Walker award honors longtime livestock supporter

Rich Flowers, Athens Daily Review, Texas
·2 min read

Apr. 3—When the Henderson County Livestock Show returned after a one-year absence last week, it was the result of the efforts of hundreds of people in the arena and behind the scenes.

Each year, the Woodrow Walker award is presented to someone who has gone far above the norm in their contributions to the show. This year, the honor went to Phillip Surls.

Surls is President of Iron Horse Unlimited of Malakoff, which does construction on a large scale in Texas and beyond its borders.

In reading the award presentation, Danny Davis said Surls is a lifetime resident of Henderson County. In his school days, he was in 4-H and FFA, competing in steers and heifers.

"He was always active in rodeo and won the state Lone Star high school finals in bull riding," Danny Davis said when presenting the award.

He and his wife, Kim, have been married for more than 30 years. When their children became old enough, they also competed in the show.

Surls became efficient in the business world in his high school days where he sold fireworks and later, firewood.

"He made sure he it the more prosperous neighborhoods, like Highland Park," Davis said.

Through the years he has been known to purchase items at the livestock show auction and often kicking in a little extra money to make sure an exhibitor got a fair return on his efforts.

Surls is know to be fun loving and enjoy a good joke.

"He never meets a stranger," Davis said.

In 2019, the award was presented to the late Henderson County Commissioner Ken Hayes.

At its beginning, Woodrow Walker was one of driving forces behind the HCLS. Each year an award in his honor goes to an individual, partnership, corporation, company, club, or group who've helped make the show a success.