Over 330 riders participated in the 32nd annual Ride For Life, which was held north of Cassville, on Saturday and Sunday. The event raised around $18,000 for the National Kidney Foundation.
"The event turned out great," said Robert Presley, who chairs the Ride For Life Committee with his wife, Lynne. "Everybody thought the weekend turned out wonderful."
The 2007 Ride For Life began with musical entertainment by Inside Exit, of Springfield, on Friday night. Participants, who are required to raise donations for the event, mounted their horses and hit the trail for the first ride on Saturday morning.
On Saturday evening, the Ride For Life Committee sponsored its annual benefit auction, which was followed by more musical entertainment by Inside Exit.
On Sept. 16, riders participated in a Sunday morning church service before heading out for the second Ride For Life trail ride. An awards ceremony was held Sunday afternoon.
Trey Sturgell, age 8, of Cassville, collected $1,424 and received the award for the most money collected by a rider under the age of 10.
Sturgell also took home an award for collecting the most money overall and was recognized as the rider with the most sponsors. He collected 46 sponsors for the local Ride For Life.
The Saddle Club that raised the most money was the Pierce City Saddle Club, which also won the award for obtaining the most sponsors. For the second year, the Pierce City Saddle Club was recognized as the club with the most riders.
Participants who raised at least $500 for the National Kidney Foundation were awarded Ride for Life jackets.
Riders who raised $1,200 or more will also receive a roper, barrel racing or pleasure saddle.
Participants who received jackets included: Jerry Pearce, Reta Pearce and John Schnake, of Pierce City; Micayla Staponski, of Purdy; Trey Sturgell, of Cassville; and Dick Conway and Morgan Lutman, of Monett. Staponski, Schnake, Sturgell, Conway and Lutman will also receive saddles.
Dannel Comer, age 5, from Rogers, Ark., was the youngest rider, and Isaac Smith, age 78, of Neosho, was the oldest rider. Jewel Herrick, of Wichita, Kan., was recognized as the rider who traveled the farthest distance to participate in the local Ride For Life.
This year's ride for life was held on property owned by A.T. and Georgia May Smith.
"We want to say thank you to the Smiths and to Barry Electric, which helped us out by putting service in for the event,"?said Presley.
The local Ride For Life is held each year to raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation, which funds research related to the prevention of kidney and urinary tract diseases. The Foundation also works to improve the health of individuals affected by kidney and urinary tract disease and to increase the availability of organs for transplantation.
The National Kidney Foundation of Kansas and Western Missouri provides several programs and services for individuals affected by kidney and urinary tract diseases, including patient nutritional supplements, financial assistance, early intervention screening, renal round table and organ donation awareness education.