4-H Club ‘saddles up’ for St. Jude

Published 1:02 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

Horses, hay rides and hand-pulled barbecue lunches will blaze a trail for fun and fundraising at the Shelby County 4-H Horse Club’s sixth annual “Saddle Up for St. Jude” event to benefit cancer research and treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The outdoor event will take place Sunday, Oct. 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sullivan Evergreen Farm in Thorsby.

Admission is free and open to the public. Horseback riding is a minimum of $35 per person, but the 4-H Club accepts and appreciates any donations.

Libby Shackelford, Shelby County 4-H Horse Club volunteer leader, said guests may ride the club’s horses or bring their own.

Riding trails for all levels of riding ability thread through more than 300 acres on the farm.

Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The barbecue Shackelford said “everybody’s crazy about” is free for riders and $6 for everyone else.

Shackelford said attendance at last year’s event was about 200 and included volunteers, spectators and riders.

“We expect about 120 riders,” Shackelford said. “If they (guests) don’t know how to ride, we can help.”

Guests who do not want to saddle up may sit back and enjoy the Roping and Horse Drill Team demonstrations, visit the petting zoo, participate in the cake walk, browse the silent auction or have their faces painted.

“(We) introduce horseback riding to people and help raise money for cancer research at the same time,” Shackelford said.

“We raised $5,500 last year. They (St. Jude) said $5,500 would power up the surgical unit for a day. That put in perspective how expensive it is.”

Shackelford said the event demonstrates why community service is important, especially service that helps places like St. Jude operate and accommodate its patients.

“One thing great about St. Jude is the whole family gets to stay while the patient is there,” Shackelford said. “Everyone can go in there and surround the patient with love.”