Given a gloomy forecast that looked like the event may have to be cancelled, horseback riders instead found themselves under a scorching sun Saturday morning at the Trail’s End Stables in Devlin.
But that didn’t keep 16 riders from coming out in support of the Northern Therapeutic Riding Association’s sixth-annual “Freedom Ride,” which brought in $5,421.62 this year.
This money will be earmarked to feed the horses used in the therapeutic riding program, which helps 26 children from the area, said ride organizer Joyce Young.
“It went very well. I only got $1,600 last year,” said Young. “I had to take my money out of my pension to feed the horses.”
But Young added she wasn’t surprised by the amount raised given the community’s support of the program. “For a lot of people, this is the one thing they donate to,” she remarked.
Among the horseback riders at Trail’s End on Saturday was Chris Del Rosario, a special needs child who’s been a NORTRA client. He raised $100 to make certain his horse, “Velvet,” will have her feed for the winter.
Another client, three-year-old Jade Green, also got to ride around the field that day.
But the top pledge-getter was Kristen Moen, a first-time “Freedom Ride” participant, who raised $1,258.94. She was given a doll designed and donated by Carol Kliner as a prize.
All the other riders received a small prize and a “Freedom Ride 2002” T-shirt designed by Allen Smith and donated by Trail’s End Stables.
They included Bonnie Kupila, Stephanie Kupila, Camille Heyens, Carol Kliner, Mariah Botsford, Jessica Shoemaker, Katie Morrison, Angela Shoemaker, Kirsten Shoemaker, Deseraie Green, Rebecca Wright, Carolyn Kreger, Phil Donald, and Baylee Shoemaker.
Meanwhile, on area highways, 15 local motorcycle enthusiasts staged a poker run Saturday from Fort Frances to Sioux Narrows—via Emo and Nestor Falls—and back.
This event, which had been postponed a week due to the weather, raised $1,030 for NORTRA.
Young chalked up the event’s success to the dedication of the volunteers involved and thanked all the riders—whether on horseback or “Iron Horse”—for supporting the program.
“You all were fantastic,” she enthused. “Without volunteers, we just can’t do it.”