Annual Memorial Day Wagon Ride To Benefit Teen With Heart Condition

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LEFLORE COUNTY (KFSM)- The annual Memorial Day Wagon Ride to Fort Smith started Saturday (May 28) in Poteau and it was for a great cause.

The horse-drawn wagons lined up for Memorial Day weekend to travel over 40 miles to the Old Fort Days Rodeo Parade in Fort Smith, all to raise money for a family in need.

"It goes to a needy family. We started riding for children that have life-threatening illnesses. We go to them; every penny we make goes to them," Wagon Master, Wayne Woolery said.

This year is to benefit the Billy family, whose son, Matthew suffers from a heart condition and has undergone three heart transplants and other surgeries.

Loretta Owens and her husband are members of three riding groups, but she said this one is different.

"This is the first time we've done a big benefit ride like this and it feels awesome. There will be an auction tonight to raise more money and this is going to be a great ride," Owens said.

Owens hopes that here will always be someone to carry on this tradition.

"This is the foundation of our country. This is how the United States was built and how they traveled, so we need to get more young people involved," Owens said.

More than 20 wagons and 60 riders are participating in this weekend's event and organizers expect even more for next year.

The next stop for the group will be in Spiro for the rodeo and then tomorrow the group will stop at the Moffett Stock Yard before ending at the Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith on Monday.

To find out how to donate or how you can ride next year, you can visit the Memorial Day Wagon Trail Facebook Page.