Group wants people to ‘Saddle Up’ and ride for charity

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Saddle Up for St. Jude Trail Ride will be Saturday Sept. 15 at After All Acres between Springhill and Henderson. Everyone is welcome, riders and non-riders alike.

The 2011 Saddle Up for St. Jude, Sharing the journey, Sharing the Hope, Trail Ride in Pike County raised more than $10,000 to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fight cancer and other catastrophic diseases.

But this year, Max Ellis, event organizer, said his goal is to Saddle Up (and double up) for St. Jude.

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“We were very pleased with the amount that was raised at our first Saddle Up for St. Jude event,” Ellis said. “But we want to do more for these children who are suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The Saddle Up for St. Jude Trail Ride is an opportunity to support St. Jude and also to enjoy a great day riding in the great outdoors of Pike County.”

The 2012 St. Jude trail ride will offer all of the fun of last year’s event, but with a different trail.

“We’ll have two great rides in different places,” Ellis said. “The morning ride will be at 9 a.m. and it’s a guided slow ride for horses and wagons. Marlon Hamm has graciously agreed to let us ride his property. It’s one of the prettiest places you can find in Pike County. We’ll ride along Big Creek and around Marlon’s big lake. It’ll take about an hour and a half and you won’t have a better time riding any trail in Pike County or in this entire area.”

The afternoon ride is a challenged ride and is recommended only for advanced riders.

“Those who remember when there was iron ore mining in the county will understand why I say for advanced riders,” Ellis said. It’s through fields and up and down gullies left behind from the mining operation. You couldn’t ride this trail on a four-wheeler. It’s fun but it’s a challenge.”

The challenge ride will also be a little less than two hours.

Admission donation to the Saddle Up for St. Jude Trail Ride is $25. Children ages 10 and under admitted free. The first 100 paid admissions receive a Saddle Up for St. Jude T-shirt.

“The admission donation to St. Jude’s includes breakfast, which we begin serving at 6 a.m., and a hamburger lunch prepared by the Pike County Cattlemen and peach cobble cooked on site by the LA Dutch Oven Cookers.

“We’ll have entertainment by the Benton Brothers and others and a live auction before and after lunch,” Ellis said. “We’ve got some great large and small auction items – everything from Ben Andress’ pound cakes to horses and including a weeklong Buffalo River Trail Ride in Waynesboro, Tenn.”

The St. Jude Trail Ride is a fund-raiser and all proceeds support the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and indirectly other children’s hospitals around the country.

“St. Jude’s in Memphis was founded by the late actor Danny Thomas and it was his commitment to never turn a child away because of the family’s inability to pay,” said B.B. Palmer, also an organizer of the local event. “The daily cost of running St. Jude’s is $1.8 million. That’s a lot of money, but there’s no way to put a dollar amount on the many children’s lives that have been saved through the research at St. Jude’s. The research that is done at St. Jude’s is shared with other children’s hospitals. So St. Jude’s life-saving research is far reaching.”

Palmer said the Saddle Up for St. Jude Trail Ride is not just for riders.

“It’s for everyone who wants support this very worthwhile organization and have a fun and entertaining time doing it.”

For more information or to make a donation, call Ellis at 334-566-6169 or Palmer at 334-672-2787.