RUTLAND —The Dill Farm on Beech Grove Road in Meigs County was filled with the sounds of dogs barking, people laughing and horses neighing as the 20th annual St. Jude Saddle Up Trail Ride started Sept. 19.
The ride began past the gates of the nearly 80-acre plus farmland, and goes for 10 miles through Rutland’s hills, Isabel Dill said. She and her husband, Michael Dill, own the property and they, along with the other participants, begin the trail ride that is usually no more than 2 miles away from the farm, although in total the horses travel 10 miles, she said.
At a halfway point in the woods her husband and others provided snacks and drinks for riders who wish to take a break. The ride usually lasts three to four hours, she said.
After the ride was a hog roast, with two hogs from the Meigs County Fair, along with raffles. This year the event also hosted a guest speaker, Susie Tatum, a philanthropic advisor for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who drove from Indianapolis to speak to participants about St. Jude. Tatum also presented the Dills an award for the ride’s 20th anniversary.
Awards were also given to those who raised the most money for the ride. Debbie Lewis, of Mason, W.Va., received first place, with a donation of $3,300, Jerry Smathers, of Athens, received second place with a donation of $1,515 and Jim Davis, of Syracuse, received third place with a donation of $1,140.
As of Monday, Isabel reported at least $20,574 raised for St. Jude during the trail ride. She said there are two more weeks to gather and count more donations.
“It’s a really awesome thing,” she said. “This is just a few of the people that make this ride such a big success. Thank you and God bless to everyone that helped out in any way.”
According to their website, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn., was founded by Danny Thomas. The hospital first opened Feb. 4, 1962. All money donated from the ride will go toward cancer research.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.