Riders raise money for shelter

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 31, 2009

VIDALIA — High water changed their plans more than once, but on Saturday, more than 70 riders hopped on their horses and hit the dusty trail for a good cause.

The first of what is to become an annual trail ride to benefit the Sunshine Children’s Center and Kyle’s House kicked off on the Vidalia Riverfront.

“I grew up riding horses, and last fall I decided we were going to have a trail ride,” event coordinator Cynthia Parker Brumfield said.

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The ride was originally scheduled to go down to Glasscock Island, but the Mississippi River’s flooding moved it to the Riverview RV park.

But the high water near the RV park forced the ride to move again.

Vidalia City Manager Ken Walker said the city was happy to accommodate the changes.

“We just wanted to partner with and help with Kyle’s House in any way we can,” Walker said. “At first we tried the RV park, because we wanted to support a local business, but when that didn’t work we moved it (to the Riverfront).”

Organizing the first year of any event is the hardest, but Brumfield said the turnout made it worth it.

“We had people start showing up at 11 a.m. Friday,” she said.

Sunshine Shelter and Kyle’s House Executive Director Matilda Stephens agreed with Brumfield.

“If we had 60 people show up for the first one, I consider it a success,” Stephens said.

Led by a horse-drawn wagon under a bright, clear sky, the trail ride started next to Promise Hospital and made its way down the riverfront to Concordia Avenue.

The ride traveled down the avenue until the riders could get on the levee and begin a 12-mile ride along Old River, stopping at one point to eat lunch on the levee.

The participants had a cochon de lait Saturday afternoon, and the festivities continue today with a cowboy church led by David Carter and his mustang Silverado at 9 a.m. on the Riverfront.

Carter shows how his horse is required to trust him, and then draws parallels of how people should trust God, Brumfield said.

The time was set at 9 a.m. so locals who want to attend but not miss their own church services would not have to, she said.

The Sunshine Children’s Center houses abused children, from babies to age 18.

Kyle’s House is a year-round day care that is tailored to meet the requirements of special-needs children.