Lexi’s Night At The Dubois County Fair (w/AUDIO & Photo Gallery)

Bretzville (NNDC) – Lexi Mattingly was back at the Dubois County Fairgrounds Monday for opening night of the 2017 Dubois County 4-H Fair.

The night was highlighted by a very special memorial ceremony in the horse and pony arena in honor of the 16-year old Southridge High School sophomore, who passed away this past April.

The ceremony for Lexi was hosted by the Dubois County Wrangler Horse & Pony Club… known more affectionately as the “Wrangler Family, according to Lexi’s aunt, Laura Roberts Whitsitt, who taught Lexi how to ride a horse at a very young age.

Monday night’s memorial began with a performance of the Wrangler Club’s color guard of which Lexi was a member of for several years.

After the color guard, the large crowd gathered and listened to a compilation of audio recordings… recordings of Wrangler Family members and others close to Lexi. Then hundreds of balloons with the words “Luv4Lexi” were released into the air…the release caught Laura by surprise…

The highlight of the ceremony came at the end when a group of current and past members of the “Wrangler Family” presented a carved horse statue with Lexi’s name on the base to her parents, Gene and Traci.

Laura says the presentation of the statue was maybe the most touching moment of the evening for the Mattingly family…

Lexi’s parents are hoping the statue can be permanently displayed in the horse and pony barn for all to enjoy and remember Lexi.

Also to be placed in the horse and pony barn, a bench with a plaque of Lexi, a horse and the words “Forever Smiling” the phrase adopted by her friends to describe’s Lexi’s infectious smile and personality…

Wrangler Family members and others gathered plastic bottle caps… redeemed them and had them recycled into the all-weather bench.

Everyone at the ceremony Monday wore teal blue “Forever Smiling” T-shirts that were sold by the Wrangler Club shortly after Lexi’s passing.

Proceeds from the shirt sales are being put into a Memorial Fund in Lexi’s name that will be used to purchase AEDs (defibrillators) to be placed on all school buses in Dubois County.

ALL PHOTOS ABOVE PROVIDED BY LAURA ROBERTS WHITSITT / CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW

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