This marks the 7th year that the Evergreen Rodeo Association (ERA) will be riding to bring the spirit of Christmas to kids that would not otherwise receive a gift on Christmas morning.
In 2008 Dave Marshall, long time member and past president of the Evergreen Rodeo Association wanted to do something with his children to put thought and meaning into their gift giving at Christmas time. His idea was to deliver presents by horseback with his kids and whoever else wanted to join, starting from the Evergreen/El Pinal Rodeo Grounds on Stagecoach Blvd and ending at the Bergen Park Fire Station.
Dave explains, “It’s only about a 6 mile ride round trip but it’s a great opportunity to reflect on what Christmas is all about. Being horseback riding through Elk Meadow with family and friends is a perfect place to find peace and thank God for all the things we are blessed with.”
This year they will be riding to Williams Park in Bergen Park and then back to the rodeo grounds. Anyone with a horse is welcome to join in the ride. Last year there were 45 riders and the hope is to see over 100 people delivering gifts on horseback in the name of underprivileged children.
Christmas Crusade for Children recipients are the kids that the ERA has sponsored since the inception of the ride. KYGO’s Christmas Crusade for Children started in 1983 to reach the kids in the Denver region that are in need. City & state police and sheriff’s departments (over 30 agencies) familiarize themselves with family situations and “wish lists” as Christmas approaches. As of last year, over 218,000 kids have been blessed through the combined efforts of officers, KYGO listeners, major businesses and individuals.
The children to be sponsored are first nominated by an officer where they are entered into the system and tracked confidentially through the process. Individuals, families and businesses sponsor the kids and drop off the new, unwrapped gifts at the Christmas Crusade Headquarters at 7075 W. Hampden Road. Then the nominating officers pick up the gifts and deliver them to the children in person by Christmas Day. Gifts for unsponsored children are purchased with monies that have been donated directly to Christmas Crusade.
The stated purpose of Christmas Crusade for Children is to “brighten the spirits of children who would not otherwise receive a gift on Christmas morning and to present law enforcement officers as positive figures in their lives.”
This year’s ride is Saturday December 13th. If you and your horse(s) would like to join, park at the Evergreen Rodeo Grounds to meet the group. Horses and riders will leave the rodeo grounds at 10:00 am. We hope to see you there!
For those who cannot ride, you can meet the horses and riders at Williams Park with a gift for a sponsored child. ERA will deliver the gifts to the drop off location. Food donations are also accepted and will be delivered to our local EChO food bank (www.EvergreenChristianOutreach.org). Items always in need this time of year are hearty soups & stews, canned fruit, cereal, dish soap, canned meats, holiday foods (list on website), toiletries and toilet paper.
To sponsor children or donate to Christmas Crusade at 303-322-5437 or www.christmascrusadeforchildren.org. You can also mail a donation to KYGO Christmas Crusade for Children, 7800 E. Orchard Road – Suite 400, Greenwood Village, CO 80111.
Evergreen Rodeo Association, www.EvergreenRodeo.com. New members and volunteers always welcome to help carry on the tradition of the Evergreen Rodeo & Parade on Father’s Day Weekend! Photos by Joseph Williams and KYGO Photographer.
Heather McWilliams © 2014.