FALLBROOK – The 20th annual REINS Country Hoedown attracted more than 800 guests and raised more than $100,000 to support program services, REINS officials announced. The hoedown was sponsored for the fifth consecutive year by The Donegan-Burns Foundation
REINS’ signature community fundraiser each year, the Hoedown helps support the life-changing therapeutic horseback activities that REINS provides. A live riding demonstration by Westin Nack and Linda Searcy kicked off the Oct. 15 event.
Highlights from the evening included a Text 2 Give Campaign displayed on a giant 16-foot Jumbotron and emceed by local REINS supporter Bob Tavano. Attendees also watched the premier of a new video about REINS, which was produced, filmed, and donated by Fallbrook’s own David DeLauder.
Just 10 minutes into the campaign the thermometer surged past the $20,000 goal set for the 20th Anniversary. Presenting Sponsor, The Donegan Burns Foundation, committed an additional $5,000 to the cause by matching all donations over $100 up to $5,000. The entire campaign was electric with young and old raising their hands and texting on their phones.
Personal pledge messages were displayed on the giant screen and included notes of thanks and support. Many Fallbrook residents commented that they had never experienced anything as exciting and personal at a fundraising event.
REINS staff wore blinking silver hats and interacted with the crowd personally to help fulfill pledges. At the end of the campaign, over $30,000 in pledges had been made in only 15 minutes.
“I am overwhelmed and overjoyed with the response from our community on making our 20th Anniversary of the Hoedown so successful,” said executive director Debbie Shinner. “REINS continues to have a loyal and dedicated following. Everyone who attends the event knows why they are there, and that is: making a difference in the lives of the disabled community with this unique form of therapy on horseback!”
Shortly before dinner, Kris Henderson, accompanied on horseback by Karrie and Amie Almendarez, belted out the national anthem in honor of the 20th anniversary. Kris, Karrie and Amie have all received therapeutic horseback riding lessons at REINS for more than 20 years.
The Clay Colton Band provided live music entertainment while guests enjoyed a BBQ dinner buffet catered by Firehouse Que and Brew of Fallbrook. The Fallbrook Brewing Company hosted a beer tasting in the barn area, and Stone Brewery and Fallbrook Winery handled the Saloon.
This year, the Hoedown also featured a carnival area that was operated by REINS volunteers and NCL members. The silent auction overflowed with amazing baskets, art, memorabilia and vacations.
All proceeds from the Hoedown go directly to support REINS. The program currently provides more than 8,000 therapy sessions to children and adults with disabilities each year. This exceptional form of therapy brings improved health, recreation and joy to the lives of the riders and their families.
REINS officials termed the event “a smashing success” and thanked all the sponsors and donors for their support. They also asked people to save the date for 21st anniversary edition of the Country Hoedown, which will be held Oct. 14, 2017.
To learn more about REINS, visit reinsprogram.org.