Missourians "Saddle Up" For a Good Cause

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HIGBEE - The thirteenth annual "Saddle Up for Saint Jude's" fundraiser had one main goal on Saturday: to hit their cumulative fundraising goal of $100,000 for Saint Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

The day started out with a two-hour trail ride throughout the Missouri Conservation Area which surrounds Brenda Reed's house. Reed coordinates the fundraiser every year and invites hundreds of horse lovers to her home to raise money for a charity that is near and dear to her heart.

"We're really out here for one reason and one reason only-- the kids," Reed said. "It really hit home once we had the opportunity to go to the hospital and see where our money is going."

This year, they're hoping to make $15,000 to hit the cumulative total of $100,000. Seventy-one participants rode horses during the morning trail ride. Another 68 people rode during a three-hour trail ride in the afternoon. Along with the trail rides, participants played poker games, took part in an auction and listened to a live bluegrass band during the evening.

Reed predicts approximately 400 people attended the event in total coming from New York, Texas, Illinois and all over the Missouri region, including three generations of the Dalton family. Riley Dalton, 7, is the great-grandson in the trio. He participated in the afternoon trail ride with his great-grandfather and his father.

"I just really like helping other kids," Dalton said. "And I really like riding horses."

Gabby Farrow and Marlee Slater also attended the event with their families. They both believed it was important to show support for a charity to help children like themselves to be more comfortable.

The cook for "Saddle up for Saint Jude's" has been participating in the fundraiser for 13 years. Terry Painter believes the fundraiser is the best way to give back to the community.

Although every horse had a different saddle, every person has a different home and every child could've done something else with their Saturday, they all had one thing in common: they are passionate about Saint Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

During the bluegrass performance, the band acknowledged, "no man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child."

Reed says they won't know a total amount for two to three weeks.

If you're interested in getting involved in "Saddle Up for Saint Jude's," contact David Reed at 660-670-3041.