Edited Press Release
The event, Operation Free Ride Rodeo, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., near the main gate. The arena will be located near the helicopter display on the east side of the event area. The first 100 riders will receive a gift bag with two free tickets to the Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) Rodeo on Monday, July 22, and a free Horses4Heroes T-shirt. Civilians may ride on a space available basis. All who participate in Operation Free Ride Rodeo will be entered to win “Freedom Reigns,” a collectible statue by The Trail of Painted Ponies. Sponsors and supporters include Wrangler National Patriot, Kensington Protective Products, Tarter Farm & Ranch, Ride TV and Michael Gaughan’s South Point Hotel & Casino.
Horses for Operation Free Ride Rodeo will be provided by two local riding facilities, Cheyenne Therapeutic Equestrian Center and Lucky Star Equine Management and Training. Rides are open to all ages, and standard fitness guidelines for equine activities will be enforced. Riders 16 and under are required to wear a helmet, and adults, 18 and over, must sign a waiver.
Operation Free Ride is an unprecedented collaboration between facility owners, breed associations and equestrian organizations, united for one important mission: to give returning combat veterans and Wounded Warriors and their families the opportunity to ride a horse for free. Launched one year ago in May, Horses4Heroes’ Operation Free Ride has been a “runaway success,” with thousands registering, according to Sydney Knott, president and executive director of Horses4Heroes.
“This program is opening the wonderful world of horses to these men, women and their children who have sacrificed so much on our behalf,” says Knott. “With thousands of troops returning home, programs like Operation Free Ride Rodeo are important to PTS sufferers, Wounded Warriors, caregivers and their families. In the past year, ‘Free Riders’ have participated in cattle drives and Civil War Re-enactments, taken trail rides through wooded forests and enjoyed arena lessons.
“Operation Free Ride is a great opportunity for horse owners and equestrian facilities to show their support for the soldiers, veterans and their families and participate in a nationwide community service project,” Knott continues. “In addition to Cheyenne Frontier Days, Horses4Heroes hosted Operation Free Ride at the Pinto World Championship Show in Tulsa and will be bringing Operation Free Ride Rodeo to the River City Rodeo in Omaha.”