Riders saddle up for Toys for Tots

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) – Forget the reindeer and elves.  This year, Santa is being led to Jackson County by horses and around 300 horseback riders.

"It feels good, it feels good to know that the kids in Jackson county will receive toys and we can help as many as we can and Jackson County needs the help this year," said Jackson County Toys for Tots Coordinator Diane Vice.

The fourth annual Helena Mud Ride for Toys for Tots was kicked off by the jolly man himself, as he welcomed riders who are giving the Jackson County Toys for Tots a big boost.

"It's always good to help out the less fortunate. Every body's been in those situations, especially in these economic times where every thing's hard. Times are hard for everybody," said trail rider Odie Odom.

"Everyone here helps, and everyone here does their thing and it's just a community togetherness," said Vice.

Diane Vice and her husband have been around horses their entire lives.  For them, using their passion as a way to help others was a natural step, and riders agree.

"It's just a comradery we get every year. Every year it's getting bigger and bigger and bigger. We go on rides all over the place, just for different things. Most of us raise money for something, always a good cause," said Odom.

With each of the riders paying a fee that included the trail ride, meals, and an after party, more than $10,000 in proceeds will go to Toys for Tots.  Even though it all about a great cause, the riders say it's also about the fun of the trail.

"It's just fun. I think I was born 150 years too late. It's relaxing," said Odom.

"It's peaceful. You see the nature. You see the deer. You see the animals. It's just really beautiful out in the woods," said Vice.

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