The news stories about Katrina and Rita have pretty much faded from the headlines, but the scars left on barrel racers in the lower gulf states remain. It would be easier to find a penny in aThe news stories about Katrina and Rita have pretty much faded from the headlines, but the scars left on barrel racers in the lower gulf states remain. It would be easier to find a penny in a
The news stories about Katrina and Rita have pretty much faded from the headlines, but the scars left on barrel racers in the lower gulf states remain. It would be easier to find a penny in a fresh stall of shavings than to get financial help for your farm or stable after a natural disaster. This is the reason that two barrel racing stallion owners brought together over ninety others to raise funds for the barrel racing victims of these two horrific storms.
Tiany Schuster, owner of AQHA barrel racing stallion Perks Master spearheaded the effort. "I live in this region and the devastation to myself and fellow barrel racers is tremendous. Getting help is very hard and will never cover the damages left behind by mother nature." Schuster contacted fellow barrel racer, stallion owner and founder of BarrelHorses.com André Dohrn to figure out a way to use the Internet to raise funds. Dohrn, owner of AQHA stallion Zippy Zevi Dasher said, "Online auctions are hot and horse people know how easy it is to bid for items. At our farm, we use the Web everyday so, we figured out a way to use HorseCityAuctions.com to list all the stallions and other donated items online for sale." The response to the duoÕs idea was well received by many stallion owners across the nation. Surprisingly it was not the larger stallion farms that led the charge. Small to mid sized breeders of all sizes from coast to coast responded the quickest.
BarrelHorses.com put the word out fast that items and stallion services were needed for donation and the e-mails and phone calls started pouring in. In a matter of days, Schuster had secured agreements with over ninety stallion owners willing to donate breedings toward the cause. Schuster said, "The response was overwhelming to the idea. Stallions owners really got on board fast. I think that most knew it was the right thing to do." Dohrn and Schuster worked tirelessly for several weeks to get all the horses and items online and the auctions launched. In a matter of days the first bids began to roll in. Dohrn said, "I just knew people would bid. Barrel racers have big hearts and when one person is down others step up to the plate to help. Tiany did a great job making sure that all involved knew where these funds where going." Besides the stallion services, other items like an AQHA World Championship belt buckle was donated by Brad Wagoner, a paid entry into the Speed Horse Gold Cup Futurity was donated by Robin Hoffman, horse shoes from World Champion barrel horse What Fame were donated by Lance Graves and Talmage Green donated one of his many championship belt buckles toward the cause.
As the bidding began to heat up the duo would e-mail daily checking on the bids to be sure people where sincere and honest. Dohrn said, "In order for this auction to be a success we needed to be sure that each bid was honest and that each bidder was willing to pay right away." Within the first few days several hundred bidders were online placing bids for the items and stallion services. The auction was set to last 30 days and the duo was anxious to see how much money could be raised in that short period of time. Schuster said, "I just watched those bids coming in and thought, yes we will be able to make a difference!" Dohrn followed up that thought by saying, "Some of the stallions were super hot. These bidders were really getting into the action online." As the auction ensued, bidders from California were bidding against others from Michigan. "It truly was a global effort", Dohrn said, "I am just thrilled that it was all working so smoothly."
When the Internet dust settled on October 31st of 2005, the duo had raised over $20,000! And, true to their word, the team collected the money fast and placed it immediately in the bank to prepare for distribution to those in need.
Barrel racers that were seeking relief went online to fill out assistance forms. The money was distributed based on need, if the barrel racer had received funds from FEMA and other detailed assistance requirements. Schuster said, "We were very careful how we awarded the money. The person needing help had to prove that they needed it and we took each application very seriously." To date assistance checks have been sent to gulf coast barrel racers ranging from $500 to $1,500. All monies will be awarded over the course of the next few months.
BarrelHorses.com site statistics showed that over 35,000 pages of auctions items were viewed by over 750 unique individuals over the course of the auction. All fees normally associated with an auction were waved by BarrelHorses.com and HorseCity.com.
Dohrn said, "This effort was a tremendous success. All people involved can sleep well knowing that they did a very good thing. I hope we never have to do this again, but if the need arises we will do it in a heart beat."
For those individuals that may still be needing help, log onto www.TianySchuster.com to find out more.