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Riding for Our Veterans returns June 12-13

Angie Talken
atalken@chillicothenews.com
Chillicothe News

Six years ago Larry Oster helped organize a fundraising dinner and event for his brother, a veteran, to help offset the costs of medical care while Leonard Oster was undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer. Leonard worked for 18 years with Bravo Battery in Chillicothe before ending his 23-year career with the National Guard in Oklahoma. He lost his battle to cancer in October 2014.

That event in August of 2014, was so successful that Oster said it was decided to do other events to help raise funds for other veterans in need.

Following a poker run, and fundraising dinners in 2015, the first-ever Riding for Our Veterans event was hosted in Chillicothe. That event will once again fill Litton Ag Center this weekend, with a traditional bull ride both Friday and Saturday nights.

Oster said in 2016 the group hosted two events, and then five in 2017 and this year will host three Chillicothe, Boonville and then the Labor Day event in Lathrop.

Oster said all money raised at the events goes to help veterans across the state.

“We recognize there is a need for veterans across the country, but feel it is best stewards of the money raised in Missouri to help veterans in Missouri,” he said.

Last year the Riding for veterans organization helped nine veterans across the state. Including helping build an awning on the home of a Korean veteran in Columbia.

“We donated labor, no funds,” but he still had a need,” Oster said. “It was nice to meet him, Several Chillicothe area veterans received some assistance with bills, and through a collaboration with groups across the state a veteran’s wife was able to obtain a service dog.

“We are not just offering a handout - but a hand up,” Oster said. “We want to help them address whatever issue may be causing them to go through a hard time, we want to help them find a path to not allow this to happen to them again if we Livingston County Veterans Association to be put toward the groups building fund.

The popular event will feature mutton busting, wild steer riding and more. Veterans will be honored throughout the evening, starting with the opening ceremony, including a tribute ride.

Oster said area veterans asked to register when arriving at the event, so they might be included in the evening events. Every rider rides in honor of a veteran.

On Saturday night a special tribute will be paid to veterans, first responders, health care workers and other essential employees.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m., registration for mutton busting begins at 6 p.m.; mutton busting begins at 6:30 p.m., the main show at 7:30 p.m.

This year the event will feature six chutes, is being sanctioned by four different groups, will feature riders including Chad Lucas, Jeremiah Riggs, Jesse Tillman and Rodeo Clown Tuffy Gessling.

Those attending the Friday, June 12 show are encouraged to wear red to support Red (Remember Everyone Deployed) Fridays.

There will be concessions available onsite.

To address the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, Oster said he has been in talks with city and county officials and the Livingston County Health Office to ensure the best practices are being used. There will additional seating in the arena to ensure social distancing, additional handwashing and hand sanitizing stations will be available also. It is highly recommended by the Livingston County Health Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear a mask to all of the events. Oster said that the after-show events Friday and Saturday nights do require masks.

Advance tickets can be bought online at ridingforourveterans.com or at the Chillicothe Bootery or Orscheln in Trenton. Online ordering will be closed at 12 p.m., on Friday.

Tickets are available at the door for $12 for adults, $8 children and five and under are free.

There will also be a Saturday meet at 10:30 a.m., at Chillicothe Bootery, where Oster said those attending will be allowed to interact with cowboys and other participants. Those attending are encouraged to wear masks.

For more information call 660-322-2728.