By Jessica Jones
For the Independent
Last year, STARS air ambulance reported flying 13 missions to Stettler alone, making the Battle River Ride for STARS a necessity, organizers say.
In its 11th year, the annual Battle River Ride for STARS is a horse trail ride event on July 13th, which raises funds vital for the STARS funding model.
“I always say that STARS is an unwanted necessity,” said Henry Thomas, president of the Battle River Ride for STARS.
“You don’t want to have to use STARS but if you ever needed it, they are going to be there; that is why I think this is so important,” he said.
The Battle River Ride for STARS is a 14-mile, easy to moderate, five-hour trail ride made up of 120 to 130 horse riders who collect pledges for STARS.
The scenic trail, on private land, follows rolling hills along the Battle River, eight miles west of Brownfield — a hamlet about an hour east of Settler.
“It is an absolutely incredible view,” said STARS Development Officer of Events, Sheyanne Crouse, who is in her second year working with the Battle River Ride for STARS.
“I was blown away by how gorgeous it was last year and I’m excited to be a part of the ride this year.
“It’s events like these that make a difference for patients, families, friends and their communities that are affected.
“Because of events like the Battle River Ride for STARS, we get to be there for the next patient,” Crouse said.
Between April 1st, 2018 to March 3rd, 2019, the STARS’ reporting year, Crouse said there were 13 missions to Stettler. An average flight, she says, costs $5,400 per patient.
“That is $70,000 in Stettler alone,” she said.
“And because of our unique funding model in Alberta, a patient doesn’t ever have to pay,” Crouse said, further noting that Alberta Health Services funds 20 per cent, while events, sales, and fundraisers fund the other 80 per cent.
The Battle River Trail Ride is $45 per rider and features a hot supper, door prizes and silent auction. The rider fee is waived if pledges of over $75 are received.
Camping on site is available should the rider wish to spend the night.
Those interested taking part in the ride should register before July 1st.
This year Thomas hopes the event reaches its goal of raising $30,000 for STARS.
“The closest to reaching that goal was four years ago when we raised close to $27,000,” he said.
For more information, or to register for the Ride, contact the Battle River Ride for STARS through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 403-741-5092.