Brimleys initiate fund to help Big Horn Basin residentsWritten by Christy Martinez
A famous actor and Greybull area rancher, W. Brimley launched an idea to help Big Horn Basin residents down on their luck. Others soon joined the cause forming a non-profit organization and dubbing the group Hands Across the Saddle. Contributions and proceeds from the annual event, the first of which to be held mid-July, will benefit families and individuals in need of assistance with medical and other types of emergencies.
A committee of Big Horn Basin residents including B. Brimley, Stan and Mary Flitner, Pablo and DaNae Good, Scott Good and Dr. Joel and Kathy Pull manages the fund. The committee will confidentially review requests and award funds based on need and availability.
W. Brimley explains, “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.” He continues, “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.”
Hands Across the Saddle will host a Dinner Dance on July 17 at the Shell Community Hall in Shell. Red Steagall, well-known cowboy storyteller and singer, will provide the entertainment. The band Cooper and the Crowd Thinners will play for the dance. Auction items include a handmade Bill McCullough saddle with a sterling silver horn cap embossed with the Hands Across the Saddle logo. They’ll also be selling a Gist sterling, gold and ruby belt buckle carrying the logo. Other auction items include a four-wheeler, an elk hunt and numerous pieces of artwork.
On July 18 the group will host an Open Five-Steer Team Roping and a Five-Steer Drawpot Team Roping at the Brimleys’ arena east of Greybull, just off Highway 14. The roping will begin at 9 a.m., with entries closing at 8:45 a.m.
“Every penny that’s raised will go into the fund. Red Steagall is donating his performance, and everyone associated with this is donating their time,” comments W. Brimley.
B. Brimley adds, “People have been so good in donating nice, high-quality auction items, and helping out. So many people want to give back to their communities.”
Wilford Brimley appeared in films such as Cocoon, The China Syndrome and Absence of Malice. He was also in Turner Network Television’s film Crossfire Trail with Tom Selleck. He appeared in ads for Quaker Oats and Liberty Medical. Prior to his acting career, Brimley worked as a ranch hand, wrangler, blacksmith and as a bodyguard for Howard Hughes. He then shod horses for film and television. He began acting during the 1960s as a riding extra and stunt man in westerns. Two years ago Brimley and wife Beverly moved to Greybull and purchased a ranch, which they have rebuilt.
Committee member Stan Flitner, who neighbors Brimley, says, “Wilford Brimley has really been an asset to our community. He is a good guy and he wants to give back and help others. We need more like him. This is a great event for a good cause, and I believe we can accomplish a lot of good.”
W. Brimley adds, “I believe that people who can should help their neighbor, that we have a responsibility to give back. If all we do is take, pretty soon we wind up with nothing.”
Tickets for the BBQ dinner, dance, auctions and Red Steagall performance are $50 a person. Tickets are limited at 300. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 307-272-4466 or 307-765-2332. For more information on the roping, please call 307-765-4609 or 307-765-9642.