Happy Trails Cowboy Church of Ashe Deacon Ben Cheek wanted to shoe 20 horses in one day and he wanted to do it all for the benefit of his church.
It was an unconventional fundraiser for a nontraditional church.
Happy Trails held a fundraiser on Saturday, March 29 at the Baker Farm in Ashe County to raise money for the church’s annual summer and fall festivities, which includes the Annual Wagon Train Revival and Ride (June 20-22) and the Cowboy Challenge Races.
“We’re trying to put on some special events to raise money for the church,” Cheek said.
Cheek is a farrier by trade, owner of Cheek Evergreens, Little League baseball coach and a church deacon at Happy Trails.
Joey Parsons of Parsons Farms and Supply, in West Jefferson, donated the shoeing supplies for the event and people brought their horses for shoeing from as far as Watauga County.
Donnie Goodman, a lieutenant with the Boone Police Department brought his horses to the event.
Cheek started work around 8 a.m. Saturday morning and was finished with the 20th horse around 4 p.m.
The church raised $1,000 from Cheek’s shoeing and an additional $500 through a tack and bake sale.
“It seemed like a great way to support our mission of reaching the unchurched in our community,” Happy Trails Pastor Roger L. Blevins said of Cheek’s work.
“He wanted to fulfill his commitment (to the church),” Happy Trails member Ann Lisk said. “He wanted to do more for the church and contribute.”
All proceeds go towards funding Happy Trails’ monthly special events.
“We try to put on at least one special event each month,” Cheek said. “I wanted to do more, to give more to the church and do more for God. I feel blessed that I can contribute in this way.”
Happy Trails’ Ashe County congregation has been meeting since May 2008. It is a Southern Baptist Church and a member of the Ashe Baptist Association and Cowboy Church Network of North America.
Lisk said that the church congregation consists of a group of folks who dress informal to learn about the Bible in an informal setting.
“We average about 35 to 40 (members) for each service,” Cheek said. “For special events like these, we get as many as 250.”
According to the group’s Facebook page, Happy Trails is comprised of “a group of caring folks coming together in a nontraditional way, trying to reach the lost and unchurched by a different ‘means of transportation.’”
Cheek said that the next fundraiser for the church is a yard sale that will take place in May.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.