April 28, 2005

June 11 Fundraiser Scheduled to Support Bit by Bit

A fundraiser to support the Bit by Bit Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program has been scheduled for Saturday, June 11 at the historic Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa.

The event titled Boots, BBQ and Boogie will feature a barbeque dinner catered by Legends Barbeque, silent and live auctions, and live Western music from Paul Bogart and his band. While the final auction list is being finalized, event organizers said items up for bid should include autographed memorabilia, sporting event tickets, jewelry, art and other unique items.

Travis Meyer, a longtime Tulsa meteorologist and television personality, will emcee the event.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Cain's Ballroom, located in downtown Tulsa at 423 N. Main St. Tickets for the event are $50 per person.

Proceeds from the event will be used to support Bit by Bit and the construction and operation of the Rogers State University Equestrian Center, which when completed will house the therapeutic horseback riding program serving children and adults with disabilities. The equestrian center is slated for construction on U.S. 169 about five miles south of Oologah. The equestrian center also would provide facilities for the RSU Rodeo Club to practice for intercollegiate rodeo competitions and other club activities.

Bit by Bit is a cooperative program between RSU and Oologah-Talala Public Schools to promote physical and mental health for children and adults with disabilities through horseback riding. One of 11 certified equine therapy centers in the state, Bit By Bit is the only certified program in the state directly affiliated with a university. The program, now located on RSU's main campus in Claremore, currently serves more than 75 children and adults in northeastern Oklahoma, and more than 1,000 students have participated in the program since its inception in 1997.

In early 2004, RSU initiated a fundraising campaign to construct an off-campus equestrian facility that would house Bit by Bit and the RSU Rodeo Club. The campaign goal was to raise $1.2 million for acquiring land and constructing the facilities, with another $1 million placed in an endowment for operating expenses for the programs.

In June, the Frank and Wanda Sanders Family Trust donated the 23 acres south of Oologah, which will be used for the facility and its operations.

Major sponsors for the Boots, BBQ and Boogie event, to date, include:

Ropers: Cedar Creek Wholesale, Inc., Tulsa World, Hille Foundation.

Rustlers: Oxley Foundation, Will Rodgers Lodge No. 53.

Spurs: Burnside and Associates, Ltd. Co. environmental inspections; Ken Ray Underwood, Attorney at Law; Shipman Veterinary Service.

The event committee includes Leslie Westfall of Tulsa, chair; Lisa Turner of Claremore, co-chair; Sheila Bond of Inola; Stephany Foutch of Tulsa; Martha King-Clark of Tulsa; Joletta Spurlock of Inola; Linda Barron, program director for Bit by Bit; Ginger Terrill, RSU equine manager; and Tonni Harrald, RSU director of development. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call the Bit by Bit office at (918) 343-7849.