PORT RICHEY — Put together some horses, a mechanical bull, good music, and some fundraising, and you can get a great day to support a worthy cause.
Last Saturday, The Kiddy Up Ranch held its 2013 Fall Festival Hoedown to help raise money for the ranch and its programs. More than 1,000 supporters responded by attending the event.
The Kiddy Up Ranch is a nonprofit therapy and learning academy for youngsters and adults with disabilities. The staff members specialize in therapeutic horseback riding, and also offer sports riding clubs and equine facilitated learning.
Autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and sensory processing disorders are only a few of the disabilities that Kiddy Up Ranch helps through therapeutic riding.
The ranch was founded by Tammy Farris, who discovered her love for therapeutic riding through volunteering and taking classes at other riding therapy facilities. She bonded with the children and soon decided to began her own ranch.
The horseback riding not only helped with their disabilities, but also allowed them to be in a place where they feel comfortable.
“This is their place” Farris said. “This is a place for them to come where there’s no judgment, only acceptance.”
Barbara Jerabek came for more than just the good weather and fun activities. Jerabek came to support the cause because she has seen the good work that the ranch has down for children. “We’ve known them for about three years now.” Jerabek said. “Tammy does awesome work. She makes a big impact on their lives.”
Sandy Remick was another attendee of the event. She enjoyed the company and conversations that came along with the big crowd. She said her favorite part of the hoedown is “just seeing everyone and interacting with one another.”
There were so many different activities and attractions for people of all ages to enjoy. Pony rides, airbrush tattoos, hay mazes, spooky hay rides, games, inflatable slides, and even a mechanical bull were offered at the event.
There were also contests like best costume and “Pimp My Tractor,” as well as drawings for gift baskets.
Many local performers took part, including Trinity Andrews, Southern Marie, George Marshall, Adrian Ray, The Wise Guys and Morgan Bernard.
In addition peppy young girl dancers from the Providence Arts Center showed off their moves and sang their hearts out to pop hits such as “Firework” by Katy Perry and “Miss Independent” by Kelly Clarkson.
Origami Owl Custom Jewelry, Pampered Chef, You’re Just Sayin’ Custom Bracelets, Boutique by Lilly and Inspirational Bling were just a few of the businesses that showcased products.
Cotee River Lions Club served the food. Spectators enjoyed classic hoedown grub, such as pulled pork, burgers, hot dogs and corn bread.
The event managed to raise $5,000 for Kiddy Up Ranch. It just goes to show what’s possible when a community comes together to help a great cause, Farris said. “The more that you spend serving others, the more rich your life becomes.”
Kiddy Up Ranch is at 10740 Brian Lane, New Port Richey. The phone number is (727) 418-6219.