year I won it."

Kendrick Gibson of Madison placed second overall with a time of 1:58:17 while Chuck Rose of Grenada came in third.

"I knew there were some guys who could out run me so I wanted to get as good a lead at the transition center between the bikes and the run," Stanfield said. "I was ahead of Chuck about 100 yards and then Ken (Gibson) caught him."

Interestingly, Gibson's wife, Sara Gibson, won the female division with a time of 2:12:53. Pam Cox, also of Madison, came in second while Barbara Kerby of Biloxi came in third.

"I had a good bike ride," Sara said. "It was a good day for the runners. Temperatures weren't as hot as they have been."

Richard Goldman was the Dickie Nowell Memorial Award winner for the seventh time. The Nowell Award goes to the first person from Neshoba County to finish the Heart O' Dixie. Goldman finished 15th overall with a time of 2:08:39.

Other finishers who were listed as being from Philadelphia were: Shay Darby with a time of 2:28:39; Lee Phillips, 2:45:12; Michael Vaughn, 2:47:44; Shon Kirkland, 2:50:53; Patrick Eakes, 2:252:45; John Miller, 2:52:48; Jason Colvin 3:00:54, Emily Nail, 3:03:18; Misty Vaughn, 3:06:08, and Bert Turcotte, 3:19:18.

Toby Burchfield of Brandon was the Male Masters winner, finishing in a time of 2:08:14, while the female Masters winner was Denise Mills of Jackson, who finished with a time of 2:39:48.

Records show that 277 competitors finished the triathlon.

The Heart O' Dixie Triathlon is a project of the Philadelphia Sertoma Club. Members plan, work and coordinate the event which starts in Louisville at Lake Tiak-O'Khata with a .5 mile swim. Competitors then bike 21 miles to Philadelphia where they run the rest of the way.

The rain had race director Shan Winstead a little concerned.

"After the swim, we were driving back to the Fair and I was a little worried about some of the puddles in the road," Winstead said. "But as far as I know, there were no accidents. It was a good triathlon and we appreciated everyone who helped to make it successful."