Sixty-five riders participated in the second annual Chief John Wright Memorial Obstacle Challenge at the Lake Helen Equestrian Center in February to raise over $3,000 for Haven Hospice. Event Judges Bess Wall, Ronnie Ford, Beverly Morgan and Darlene Geiser awarded the top six participants with a ribbon, first place with a trophy and the top three riders with cash prizes. Children and individuals with special needs participated in a Leadline class where they were lead across multiple obstacles and received a participation ribbon.
The challenge began with a flag ceremony led by Travis Sawyer, a local firefighter and the National Anthem was sung by Joni Nathanson. There were 12 obstacles in the challenge including tarps, cowboy carwash, water hazards and more. Participants were divided into five groups: Leadline, non-competitive; Youth, 16 years old and under; Novice, rider and/or horse who are new to challenges or have never placed; Adult/Non-Pro, adult riders who do not train horses for clients; and Posse/Pro, adult riders who are current or past members of a mounted posse, or adult riders who are current or previous professional trainers.
All proceeds from the event, which was co-hosted by the West Volusia Saddle Club, will benefit the unreimbursed programs and services provided by Haven Hospice to the patients and families in Volusia County and the surrounding areas. The event, created and managed by his wife Bert Wright, honors the life of Chief John Wright. John Wright was a Jacksonville native and served on the Jacksonville Fire Department for 25 years and retired as the Chief of the De Land Fire Department after 17 years.