Ride a Horse event to support local with rare genetic disease

By Sarah Pridgeon

This year’s “Ride a Horse Feed a Cowboy” event will take place on August 27 in Hulett. The tenth annual celebration will include food, fun and an auction, all to raise money in support of a young man with an incurable genetic disease.

The Rough Stock Rodeo begins at 2 p.m., followed by a BBQ in the city park provided by the Ponderosa. During the BBQ, an auction will be held along with a street dance with Paul Bogart of Nashville.

“Ride A Horse, Feed A Cowboy” was founded in 2007 by Chanda Snook, Brian Elkin and the late Jane McKinney. Though initially intended to be a fun-filled summer weekend, they soon realized the potential to help out people in need at the same time and transformed the event into a benefit.

Each year, the organizers choose a person from the surrounding community who needs help with medical expenses. This year, the recipient will be Anthony Olson, an 18-year-old with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP.

This rare condition causes bone to form in muscles, tendons and connective tissues. Olson was diagnosed at the age of two, beginning a long and expensive journey.

His medical expenses include the need to travel to Philadelphia for dental work and medications that ease the pain and stress. His family recently purchased a van with a lift to allow him to travel with his new wheelchair, donated by the family of a deceased disabled veteran, and hope to remodel their home to remove the stairs, which can cause the condition to worsen.

Nevertheless, Olson is described as a young man with an amazing smile and a cheery disposition, able to light up the room and bring out the best in the people around him. If you are able to make a donation to “Ride a Horse Feed a Cowboy” this year, contact Snook at 290-0400.