18th annual trail ride benefits St. Jude

Story and Photos by Sarah Hawley

October 5, 2013

RUTLAND — The 18th annual St. Jude Trail Ride held recently at the Dill Farm raised nearly $20,00 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Despite being rained out on the original date, many participants returned for the second weekend of festivities to support the cause.

A total of 226 people registered to either ride or assist with the ride, raising $19,289, as of Wednesday. Participants are still able to turn in money so that total is likely to increase in the coming weeks.

In addition to the ride, fundraising events at the trail ride included 17 raffle items and a 50/50 drawing. Participants also had the chance to win one of 131 door prizes given away.

One new addition to the trail ride this year was a DJ on the Friday evening prior to the original event date. The DJ, sponsored by the Ohio Horse Council Meigs Chapter, provided an evening of entertainment for those camping at the Dill Farm.

Last year, 353 riders collected $23,129.76 for St. Jude. With the money raised to date this year, the total collected is $188,160.01.

The Saddle Up for St. Jude trail ride at the Dill Farm near Rutland has become an annual tradition, drawing participants from around the region.

Isabel Dill said in the past, riders have come to the event from several neighboring counties — some camping for the entire weekend.

The Dill’s neighbors also open up their property to allow the trail ride to criss-cross the hillsides of Rutland Township. The event takes a lot of planning and hard work but Isabel says it’s worth it, adding that her husband always says if it helps just one kid, that’s all that matters.

The ride travels for 10 miles through scenic Rutland Township. Halfway through, the ride organizers provide an intermission and refreshments. There is no charge to participate in the 10-mile ride, though donations to St. Jude are welcome.

The family plans to continue with the event next year.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization.

For more information on Saddle Up for St. Jude, visit or