Lucy and Brad Hollis share their first dance as a married couple at the Buck Creek St. Jude Trail Ride.

Blazing a new trail

An engaged couple used their love of horses — and each other — to continue the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.

 

Like many horse owners in the Alamo, Tenn., area, Lucy Hollis plans her September schedule around attending the Buck Creek St. Jude Trail Ride, which began 19 years ago in this West Tennessee community and has raised more than $525,000 for St. Jude.

But September 2017 was different for Lucy and her fiancé, Brad Hollis, because they decided to hold their wedding at the trail ride. “It was perfect for us because it was where we had met,” she said.

Dressed in a white dress and blue cowboy boots, Lucy exchanged vows with Brad, outdoors at the 40-acre farm where the trail ride is held.

A friend of the Hollises, a bullfighter who is also an ordained minister, officiated the ceremony. After they said "I do," their farrier (a specialist who works with horses' hooves) took the happy couple on a wagon ride to the stage where they enjoyed a solo dance before returning to greet their guests.

 
 

Lucy and Brad were married on the 40-acre farm where the annual Buck Creek St. Jude Trail Ride takes place.

Both horse owners, Lucy and Brad met at the trail ride through mutual friends a few years ago. Brad works for an agriculture company and is a rodeo clown on the side. Lucy farms and owns five horses near Alamo.

Each year, between 2,000 and 3,000 people attend the event, which has become more than just a trail ride. Now a four-day event, many people arrive early to secure a camping spot. Some people host their family reunions at the trail ride annually, and some attendees come from as far away as California.

It’s a good cause, and we have kids that come there every time and you hear their (St. Jude) story and you cry. I hope it gets bigger every year.
Lucy Hollis

Event organizer and horse owner Kathy Moore started the trail ride when she moved back to the area from Arkansas and realized that there were no St. Jude trail rides nearby. Thanks to organizers like Kathy, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food —because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

In its first year, the event raised $2,800, but it has grown and boasts some unusual entertainment, including a Horse Costume Contest, the Ultimate Cowboy Competition and the Cast-Iron Cook-off. Local musicians and country singers entertain in the evenings, and there are special speakers and live and silent auctions. 

Lucy and Brad Hollis walk down the aisle at their wedding.

Lucy and Brad Hollis walk down the aisle at their wedding.

The weekend before the trail ride, Kathy hosts a pre-trail ride called the Buck Creek Iron Horse Ride — a motorcycle run for St. Jude — and a Buckaroo Ride, which includes ATVs, tractors and golf carts. 

Kathy has visited St. Jude and is committed to continuing the trail ride as long as she can. “I wish everybody that comes to my trail ride could just take a tour there. It totally changes your perspective on life.” 

Learn more about getting involved with St. Jude.

 

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