Ride a Horse Feed a Cowboy was founded in 2007 by Chanda Snook, the late Jane McKinney, and Brian Elkin.
We started this event because we wanted to make a fun filled weekend every summer. Then in 2009 we decided if we are going to have this event why not help someone out in need? So we made our event a benefit. Every year we choose someone different that may need some help with medical expenses due to cancer or an accident. These people do not need to be from Hulett we also look to our surrounding communities for people in need. It’s sad to say we have never had a lack of people that need help. We are strictly non-profit and rely solely on our generous donors. We have always had a great response to our event and we are very great full to everyone who supports us.
As of August 10, I have decided to add Austin Hines to our benefit. I ran into Austin’s grandpa Chip at the Casper Hospital while at work. We got to visiting and he told me about his grandson Austin, his story really touched me and I then thought thought this family needs a little help and I had something coming up quite quickly that might take some of the pressure off of this family and young man. Following is his story written by his grandpa Chip;
(Latest update on Austin’s condition as of Monday, 30th at 10:00am. His fever is still above 101. The doctors could not remove the ventilator. His one good lung is still not able to take over. He was given blood last night that is apparently being lost in his liver. No decision on what to do at this time. Austin is still listed as critical)
I want to bring everyone up to date and inform those who haven’t heard that my oldest grandson at Gillette WY was in a horrific accident late Friday afternoon the 27th. It was a normal kid’s having fun that went bad in an instant. My grandson Austin and his friend Josh were jumping a motorcycle over a bank. Austin’s girl friend Casey was there also. Josh was on the bike and was making a run up the bank. Neither at this point could see the other. Austin’s hat blew off and he chased after it just as Josh came up over the bank. The bike hit Austin on his left side. The bike was turned from the handle bars striking Austin and was directed to a barb wire fence paralleling the direction he had been traveling. Josh suffered severe cuts from the fence.
Casey kept her cool, called 911 and got an ambulance on the way. The dispatcher stayed on the line with Casey. When Casey realized Austin was barely breathing, the dispatcher led her through doing chest compressions. This very well may have saved Austin’s life. His lungs took a terrific blow and suffered contusions.
At the Gillette hospital, problem after problem came up as the doctors did a cat scan and began treating Austin. After stabilizing him, and intubating a respirator to do his breathing and keep oxygenating his lungs, they decided to send him to Casper instead of Denver since it was much closer. I got word about the accident about 9:20, threw a week’s worth of clothes in a bag and headed to Casper. I got to the hospital at 3:45 in the morning. At that time my daughter-in–law Darcy was by herself. She needed a shoulder for comfort. Austin came out of surgery a half hour after I got there. They had repaired his leg with titanium rods. Both bones in lower lag had been broken and had punctured the skin and his thigh bone was in three pieces. It had been decided to wait until Sunday to repair his arm. Another cat scan had been done in Casper and the doctor told us what they had found. Besides the arm and leg breaks, contusions to both lungs with the left lung completely useless, but the right one working fairly good. His spleen and liver were lacerated, but did not require any surgery. Also a concussion.
The worst problem was his lungs. Almost all their attention was on his breathing. There were some smaller issues beside what I have mentioned. All in all, he was in pretty good shape for the shape he was in. When I left Yuma, I feared the worst from the preliminary prognosis. He was in extremely critical condition. After visiting with the surgeon in Casper I was relieved when he said that Austin would make it. He was young and in good physical condition. Grandpa was happy! Sunday his arm was repaired with titanium and this also relieved pressure on his forearm which the doctors had been worrying about as it was constricting blood flow. His rehabilitation will be long and at times painful, but he is a tough kid and I know he can do it.
Even in something as terrible as this accident there was a bit of humor. Saturday in the waiting room with a dozen or so friends and relatives present, Josh told his side of the experience. When he landed in the fence he knew he had a bad cut in his upper left thigh inner thigh and close to what every guy deems important. Running on adrenaline he ignored this, helped Casey and comforted Austin who had regained conciseness. With Austin in such critical condition, the paramedics decided to only take Austin and send another ambulance for Josh. Josh said he would drive himself and hobbled to the house where his pickup was parked. First though he did what most any guy would do with a cut in such a vulnerable place. He went in to the bathroom, pulled up his shirt tail, and dropped his pants to see if everything was, “intact.” Satisfied he was okay, he then drove to the hospital.
For our 6th annual Ride a Horse Feed a Cowboy benefit we have chosen Zoe Penning from Hulett Wyoming . Zoe will be a Junior at Hulett High School in the coming year. She has been diagnosed with a heart condition and will be undergoing open heart surgery the first week of June. Following is her story:
Hello, I am Zoe, a 15 year old girl facing some difficult times. I have four older brothers and one younger sister; I am a very athletic, unique individual. It was basketball season of my freshman year of high school when my life started to change. It was about November of 2010 when my first symptom appeared, blue legs. My team and I were running in basketball practice for a warm up. After running we formed a circle to stretch as a team when one of my teammates said to me, “Zoe, why are your legs blue?” I then looked down and saw a bluish tint to my legs. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, I just figured that maybe it was cold in the gym or something. This symptom then progressed and began to occur daily. My parents watched me at games and were able to see the blueness from the bleachers. They thought I was a little crazy until they were actually able to see it. My mom took me to the chiropractor to see if maybe I had a severe pinched nerve. After a few visits, we decided that it was something worse than a pinched nerve. My mother then took me to the local doctor and they did some blood tests just looking for any abnormalities, there were none. I went through a series of where testing they took me out of all physical activity, including basketball. Being the athlete I am, I was very disappointed. After they did not see anything wrong, they put me back into sports. I was still turning blue and had frequent pain in my legs, which made it very difficult to participate in sports.
During volleyball season of my sophomore year, I noticed that my legs were still turning blue when I ran. My parents said to watch it and make sure it wasn’t getting any worse, because the doctors already said that nothing was wrong. The color change and pain did not get any worse, but I began to experience numbness legs. I was running in Volleyball practice one day when I fell to the ground. I tried to get back up and fell again. I noticed I had no feeling whatsoever in my legs. I was scared and thought I was going to be permanently paralyzed. After about 30 minutes of laying on the gym floor, I regained feeling and got up slowly and attempted to walk. I felt very weak, but I was able to walk with assistance. The following day we went back to the doctor to explain to them what had happened the day before. My symptoms led them to believe something could be wrong with my heart, so they took me out of volleyball. I had an appointment two weeks later in Rapid City with a pediatric cardiologist. We were in the doctor office for exactly seven minutes, and all he said was that it wasn’t my heart and he didn’t know why I was there. He didn’t do any sort of testing, so we weren’t sure what to think. He signed a release saying I could play volleyball again. I was happy and I played as long as I could before my legs started to go numb. I would then sit out until I regained feeling and I would start again.
By basketball season, sophomore year, 2012, I was still having problems with blue legs and numbness. I participated as much as I could before my legs went numb or turned blue. A couple weeks into basketball season I woke up in the morning and my legs were numb. This became a daily reoccurring symptom. I could not predict when the feeling would come back, it would be anywhere from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I had absolutely no control over this, so I wasn’t able to go to school for two months. I began to get VERY behind in school and wasn’t able to play basketball. We went back to the doctor and he was very concerned, he thought maybe he should do a MRI of my brain and lower spine to make sure nothing was being blocked. The MRI’s all came back normal. I was beginning to lose all hope when he suggested for me to go see a neurologist. We thought it is worth a shot. Off to Rapid City we went. The neurologist did an EMG and a nerve conduction test, which all came back normal. He also did a MRA to make sure my blood was flowing correctly, it was. I explained to the neurologist that I had to sleep sitting up because I could not breathe when I was lying flat and therefore, I could not sleep. He told my parents and I that we needed to go to a heart doctor because he was 90% sure that it was my heart. We explained that we had already been to a heart doctor and he told us that we should go back to get a second opinion. He set up an appointment in Casper for a regular (not pediatric) heart doctor. We thought this was a good idea because it seemed as if pediatrics didn’t take me very serious.
We went to Casper and the doctor there did not think it was my heart, but he thought he would do some tests to double check. The first test he did was a stress test, so he could see my legs blue. Then, they did a bubble study ultrasound of my heart to make sure the blood was staying where it should be, it was. This doctor thought he would do one more test to look at the back of my heart, a MRI of my heart. We were hoping that it wasn’t my heart but it was worth a shot. In the meantime, we went to Denver, Colorado to the Children’s Hospital to a rheumatologist. We did not get much information from him, but he did think that it could be RSD, so he recommended me to another doctor. When we returned home, we received a call from the doctor in Caper saying that I had a serious case of Pericarditis. My heart was not pumping correctly and it was cutting off circulation to my legs. This doctor then wanted to do a heart catheter to see exactly how bad this case was and how the blood pumped. It was worse than he expected. I then got the bad news of needing open heart surgery to remove my pericardium.
After a year and a half, going from doctor to doctor and not being able to live a normal teenage life, we finally got answers. I will be undergoing the surgery the first week of June at the Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. It will take about three months to heal completely. I am a little disappointed that I am not able to work this summer, but the doctor reminded me that after the surgery I will live a completely normal life again and will be able to compete in a whole year of sports!
I would like to thank those who help put ‘Ride a Horse Feed a Cowboy’ on. Being asked to be the beneficiary this year is a great privilege. My family and I are so thankful for all those who donate and volunteer.
Thank you all VERY much!
View Our Sponsors