Ranch hosts cancer ride

CHASE — They may be pretty new to the area, but it didn’t take Don Beach and Diane Davis very long to become involved in raising money for an important cause. Battling cancer. Raising funds to help fight that battle, one that touched their hearts when it touched his mom.

They run the D Bar D Ranch on 64th Street, a bit west of Chase in Lake County, an empty spot of ground five years back, but they planted some dreams there. Built a huge barn and a home. Brought in horses. Hired help. “Good help. Great trainers,” the couple said. “Jess and Chelsea Erler. Young folks from Reed City.”

It’s been hard work. Easy though compared to what was ahead. Learned his mom had cancer. Scary word. Frightening disease. Buckles a person right at the knees. But they got acquainted with some special people as mom went through radiation at Spectrum’s center in Reed City. They learned to love those folks who treated her so kindly, not only for their skill, but for that kindness as well.

“Cancer’s hit our family pretty hard, and when we found out that there’s some equipment that they need to do even more for people, we thought what better way to repay their kindness than help them get it., Beach said.

They plan to have probably better than 150 people camping out at their place Friday night or riding on a 10-mile trail ride Saturday, enjoying karaoke, bidding on even a weanling Friesian warmblood in the silent auction. Those who are horseless can even go on wagon rides.

There will be a pig roast, live band, a “jail” so people can pay to have somebody put in and the “jailee” has to figure out how to pay his way out. Don Beach expects to spend quite a bit of time in that makeshift jail. Diane Davis may be handing out some extra cash to get him put back in.

Riders will have over 200 acres of private trails at the ranch to enjoy as well. And the ranch can accommodate a whole lot of people with some improved sites, water and electric hookups, rustics. “We’ll park anybody that wants to participate,” Beach said.

“We won’t turn anyone away. A $25 pledge will take care of the meal and all the entertainment.” He turned a bit somber. So did she. They showed off some of the silent auction prizes. Artistic wooden pieces for on the wall. A mermaid costume made out of bottle caps. The weanling? He figured that would be worth $2,000 most places. Easily. Blankets. Stuffed toys. Horse halters. A half-canoe bookshelf. Queen-size log bed. Even a dumptruck load of sawdust. $400 stud fee for a quarter horse stallion.

Key times on Saturday include 1 p.m. assembling in the hayfield to go on the ride. Supper at 6. Band starts at 8. Silent auction results will be in just before the band begins to play.

Then Beach talked about the camping, equestrian center, lessons. Indoor arena.

Added that all the money raised will help “local radiation center buy the piece of equipment they need. Said they was about $18,000 short.” He’s asking folks to pledge even $25. “It looks like we’re already up to $5,000 by just talking to people and getting pledges.”

Again a bit of silence. Then he said, “You know, it’ll be fun, but it’s not so much to entertain the public as it is to raise money for people with cancer.”

He knows. His dad died of cancer in 1988. His mom is in the battle. In fact, just a short time back they learned that “Mom” had been scheduled for surgery just two days before this event takes place. Her son said they were told radiation couldn’t cure it, and they needed to remove the lower lip.

“So somebody said maybe we should just postpone this. Wait a bit. I said I can’t do that. And, you know, what happened? We found out her surgery got changed to the next week.”

Beach believes that’s more than coincidence. “As a group, we talked about what we wanted to do to help others too, and as a family we decided we’d do this. Before we ride? We’ll have a little prayer before we take off.”

For additional information, contact the ranch at (231) 832-3143.