Local Windham charity, Riding to the Top held its annual Boots, Band and Barbecue fundraiser on October the 13 for its 11th year in a row. This fundraising Triple B event is the largest of the year for the organization which provides therapeutic horse riding for those with disabilities or who are at risk.
The guest speaker, Corey McAllister, whose son attends Riding to the Top classes, said that each visit was the highlight of his week.
I sat down with former board member and current volunteer Cindy Elder and we talked about Riding to the Top and the Triple B event. Riding to the Top provides more than just fun according to Elder; it provides “Amazing Equine services for individuals with a wide range of disabilities.” This includes increasing coordination, reducing muscle spasms and seizures and helping struggling children to open up emotionally. The fleet of horses and ponies they have had over their years have provided comfort, fun and training to thousands of people from Maine and beyond.
The event itself was a special one as it also celebrated the nonprofit's 25th year of service to the community of Windham and Maine at large.
Riding to the Top partnered with many Maine businesses including DennyMike's BBQ, who catered the event with the titular barbeque, 99.9 The Wolf, IDEXX, St. Joseph's College, the Gorham Police Department, Portland Volvo and Norway Savings Bank as well as many more. A few of the businesses even matched donation goals if goals were met. Live music was also provided by local band, Under The Covers. The goal of the event was to bring the Boots, Band, and BBQ total funds raised in its eleven year run to over one million dollars.
One of the many ways in which the money was raised began with Auctioneer Allie Byers having guests raise cards in a descending level of donations from five thousand to fifty dollars. Each individual was provided a card to raise to assign themselves a promised donation, and cards began to shoot out as people donated for horse care, sponsoring people to be able to attend courses, and much more. Over the course of just a few minutes thousands upon thousands of dollars had been raised for the Riding to the Top community. With over 800 hours from all the contributors and over 400 guests attending the event a total of $165,000 dollars was raised with seven of the donations at the $5,000-dollar mark, exceeding their million dollar lifetime goal.
The goal was also met through various other donations, raffle tickets and even a football helmet signed by New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. While the event was a success, the non-profit is still planning to go full steam ahead into 2019. Though there are many volunteers, there is always more room for individuals who want to have a meaningful impact to help.
The organization will be hosting more events throughout the year, as well as providing meaningful courses to those in need from children to retirees. If you would like to contribute to the cause or learn more visit www.ridingtothetop.org or call 892-2813.