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The Back 40

Final Saddle Up For St. Jude Event

Thu, May 30, 2013

As some of you may know, I am the Coordinator of an event here in Central Illinois called Saddle Up For St. Jude.  This will be the 17th and probably final year of “Saddle Up”.  To date, we have raised nearly $400,000 for the children of St. Jude.

At this wonderful event, we begin the day with an organized horseback trail ride at 9:00am, followed by lunch that we provide, and the Grand Auction at 1:00pm.  Though most riders are sponsored, which raises a fair amount for St. Jude, the bulk of our money comes from the auction.  Auction items range from horse related gear, to household items like big screen TV’s and Stihl chainsaws, to hunting gear and trips, etc.  All items are donated, ensuring that we are able to maintain 100% of the money going directly to help St. Jude fight childhood cancer. 

I took this event over seven years ago because I am one of lucky parents.  Neither of my kids have cancer.  I figured it was my turn to do what I can to help out. 

The way my schedule has been these last few years, I am no longer able to put in the time required to do this event justice.  Heck, I used to ride a horse 5-6 days a week.  I’m lucky to get that many rides in six months now.  Though I have put out the word that I am wanting someone to take over as Coordinator, I’ve had no bites yet.  I’m still hopeful that someone is willing to take over so this event doesn’t come to an end.  That said, this may be the last year for Saddle Up For St. Jude. 

On behalf of the children and families they’ve helped, I’d like to personally thank Marc Anthony and Matt Staser for donating deer mounts and handmade bows over the last few years.  Others who frequent this great site have also donated money, but I’m not sure they want their names published…they know who they are and I thank them for what they’ve done. 

This year’s event will be at Jubilee State Park’s Jim Spurgeon Equestrian Area as always.  It will be held on June 22nd, beginning with the ride at 9:00am, lunch at noon, and the Grand Auction at 1:00pm.  If you’d like to attend or donate, please know that you don’t have to be a horse person.  Heck, sometimes I don’t even like horses all that much.  Every morning and every night come to mind.  Unfortunately, horses have become a way of life for my family and I.  I couldn’t imagine life without them. 

For those of you who would like to donate to this final Saddle Up For St. Jude, please PM me or email me.  All donations are appreciated. 

Thanks for the time you took to read this and thanks in advance if you decide to donate. 

John Soehn