FARMINGTON -- Horse enthusiasts take note: A Saturday night fundraiser is designed for those at any skill level and benefits a young West Haven boy with a big need.
No prior experience is necessary for the team sorting event planned to start with sign-ups at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Buffalo Ranch, 37 N. Buffalo Road.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for people to work their colts and young horses on cattle," said Crystal Toupin, an event organizer. "It's a cheap way for those that don't have a lot of experience with horses or cattle events to get that experience."
And Toupin said the event is also an opportunity to get out of the house and ride a horse in a warm atmosphere with friendly and fun people.
"It's a way to spend time with your horse and your friends while helping a good cause," she said.
All proceeds from the event will go to Dash for Kash, a registered charity for Kash Maughan, a 4 1/2-year-old West Haven boy who has X-linked myotubular myopathy. The disease is a genetic, terminal neuromuscular disorder that inhibits the development of muscles.
Kash is confined to a wheelchair and has always breathed through a tracheal tube and is fed through a gastric feeding tube, according to information provided by his family.
He does not speak but can sign and can read up to 100 words.
"He can't run or walk or play," states the family's information. "He has a machine that coughs for him, and because he can't swallow, he has to have his mouth suctioned regularly.
"But with all this, he is a happy, loving little boy."
Family friend Wendy DiGiacomo said that while Kash's parents, Debbie and Eric Maughan, have insurance to pay for his many medical needs, the family would like to purchase expensive equipment that will make his life more normal.
Funds raised in the event will go toward an individualized stroller, a chair and a bed.
DiGiacomo said Kash wasn't expected to leave the hospital when he was born but has proven to be a miracle in his ability to survive.
She said Kash has had a particularly difficult time in the last few months.
Toupin said he has been taken by helicopter to Primary Children's Medical Center twice, once when he suffered a type of aneurysm in a lymph node and once because of complications from surgery.
And an operation on his jaw to help enable him to close his mouth did not go as planned, creating a need for additional surgeries.
"He's just an angel," DiGiacomo said of Kash. "His mom hasn't left his side since he was born."
A slideshow documenting Kash's life will be playing at the event.
Kash will not be able to attend, as he must stay indoors to avoid illness during the winter, Toupin said.
The cost to participate Saturday is $20 for three runs in teams of two. The event will run with a 60-second time limit, with seven head of cattle to be sorted in each run.
The event also will include an auction, a bake sale and a craft sale.
All costs of running the event have been covered, as Buffalo Ranch has donated its facility and others have donated their services.
Bret Fowers and Dave Whitaker donated their cattle and AA Callisters donated prizes. Other prizes were purchased by organizers.
Awards will be given to the top finishers in each round as well as in the average.
Instructions for finding Buffalo Ranch are to head west on Clark Lane.
For information, call Toupin at 801-603-0486 or Kim Simmons at 801-628-0121.
Those who wish to help Kash but who can't participate Saturday may contribute to an account for him under the Dash for Kash charity name at any First National Bank.