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Harness club to host humane society benefit

Trail riders are welcome to bring their own horses for the first Waggin' Trail Ride Oct. 5-7, or some riders can jump on one of the wagons and just relax and let someone else take over the reins. Submitted Photo

Saddle up, partners -- the very first Waggin' Trail Ride is just around the corner.

The event, sponsored by the Midwest Minnesota Harness Club, is being held Oct. 5-7 just outside of Detroit Lakes.

All of the profits go to the Human Society of the Lakes, which houses homeless cats and dogs from around the region.

The Western-inspired "shing-ding" kicks off Friday evening for early arrivers who want to camp.

"The camping will be set up in the pasture," said Sheila Jackson, who along with husband, John, will be hosting the event at their farm.

"It's primitive camping, but we will have porta-potties and water out there," said Jackson, adding that campers will be required to bring all of their own things, including horses.

The next morning, registration goes from 8-10 with the horse and wagon ride starting at 11 a.m.

"They'll be riding for about five hours," said Jackson, who says the crew will spend most of the time in and around the Detroit Mountain area.

"The trails there are wide enough for wagons, so we'll have some members of the Midwest Minnesota Harness Club pulling some wagons," said Jackson. "It's kind of a first come, first serve basis on who gets to ride in the wagons."

Once back at "camp," participants will be served up some hot grub, as members of the Humane Society will be helping to cook up some vittles.

"We're having a hog roast," said Jackson, "and then also chips, bars, stuff to drink."

Games, music and a campfire will also add to the western scene, as a handful of vendors will be on hand to sell all the things a good cowboy or cowgirl might need but never thought of.

Sunday when everybody gets up and moving, the group will mount up for another, shorter ride.

So, just how big will this horse-riding, hog-eating group be?

"The more the better," said Jackson. "Right now we're thinking it'll be 60 to 90 people, but we'd like to get it up to 150 -- that'd be great!"

Jackson says she and her husband have done this sort of thing before when they lived in Ottertail, raising money for the humane society there and to raise money to buy instruments for U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

John knows horses, Sheila knows food.

"So why not throw a fundraiser?" she laughed.

Jackson says they like the fact that it's really open to anybody -- "single, married, doesn't matter. It's a good experience for everyone," she said. "And even if people don't have a horse, but would like to come on out and join us for supper and just get a chance to hang out and see the horses and entertainment, take pictures, we encourage that."

The cost to register for the weekend is $20 per person, $30 per couple or $40 per family if the children are under 16 years old.

The cost includes camping, food and entertainment for the entire weekend.

Although there is no deadline to register (participants can just show up), Jackson does suggest calling ahead right away if somebody doesn't have a horse and will need a ride in one of the wagons "because they will fill up pretty fast, I think," said Jackson.

The Jackson farm is located at 30312 137th St., Frazee, just a couple of miles northeast of Detroit Lakes.

To find out more, call Sheila Jackson at 218-731-3783 or Georgia Nagel at 218-841-6730.