On September 21, 2013 riders from all over Schuylkill and Lehigh counties headed to Open Gate Ranch in New Ringgold, PA for the fourth annual Saddle Up for St. Jude event. This year's event involved 21 riders and more than 14 volunteers who braved the threats of downpours to enjoy a lovely sunny fall morning.
The event has been held since 2010 by Stemmler Stein Equine, LLC, formerly Stemmler Equine: Instruction and Training. Since it was initiated at the ranch, the event has raised over $12,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee. The hospital is a refuge for children with all kinds of life threatening illnesses. They come from all across the country and the world to receive treatment for things like sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and cancer. One local woman who heard about the event wrote saying, "We took my son for treatment at St. Jude and they [the staff] are still like family to us. Thank you for supporting this organization." No child that goes to St. Jude has to pay for treatment. The children receive their care purely through donations via events like this one.
This year's event at Open Gate offered several prizes and games for the riders. There was a Trail Trivia challenge, won by Dr. Denise Jones. The Ideal Time award for the rider that completed the ride with the time closest to a pre-set goal went to Rick Welker and Caroline Richie. Nancy Butler had the fastest time. The slowest time award went to Becky DeSanti and April Green. Nancy Butler also won the 50/50 Poker Challenge with 2 pair. And the final prizes, for the most money raised for St. Jude, went to 8 year old Emma Nasados, who raised $458, and Dr. Denise Jones who raised $431.
Participants, volunteers, and visitors alike also enjoyed the bake sale table, where over $200 was raised by selling goods donated for the event by clients and friends of Stemmler Stein Equine, LLC.
Details on next year's event will be posted on the Open Gate website, www.opengateranch.wordpress.com after a date is decided for next fall. Thank you to the public and all volunteers for your support of this event. Looking forward to helping the children at St. Jude again!