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Sallie Ausley

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In Memory of Carol Atkins-Goughnour: A Servant of USA Eventing

Carol working in the media center at Rolex. Photo courtesy of the Atkins family.

The eventing community mourns the loss of Carol Atkins-Goughnour, who died August 6, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida at the age of 83. A native of Charleston, West Virginia, in 1955 she moved to Tallahassee, where volunteerism and community organization were her passion.

She helped to create the Voluntary Action Center of the United Way, served as President of the Tallahassee Junior League and as the second female deacon of Faith Presbyterian Church, all while raising seven children with her husband, James Goughnour.

In the early 1980’s, the family moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where Carol continued her volunteerism with a major focus on adult education and literacy, working with Kentucky Educational Television to create a very successful distance learning series. This work continued when she returned to Tallahassee in 1992, and in 1995 she was honored by the Florida Literacy Coalition for her efforts.

Carol was extremely active in a number of equestrian activities in Kentucky and in Florida. While her children were actively competing, she served the Tallahassee Pony Club in many capacities, including as District Commissioner.

In Kentucky, she served as press secretary for Equestrian Events Inc., the non-profit organization that organized the Kentucky Horse Trials in the early days of the competition. It was Carol’s idea to suggest that Kentucky Educational Television consider broadcasting the Kentucky Horse Trials to promote the new Kentucky Horse Park.

Carol and her daughter Bethany Atkins Rice tailgating in the rain at Rolex. Photo courtesy of the Atkins family.

Ultimately, KET agreed to the broadcast, which led to an important development. Upon seeing their logo on TV, Rolex signed on as a major sponsor for future years. Carol’s passion and tenacity are one of the main reasons the Kentucky Horse Trials transitioned into what became the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, with Rolex serving as the title sponsor for 36 years.

After returning to Tallahassee, Carol continued her equestrian work in addition to her literacy efforts. A member of the original organizing committee for Red Hills International Horse Trials, Carol served as co-chair for the marketing and media relations.

She also returned to Kentucky regularly and was privileged to work in the international media center for the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games. Her favorite activity was to return to Lexington each spring and assist in the media center for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

Carol is survived by her husband, James Robert Goughnour; son, James Steven Atkins II of St. George Island; five daughters, Staton Atkins, Page Atkins Hagan, Courtney Atkins, Mary Linville Atkins, all of Tallahassee, and Bethany Atkins Rice of Lexington, Kentucky, and eight beloved grandchildren.

Editor’s Note: The EN staff would like to extend out deepest condolences to the Atkins family. Carol was a much-loved part of the Rolex press team and one of the many faces we enjoyed seeing each year at the event. She will be dearly missed.