Raffle Winner Names Assateague Foal ‘Maximus Murphy’

Raffle Winner Names Assateague Foal ‘Maximus Murphy’
A new foal, pictured on Assateague Island, received the name Maximus Murphy as part of a naming rights contest held by the Assateague Island Alliance. Photo Courtesy of Janis Wilde

ASSATEAGUE – A new foal born into the herd of wild horses on the Maryland side of Assateague Island has a new name this week after another successful naming rights raffle.

The Assateague Island Alliance (AIA), the friends group of the Assateague Island National Seashore, which advocates on behalf of the island’s most famed residents, each year hosts naming rights contests for foals born into the herd on the Maryland side. Often, the contests are held as auctions through e-Bay or other creative contests such as raffles.

Such was the case for the new foal heretofore known only as N2BHS-MU born on the barrier island early this year. In the 1970s, the National Park Service began assigning alpha-numeric names to new foals on Assateague as a means to better track the bands to which they belong and the areas on the island they tend to frequent.

For years, the AIA, however, has been hosting naming rights contests for the new foals as part of their larger Foster Horse program. The contests achieve the parallel goals in assigning a familiar name to the horses by which supporters and advocates can identify them. The naming contests also help the AIA raise funds for its advocacy programs for the wild horses.

Last week, the AIA announced the winner of the most recent raffle was Claudia Hollywood of Columbia, Md. Hollywood chose the name Maximus Murphy for the new foal born earlier this year. According to the AIA, Maximus is from the Latin meaning “greatest,” and Murphy is for its Irish meaning “sea warrior.” Murphy was also chosen as a tribute to the raffle winner’s Irish heritage.

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Coincidentally, one of Maximus Murphy’s siblings, formally known at N2BHS-MS, shares the raffle winner’s last same as “TJ Hollywood.” The AIA expressed gratitude to all those who participated in the foal-naming raffle, which raised $4,550 for the direct benefit of the Assateague Island National Seashore. All financial contributions support the AIA’s mission to promote awareness, education and protection of the barrier island’s wildlife and natural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

Maximus Murphy now becomes the newest addition to the AIA’s Foster Horse program. The symbolic foster of a wild horse on Assateague is an ideal way to support the horses living wild and free on the Maryland side of the barrier island.

By fostering a horse, one becomes directly involved in preserving the wild horse population and ensuring their survival in the fragile natural resources. For more information, visit www.assateagueislandalliance.org.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.