Talk about a success.

The 2007 Cowboy Capital MS Trail Ride “went off without a hitch” and raised $25,000 - and counting - to support research, education, advocacy and local programs aimed at enhancing the quality of life for people with Multiple Sclerosis and their families, event co-chair Debbie Cole said.

“It’s not over with,” Cole said. “There’s still money coming in.”

Calling it an event of “amazement,” event leaders said they saw what they had worked for over the past year “come together without a snag.”

The event featured 114 mounted riders, compared to 69 in 2006 and 95 in 2005.

“It was very, very, very successful,” Cole said. “Everybody had a good time. Everybody brought in pledges, and we want everybody to come back next year.”

In fact, Cole and co-chair Mary Howard said the group has already started planning for Trail Ride 12, which will be held May 3, 2008, and is looking for new event sponsors, steering committee members and volunteers.

Howard said this year’s ride was “the best ever.”

“It is well worth all the hours that we spend when everyone has such a good time and enjoys the beautiful Tarleton State University Hunewell Ranch while helping to make a difference in the lives of those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis,” Howard said. “We are blessed to have such generous sponsors, a hard working steering committee and volunteers, donations for our silent auction, and riders that help by raising funds to donate for research and services for MS patients. Our hope is that the cause and cure for this devastating disease is in the very near future.”

More than 150 people were fed a meal of barbecue, potato salad, cole slaw, cobbler and tea during this year’s event. The meal was prepared by Ray Stone and other members of the Knights of the Pythias, who presented a check for $1,000 to the MS Trail Ride “on top of it,” Cole said.

Jack Hinds, Buddy Davis and Gregg Schrumpf, along with other local paramedics and firefighters, helped The Knights of Pythias with the effort, she said.

Top fund-raiser for the event was Ivan Gregory ($1,370), followed by Stephanie Davis ($1,264) and by Diane Tidwell ($739).

Top fund-raising team was ONR ($1,231).

The largest team was Lillie G Riding Club, with 15 riders, while the most spirited team was the Erath County 4-H Horse Club.

Oldest rider was Ivan Gregory (64), while the youngest rider was Braydan Pike (3).

Kim McKandles of Pampa traveled the farthest to attend the event.

Cole praised the event’s “steering committee” for working “so well together,” including members Cindy Morse, Dana Herod, Marie Davis, Cathy Holden, Dan Delgado, Ivan Gregory, Ken Foreman, Darlene Barton, Joyce Goodman, Glenda Stone, and Debra Fletcher.

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at doug.myers@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.