By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. — Click here for video
A light rain fell on Lotito Park as Billy Jeffers drove a John Deere tractor dragging a screen through the park’s horse show ring — grooming the track for the inaugural R&M Stables Horse Show Benefiting Appalachian Teen Challenge. The show started Friday night and is scheduled to conclude tonight.
“Not bad for a couple of old country boys,” Jeffers said after finishing the track preparations and stepping beneath a tent where a few members of the Teen Challenge staff were enjoying a hot dog cookout. “The day camp we had for the kids today went really well, and we’re looking to do the same thing tomorrow morning. The kids from Teen Challenge have been working along with us every step of the way. We have a lot of students here with us.”
“We were looking around for a good cause to be involved with, and once we talked with Jim Nickels and the staff of Teen Challenge, we knew we found the right one,” Ralph Vine, owner of R&M Stables in Wytheville, Va., said.
“We thought we were good at sales, but once we heard the testimony from some of these kids, we were sold on helping Teen Challenge,” Jeffers said.
“Dwight Godwin of the Bluefield Recreation Department has been great to work with too,” Vine said. “We’ve had a lot of great partners in this project.”
Jeffers and Vine started rattling off the number of businesses and services in the area that have stepped up to provide help including the city recreation department, the Bill Cole Auto Mall, Princeton Power Sports, Cole Harley-Havidson, Cole Chevrolet/Cadillac, Thompson Valley Machine, Southern States, Wells Fargo, Old Dominion Flowers, Hooves, Claws & Paws, Meade Tractor, KICKS Country, WVVA-TV, Suddenlink and more.
“We’ve been blessed,” Vine said. “When you believe in something like Appalachian Teen Challenge, it moves you to get things done. We’ve had these kids working with us for three days.”
“They’ve been working with us and sharing their stories,” Jeffers said. “I tell you, it does something to you.”
“I cried,” Vine said. “This is going to be the best horse show ever held in southern West Virginia.”
Activities will resume at 10 a.m. today with the kids day camp from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at a cost of $30 each for participants with horses and saddles provided by R&M Stables. The show will start at 2 p.m. this afternoon and continue until about midnight. “There will be 90 classes in the two days of the show,” Libby Jeffers said.
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org