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HATS hosts third annual fundraiser to benefit those down on their luck

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Greybull – Hands Across The Saddle (HATS) will host its third annual fundraising event on Aug. 13, at the Community Hall in Greybull. The event will feature a barbecue, Gary Morris concert, a dance and live and silent auctions. Doors open at 4 p.m. and entertainment begins at 4:30.

PigMasters of North Carolina will cater a slow-cooked barbecue, roasting five pigs in the ground 12 to 14 hours over live hickory coals. The meat will be seasoned with eastern North Carolina barbecue sauce, and the Basin Riverside Volleyball Team will serve the pulled pork sit-down dinner with all the fixings at 5:30.

Country music artist Gary Morris will perform at the event and at a free community worship service on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at the Greybull High School Auditorium. Morris began his musical career in the early 1980s when he produced 12 albums that generated 16 Top 10 singles and five number one hits, including “Baby Bye Bye,” “100% Chance of Rain” and “Leave Me Lonely.” His best-known recording is “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” which was the ACM Single of the Year in 1984.

Bill Brimley, Wilford Brimley’s youngest son, will also offer musical entertainment at the event. Cooper and the Crowd Thinners will provide dinner and dance music, and HATS will also host a live and silent auction.

Several years ago, actor and now Greybull-area rancher Wilford Brimley initiated the idea of an organization to help Big Horn Basin residents down on their luck. Brimley and his wife Beverly shared the idea with friends and neighbors, and others soon joined the cause.

In 2009, HATS was formed, and in a few short months it raised over $80,000 from contributions and a two-day event with a Red Steagall concert, dinner, auction and steer roping. In 2010, HATS raised $104,000 with a similar two-day event starring cowboy humorist Baxter Black.  

This year HATS featured a bronc riding in June – a date that worked well for bronc riders in the Mountain States Circuit – and raised over $25,000. The group hopes to raise over $80,000 at the Aug. 13 event, to top the amount raised in 2010.    

All contributions and proceeds from the event will benefit Big Horn Basin families and individuals in need of assistance with medical and other types of emergencies.  

“Every penny that’s raised will go into the fund. Gary Morris is donating his performance, and everyone associated with this is donating their time,” comments Wilford Brimley. “This money goes strictly to help folks who need it for travel expenses to seek medical care, a widowed grandmother who has to put back something on the grocery store shelf because she doesn’t have the money, folks who need help affording a prescription and things like that. There are no government forms to fill out, and no silliness to go through. Folks who need help should simply contact one of the committee members.”

The HATS committee confidentially reviews requests and awards funds based on need and availability.

“Most of the requests don’t come from individuals themselves,” says Beverly Brimley, “they come from friends, neighbors or family members. Some of the folks we offer to help say, ‘Thanks, but no. We’re doing just fine.’ Most of the time, people need just a small amount of money to help them get by – many requests are for $100 or less. We pay the funds directly to the creditor. For example, if someone needs help with a gas bill, we pay the money directly to the gas company. So, instead of a bill saying ‘Past Due,’ it says, ‘Paid in Full.’ Several requests are medical-related. Many people have insurance, but need help with things like travel expenses or a hotel room to get to the doctor for treatment. We consider it a hand-up, rather than a hand-out.”       

Tickets for the 2011 event are $50 a person, with only 500 tickets available.

“We may sell out, so don’t wait to get tickets,” cautions Beverly.

Tickets are available at the Greybull Building Center and Ron’s Food Farm, or by calling 307-765-4466 or 307-765-9312. For more information, or to view auction items, visit Echo Renner is a Field Editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, and can be reached at

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