Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Henry Netherland

Riding through the range


Henry Netherland, Pathfinder

Nathan and Megan Davis of Stevensville head out on their first expedition through the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range during Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's annual Horse Ride.

GREENOUGH - Horse enthusiasts rode through the Blackfoot Clearwater Wildlife Management Area (aka Game Range) as part of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's (RMEF) annual Horse Ride Saturday, June 12 at Old Boyd Ranch.

Blackfoot Clearwater Chapter Co-chairs Twyla and Todd Johnson have been organizing the event for over 20 years. Its purpose is not only to give horseback riders an opportunity for adventure and prizes but also to act as an additional fundraiser for the RMEF.

"My husband and I really both love horseback riding and so that's kind of his way of organizing something for the community and local people here who like to get out and ride their stock," she said. "There's a huge elk population here so it's important for this community and us personally to raise money for elk to do things like repairing fence so that they have free range to roam. ... [It's] just a cause we stand behind."

She also credited Todd's friend Paul Holmes as being one of the main coordinators as well.

Participants traversed an approximate eight-mile course throughout the range. Along the way they picked up numbered chips from five collection stops. Those with the highest, lowest and best high/low average scores were given a variety of prizes.

For kids, the high scorer was Senator Bach who won a saddle blanket, halter and lead rope; the high/low split winner was Elizabeth Creston who won a hat and knives; and the low scorer was Keppler Karen who won a hat and $50 gift card.

Henry Netherland, Pathfinder

A group of riders head out on an eight-mile trek through the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range on horseback to pick up chips during Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's annual Horse Ride.

For adults, the high scorer was Natalie Huntley who won a seven-millimeter Weatherby Magnum with a leupold scope. The low scorer was Quinn Stanley who won a pair of binoculars. There was a four-way draw for the high/low split among Rebecca Shannon, Todd Adler, Wendy Smith and Randy Foster. Following a bonus round, Adler won, earning himself a new headstall and reins with a pad.

Afterwards organizers held a live auction and raffle during a group lunch which included hunting gear, apparel, art and jewelry.

Twyla said that they grossed over $15,000 from the ride and had a net gain of $13,000, the most they have ever raised in the over 20 years they have run the event.

Todd was satisfied with how the event operated considering they had to cancel last year due to COVID-19.

"I think people are ready to get out and do something," he said. "I think everybody was glad to be back. I think it went well. Food was good. Ride was good. Weather was good. Can't beat it."


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