Riders will saddle up for St. Jude benefit

   This Father’s Day will be a good day to Saddle Up for St. Jude, an event that welcomes riders and their horses to spend some time in the saddle while giving to a worthy cause.

By Lori Kesinger

   With humble beginnings, the local Saddle Up event was initiated by Marge Griebel after she was contacted by St. Jude to coordinate the trail ride. Following the first event held at the Dave Wang ranch, Griebel’s young niece was diagnosed with cancer.

   “I was so thankful to have done the trail ride,” Griebel said. “I wanted to help children with cancer.”

   Griebel continued to coordinate the event for several years followed by Doug Bruha and Dave Wang. Doug has been the coordinator for the past few years.

   Since opening in 1962, St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and around the world. Their physicians and scientists have pioneered treatments that have helped push the overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to 80 percent today. No child is ever denied treatment because of a family’s inability to pay. This is made possible through donations.

   This is the 18th year the local Saddle Up for St. Jude event will be held. It has raised more than $41,000 since it began in 1997.

   Bruha said the event usually brings out between 10 to 30 participants, but they would like to see that number go up.

   The event is open to riders and horses of all ages and disciplines, as well as anyone who would like to stop by to watch or make a donation to help fight childhood cancer. All proceeds generated by the event go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

   “It’s a beautiful ride, it’s fun,” Griebel said. “Everyone visits and people really enjoy it.”

   The local Saddle Up event will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday, June 21, at the Fred Hoff ranch. Riders will leave at about 9 a.m. for a two to three hour trail ride. A potluck will be held after the ride. Prizes are awarded to participants according to levels of donations raised.

   For more information about the event, contact Doug Bruha in the evening at 406-778-2502.