HOFFMAN — The family of 3-year-old Stetson Deberry, a leukemia patient receiving weekly treatments at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, will be recipients of proceeds from an upcoming barrel race fundraiser.
Events for the fundraiser dubbed “Saddle Up for Stetson” are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 15 at the Weekengo Farm Arena in Hoffman. Exhibitions will kick things off, entries will close at 1 p.m. followed by an auction and the show.
Stetson, the son of Amy and Roger Deberry of Rockingham, was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia in June and has since undergone extensive and costly treatments to battle his disease. Lymphoblastic leukemia, an acute form of cancer of the white blood cells, results in the overproduction and accumulation of cancerous, immature white blood cells called lymphoblasts.
Amy Deberry said Stetson’s diagnosis changed the family’s life, and expenses continue to mount.
“Stetson can’t go to preschool or daycare due to weakened immune system so it puts a financial strain on us because we have to have an in-home babysitter or Roger staying with him,” she said. “He is self-employed and has been missing a lot of work due to Stetson being in hospital twice — first with his initial diagnosis and treatment and then he caught a virus July 12th — and every Friday we go to the UNC children’s cancer clinic for treatments. It is two hours away. I have to work so that we have health insurance.”
Last week the family found some relief after Richmond County’s two best-known motorcycle riding clubs teamed to ride for Stetson, raising nearly $1,700 for the family. Playaz Elite and Steel Wheels are known for riding to the rescue of those in need.
The event at Weekengo also involves riding — but the riders will be astride horses rather than motorcycles.
“The barrel race is for anyone to enter, all ages,” Deberry said. “There is a fee to get in for spectators.”
The spectator fee is $3, according to co-organizer Josh Smith.
“It’s free for kids 10 and under,” Smith added. “But for everybody over 10 it’s $3.”
For those not familiar with western equestrian rodeo sports, Deberry explained how a barrel race works.
“There are three barrels set up in a clover leaf pattern, timed for each person that runs,” she said. “The fastest time wins and based on their time, the other three divisions are set and winners are determined from those. For instance, if someone runs a 14.572 and that’s the fastest then they will pay so many places in that division based off of the number of entries, making the first division, and it usually pays five to seven places.
“Then the second division is usually a one-half second added to the fastest times, which pay the same amount of places as 1st division. Then a whole second is added to the fastest time for 3rd division, and two seconds are added to fastest time for 4th division. It’s kind of confusing.”
Confusing perhaps, she said, but still fun to watch. And because it is open to all ages, there are a number of classes for spectators to enjoy.
“Pee Wees is for kids under 10, and some ride by themselves or are led by someone with a lead rope on their pony or horse,” Deberry said. “All the kids get their entry fee back. Then they have an Open 4D class which is adults, teens, and some kids that are able to run fast horses. Then they have a youth class which is usually under 18.”
Deberry added that men and women can enter, unlike in official rodeos where only women can enter the barrel race. The object is not to knock a barrel over in order to avoid getting a “no time” designation or five seconds added to the time.
Exhibitions start at 9 a.m. and the entry cost is $5. Class entry fees for Pee Wees cost $5, Open4D costs $35 and Ladies and Mens Incentives cost $15. Participants do not have to be a member to enter the races.
“They are having an auction selling T-shirts, bracelets and decals,” Deberry said.
For more information contact Josh Smith or Kim Dunlap at 910-464-0453.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.