Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Get ready to cowboy up

Cowboy Ball benefit for SETCH set for July 7

Express Staff Writer

Attendees, from left to right, Leva Parker, John Blackburn and Mike and Mary Dean Jessen enjoy the annual Cowball Ball to benefit for the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped north of Hailey. Photo by David N. Seelig

It's an exciting 20th anniversary for the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped north of Hailey. SETCH is celebrating 20 years of service as well as the retirement of its founder, Kristy Pigeon, and is welcoming a new executive director, Cheryl Bennett. With great enthusiasm for its accomplishments, SETCH is throwing more than a regular benefit—it's having a fair.

"It will be like you're at a fair with lots of carnival games all providing support for SETCH," Bennett said.

The 20th annual Cowboy Ball, hosted by the Sagebrush Equine Training Center's board of directors, will take place at its arena in Hailey on Thursday, July 7, at 5 p.m. Tickets are $175 and are available by calling 578-9111, ext. 110.

The evening will include food, an open bar, carnival games, a celebrity dunk tank with Wood River Valley city mayors, silent auction and dinner. Lots of games and carnival-fair fun will also include a bearded lady, wine toss, a sledge-o-matic and the world's smallest horse.

"It's possible that we may have a kissing booth," Bennett said. "We will have a smaller silent auction this year because there are so many games, but there will plenty of opportunities to give to SETCH."

Bennett said volunteers will give out tickets for fair games throughout the event to make it easy to participate. The tickets will be charged to Cowboy Ball patrons who register to donate as part of attending the event.

The benefit will include a live auction with items such as 20th anniversary custom-made belt buckles and a trip to Fleet Week in San Francisco, which includes a tour of the Golden Bear ship. Another live auction item will be three days in New York City at the Carlyle Hotel with tickets to see the Broadway musical "Memphis and a private tour with an exhibition of choice at a Sotheby's auction house.

< Other live auction items will include a dinner for 24 at Lava Lake Ranch with the live music by the Kim Stocking Band and a case of champagne, national rodeo tickets for eight people with hotel rooms, a private dinner at Dashi restaurant for 30 and a trip for eight guests for seven nights at Frangipani Point, a private island near Antigua Island. The evening will also include paddle-up donation rounds for student scholarships and horse sponsorships.

Perhaps the most important event of the Cowboy Ball will be a tribute to SETCH founder and executive director of 20 years, Kristy Pigeon. She will be honored for her vision and service in a tribute by SETCH students called "Flying Without Wings." The evening will also feature live music entertainment by the Kip Attaway Band at 9 p.m.

"All students ride for free," Bennett said "It's more than just a program. You'll never know who will need our services. We have a fair amount of adults who need our services for trauma injuries. With our paid staff, we also have over 200 volunteers who help Mondays through Thursdays in our year-round sessions."

The proceeds from the Cowboy Ball will provide therapeutic riding opportunities for children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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