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The Back 40

Saddle Up!

Wed, February 01, 2012

Every year I coordinate an event here in Central Illinois called Saddle Up For St. Jude. 

What is Saddle Up For St. Jude?  I’m glad you asked.  Saddle Up is a huge coordinated and sponsored horseback trail ride through Jubilee State Park in Brimfield, IL….usually about 100+ horses.  After the ride, we provide lunch and drinks for everyone, whether they rode out or not.  Lunch is followed by an auction, which is where we raise most of our money.  On average, we raise about $20,000 at this event. 

This year’s Saddle Up For St. Jude will take place on June 23rd at Jubilee State Park’s, Jim Spurgeon Equestrian Area (North side of the park).  The ride will begin at 9:00am.  Riders will be back at camp by 11:00 and lunch will be served at 12:00.  The auction will begin right after lunch, at 1:00pm. 

The auction always has something for everyone.  Tons of horse related items, housewares, lawn and garden, tools, chainsaws, treestands, hunts (such as pheasant and deer), paintings, homemade pies and lots of other stuff.  Quite literally, something for everyone. 

Though this is the 16th annual Saddle Up For St. Jude, it is only my 6th year running it.  Lots of work goes into putting this event on, but it’s all worth it.  And if you’re wondering how much of the money that we raise goes to St. Jude, the percentage is 100.  Not one penny of what we make for the kids goes into putting this event on.  Any money that’s required for food or whatever comes from our pockets and some donations. 

Working in the television industry my entire life, I’ve had the fortunate/unfortunate task of being involved in many telethons.  Working a telethon is rewarding, but awful.  If you’ve ever felt bad when you’ve seen a small child in a permanent wheelchair, try being surrounded by people less fortunate than you all day.  That’s why I took over Saddle Up.  My wife and I are very fortunate to have two healthy kids, but learning what other kids and their families go through when diagnosed with childhood cancer, it was time to step up to the plate.  I have never met more deserving kids and families in my life.  And what can I say about St. Jude?  I could go on forever, but it’s probably easier if you just go to their website to see just how much they help these families and what they’ve done to kick cancer’s rear. 

Last year when I posted a similar article, Marc Anthony was kind enough to offer up a gift certificate for a Whitetail shoulder mount.  I actually bought it at the auction.  Good thing he gave the gift certificate a 10 year expiration date.  Not a very fruitful year for me in terms of wallhangers.  I do have a couple that I’d love Marc to work on for me next season.  Also, Matt Staser made me one heck of a beautiful bow with the Saddle Up logo on it and told me he’s making an even better one this year.  Every reader should be so lucky to hold one of his bows.  Incredible detail.  I even got a couple checks from HO people.  Without donators, I have no auction at all.  So, to all of you who helped, a big Thank You.  You did a good thing. 

If there are any HO readers who would like to contribute to this cause/auction, please send me a PM.  I’d list my address here, but that may not be a good idea.  Also, please consider this an open invitation.  It’s a family-fun event that goes on all day and you don’t have to own or ride a horse to attend.  If you’d like to ride, I’ll find you a good mount.  Heck, you can take my boy, Cody, for a spin. 

Thanks for letting me take some of your time,

John Soehn

Me and my boy, Cody.


This is the best cause out there and I will be there again this year.  Thanks for the reminder, I need to get started on a donation.  Its gonna take a while.

Posted by MattS on February 01

My buddy John,,,How can i help????Please pm me of different items i can donate…..Ill donate time for set-up and clean-up also if needed…..

Posted by WhitetailFreak on February 01

You can always count on me for a mount John! I’ll send you a certificate whenever you need it. Thanks for all the work you do for these kids.

Posted by Marc Anthony on February 01

Matt.  What can I say?  Thanks again.  As you know, your bow was a huge hit last year.

WF….Careful what you ask for, you may just get it.  I’ll PM you.

Marc….As always, a big Thank You.  Who knew a horse event could bring hunters together to help kids with cancer? 

It would be pretty darn cool if we could have a decent showing of HO’ers at the event.  I’ll buy the first two rounds.

Posted by Treehugger on February 02

Count me and the family in….......No horse riding for me though….lol

Posted by WhitetailFreak on February 02

That’s awesome, Doug.  See you there.

Posted by Treehugger on February 02


Is the bow a traditional bow?

Posted by mountain man on February 02

yes, This year it will be a take down and more….....

Posted by MattS on February 03

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