Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prayers for Gunner

Hello all,

I'd like to ask you to take a moment this afternoon to visit Gunner Gillespie's site at If you could leave his family an encouraging word on the guestbook, I know it would be much appreciated.

I've told you about Gunner...he is a precious little boy in Benton, Kentucky who has bravely fought a brain tumor, one very similar to Sahara's, for just over a year. Today is not a good one and he and his family need your prayers. My heart aches for his parents, as I know all too well what they are feeling at this difficult, mind-numbing time.

Godspeed, sweet Gunner...

With love,

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Hello, everyone!

Sorry it took me a week to sign in and give you the total raised last weekend! I have been sick and finally gave up and went bed on Thursday evening, where I've been ever since. I missed the most beautiful weekend of fall, no doubt, because I haven't left the house. I'm starting to feel a bit better now, thank goodness. Anyway...

I was all ready to post that the grand total raised was $22,093. Isn't that simply out of this world??? But wait, I opened an email from Rhonda, photographer extraordinaire, which informed me that I should add another $28 from photo sales. It floored me to read the new total:

Yes, Sahara had to throw in her contribution by making sure we had some 21's in the total. Two of 'em!!!!! WOW!!!!!

We began our Saturday at MVTH, where Rick and Matty got to meet the riders, their parents, and of course, the horses. It was "Rider Appreciation Day," but in my eyes, there was appreciation all around...appreciation for the kids, the parents, the staff and volunteers, and for Rick. Visiting MVTH is heartwarming, inspiring and breathtaking all at the same time. We had such a wonderful visit (with Rick and Shannon ending up in grass skirts...lolol). I am so glad that we had the opportunity to show Cowboy Rick what the program is about, how much Sahara enjoyed attending lessons there, and why we love MVTH so dearly. He got it. Everybody did. Rhonda worked her usual magic and took the most incredible photos. You can check out her photos from the entire day at

I hope that many of you had the great fortune to meet Grayson, Sahara's instructor at MVTH, my benefit partner and all-around Energizer bunny. Could Sahara pick great people or what??? I continue to be amazed by the great choices she made in so many ways. Grayson epitomizes what MVTH is all and concern for her riders. Sahara picked up on that immediately. Grayson and Kandy gave Sahara such joy and we are forever grateful. Now, we are blessed with friendship with Grayson and her wonderful husband Larry. I believe we all have Sahara to thank for that! We had so much fun putting the benefit together week by week over the summer. It's weird now that it is over...but we definitely have some ideas for fundraising projects in the future. I can't wait to work with them again!

The signing at PMac was great fun, with Shannon playing the part of Ronnie for the afternoon. (I thought he did a great job!) Thanks to everyone at PMac for all of their hard work, from ticket sales, putting up with hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls, and for hosting the signing. We appreciate all of you!

Rick was feeling rough but put on a great show as always. I don't know how he does it. I think it was purely his love for Sahara and her ever-present spirit that gave him the voice to sing that night, because he certainly didn't have much left! It was amazing. As he finished singing St. Sahara, barely making it through at all, the entire place stood up and applauded. I just stood there with tears running down my face...what a precious moment. To everyone who was there...our guests, our silent auction donors, our many volunteers, Sheryl and Don Henley, Crystal Britt, Mayor Jay Knudtson, Phil and the staff of Buckner's...thank you.

Our meet and greet was fun but Rick was fading fast. He managed to take photos with everyone but was definitely ready to hit the hay at the end of the evening. Thanks to everyone for your patience and respect for Rick as we tried to make things go quickly. And even more thanks to Rhonda for photographing the evening! I know that everyone is loving their photos.

As we drove the guys back to the airport on Sunday, we kept talking about how great the previous day had been. Rick and Matty truly had a great time and support our efforts more than ever. We thank them for giving us their time and talents as we continue to give it our all for MVTH.

If you were present for any part of our wonderful day, I hope you'll take a second to post your experiences. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

More photos to come as I slowly come back to life and get them uploaded. I'll also fill you in on our trip to Vegas for our 24th anniversary!

With love,

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Let's Get this Party Started!

Is everybody ready? This weekend is going to be a blast!

Details about Saturday:
Rick has graciously agreed to visit PMac Music from noon to 1 pm! He will only be signing items that are purchased at PMac, so get there early, pick up a cool Rick cd or dvd, and grab your place in line. Remember, he is only able to be there for one hour, so arrive as early as possible to make sure you get your chance to meet Rick! Doors open at PMac promptly at 9 am!

Enjoy the Show:
Parking downtown can be, well, interesting. There are a lot of spaces on Water Street, behind Buckner's, as well as on Broadway and Main Streets. There is also a free parking lot behind the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, which is directly catty-corner to Buckner's on the opposite side of Broadway and Main. Get downtown early if you want a spot close to the club!

About Buckners:
Doors will open at Buckner's at 6:30 pm. We encourage everyone to get there early - have dinner, drinks, check out the silent auction items and get ready to have a great time. If you have standing room only tickets, please line up outside at the Broadway entrance as early as you can so you can claim the best spots when the doors open! Only the Broadway entrance will be open that evening.
Bring Identification that Proves Your Age. Even You, Gramma Dooley!
At the door, you WILL BE CARDED. Have your ID and your show ticket ready. After you're verified to be 21, you will be provided with an armband, which you must wear for the duration of the show, with colors corresponding to your tickets as follows:
VIP: orange, FLOOR: blue, BALCONY: yellow, STANDING ROOM ONLY: green

Once You're Inside Buckners:
An usher will show you to your seats or direct you to the designated standing room areas. VIP orange armbands will be required for entry to the Meet & Greet!

Event programs will be handed out as you arrive. You'll find some great information about MVTH, Sahara's story, and you'll be able to check out ads from all of our generous show sponsors.

PMac Music will have a booth set up on the left as you enter Buckner's. If you still need to pick up your copy of Venus in Overdrive or one of Rick's other great titles, this will be your chance!

Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship will have an information booth set up directly across from the silent auction room. Please stop by, chat with the volunteers, take a brochure and find out what you can do to help after the night is over!
Silent Auction:
The silent auction will open at 6:30 pm. You may pay by cash or check (so long as it's good!). We have a fantastic selection of items waiting for your HIGH BIDS!
  • Gorgeous red Fernandez guitar autographed by Rick
  • Brown shirt Rick is wearing on the show poster and on the inside of the Venus in Overdrive cd
  • Handwritten lyrics to Jessie's Girl
  • Gift certificates to EDen Spa
  • I-Groove Digital Music Speaker System
  • GPS system
  • Free oil change cards from Bening Mazda
  • Cracker Barrel Gold Card
  • Super Stars of the 80's cd box set
  • "Rock of Life" clock
  • Beautiful selection of books
  • Rams/Bears tickets for November 23 (or Bears/Rams tickets if that sounds
  • Vintage bottle of Scotch
Donations are still coming in! The silent auction will be located in the room directly to the left of the main bar. Bids will be accepted until 7:45 pm. At that time, the room will be closed and winners will be determined. Winners will be announced immediately following Rick's performance. The room will then reopen for winners to pay for their items. Best of luck to you!!!

Wait'll you see the t-shirts we have for sale! They will be $20 each and are a must-have souvenir to commemorate this very special occasion.

Raffle Tickets:
We will have volunteers conducting sales for a 50/50 drawing. The tickets will be $1.00 each, or 6 for $5.00.

Enjoy the Show:
You simply cannot miss the pre-show, which begins at 7:30 pm. We have some very special guests and great things planned for you to see. Be sure to be in your seats when we get started!

Rick will take the stage at 8 pm. How excited are YOU??? The show will last approximately one hour. Make Rick feel welcome as he comes back to Cape for the love of Sahara.
After Rick's performance, the great local band Midlife Crisis will take the stage. While they are setting up, our volunteers must move the tables and chairs from the VIP section back to their original places in the restaurant and Ragsdales (downstairs). Buckner's has been so very kind to allow us to configure their club to meet our needs for the show, and we've promised to put their chairs, tables and barstools back where they started! After the VIP section has been cleared, the floor seats must also be moved back to their original locations. We appreciate your patience as our volunteers put the place back in order. You are welcome (and encouraged!) to stick around and party with Midlife Crisis but your location will likely change due to seating restrictions. If you're in standing room sections, party on! We'll work around you. :)

VIP Meet & Greet (orange armbanded guests only)
The VIP Meet & Greet will be held on the third floor in the Riverview Room. After the silent auction winners are announced, VIP guests should line up on the stairs leading to the third floor. We will have ushers standing by for assistance. When the door is unlocked for the Meet & Greet, proceed as directed to the Riverview Room. Rhonda Hunt from Reflections Portrait Studio will be there taking professional photos of your meeting with Rick. She will provide a card with instructions for downloading your photo from the web. Each guest will be allowed one autograph and one photo. A cash bar will be open and snacks will be provided. Mix, mingle and enjoy this special once-in-a-lifetime experience! The Meet & Greet is scheduled to last for approximately one hour.

Do Not Drink and Drive. Now, or EVER!
We want everyone to have a great evening, and we also want everyone to get home safely. If you don't already have a designated driver in your party, you can make arrangements for a ride by calling Designated Driver at (573) 200-3388. They will pick you up and deliver you back to any location in Cape Girardeau. It's easy, inexpensive and a very smart choice! Please don't drink and drive!

Have a Great Evening and Let's Help A Great Cause
I think that's about it - all you have to do now is show up on Saturday and have a fantastic time with Rick! The weather is supposed to be picture-perfect; welcome to a beautiful autumn in Southeast Missouri!

We'll see you at the show!

Amy and Shannon