St. Jude’s Benefit raises more than $53,000

Once again the Saddle-Up for St. Jude's Benefit has hit a record high. The 14th annual event, held June 13-14, raised $53,500 for the children’s research hospital in Memphis.
"It just keeps growing," said Roger Landon of Chandlerville who with his wife, Jeannie, coordinate the event held at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek horse park. Last year the benefit raised $46,000 and the previous year it was $42,000.
This year's event had 150 riders and an attendance of approximately 400 people.
The event started Friday, June 13, with sales of raffle tickets, Saddle-Up t-shirts, and sponsorship tickets. Dinner was prepared by Don Dorsey and David Eyrse and music was provided by Burr Smith, Rusty Barr and the Good Ole Boys.

On Saturday, June 14, horse clinician Liz Carter of Cantrall Creek Equestrian Center in Cantrall provided a confidence clinic for horse and rider. The auction was prefaced by Jason and Jennifer French and their children, Nick and Zack, of Virginia detailing their experience at St. Jude's with Nick. Thanks to St. Jude's, Nick is doing great today, they said.
The benefit auction, spearheaded by Gordon Watkins netted $16,345. A pork chop dinner was served, with Kermit Long as the head chef. Burr Smith, Rusty Barr and the Good Ole Boys entertained the crowd after the auction.
The Landons have been coordinating the event for 13 years. They smile as they tell the story that they planned to do the event for one year and that replacements were supposed to be found. But they don't seem too concerned as they plan to continue the benefit as long as their health is good, Jeannie said.
Plans for the event usually get started in January when they reserve the pavilion. By February and March they are ordering the raffe tickets and in March they are in contact with St. Jude's, completing the necessary forms.
The Landons have help from several others including a group of six who sell 95% of the sponsorships. By the time the benefit has started, the event has already raised $22,000 through the sponsorships.
The preparations continue. Display boards are prepared which list all those who have contributed $100 or more. The bands are booked and services are lined up. A couple weeks before the event, the pork chops are cut up and tenderized, with the Landons saying that with the help of five others they can have 600 chops ready in about 45 minutes!
"It is very well attended," Roger said of the benefit. "People come from all over." They even have had visitors from Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa.
Jeannie expressed appreciation for all the donations that help make the event a success. These include auction items, sponsorships, pledges, food donations, along with the time and services of all those who participated.
Over the last 14 years, the benefit has given $460,000 to St. Jude's.
The mission of St. Jude’s is to find cures for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases through research and treatment.
The cost to operate the hospital is $1.9 million per day. Public contributions provide approximately 75 percent of the funds necessary to operate the hospital. No child pays for care or other needs, including housing, food and transportation, not covered by insurance.