Walla Walla Valley Horsemen wrangle up funds to benefit cancer patients


The American Wranglers Junior Horsemen, youth members of the Walla Walla Valley Horsemen, presented a donation of $4,273.65 to Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center’s Special Needs Fund on Oct. 24.

The sizable donation came from proceeds earned through their Pink Ribbon Cancer Benefit Horse Show July 27-28 at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds, according to a release.

It’s the third time in three years that the group has donated to the Special Needs Fund. Altogether, that’s more than $17,000 to benefit patients since 2011.

Exhibitors from around the Northwest and their horses competed for prizes and awards in 75 classes at the benefit show, including in halter, showmanship, Western and English riding events and trail and driving classes for youths and adults.

More than 100 large, pink rail ribbons adorned the arena, created to honor cancer patients who have survived cancer or in memory of those who died. “Youth members and their parents spent countless hours creating these beautiful tributes to loved ones that wished to support the cause,” said JoAnn Thompson.

A silent auction held outside the show arena added another fun feature for participants and their families, she said. Donations came from local businesses, community members and group members.

Walla Walla Valley Horsemen sponsor and encourage their young members to give back to the community through activities that include a Spring Schooling Horse Show at the Maxson-Box Stables, the Pink Ribbon Cancer Benefit Horse Show and the Eddie MacMurdo Memorial Horse Show.

“These young horsemen are learning sportsmanship, leadership and the value of hard work to build character, as well as to become responsible caregivers of their horses,” she said.

WWVH youths participate in the free Washington State Horsemen’s Youth Merit program, which provides opportunities to advance and broaden their knowledge of horses and encourages them to expand their horizons and participate in new activities, with and without horses.

“WWVH is very proud of what these members have been able to accomplish with their horse show,” JoAnn said.

The 2014 Pink Ribbon Cancer Benefit Horse Show is slated for July 25-26, and AWJH members have already begun planning for their horse show. Members who presented the donation to the Special Needs Fund were inspired by the kind words and many thanks of the St. Mary’s Foundation administrative staff, she said.

“They felt particularly motivated after Dr. Cunningham, head of oncology at St. Mary Regional Cancer Center, explained how the funds they have raised will help many of his patients with gas cards, wigs, medication and other financial assistance while they battle cancer.”

Ranging from 8 to 14 years old, AWJH members are Ashleigh Anderson, Nicholas Lackey, Kinsey Nelson, Macy Rugraff, Marin Rugraff, Karissa Stubblefield, Mekenna Simpson and Sydney Weston.


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