By Shawn Raymundo
The J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center raised more than $1 million at its annual fundraising barbecue on Saturday, Sept, 21, as thousands of guests from all over Southern California visited San Juan Capistrano to support the equestrian facility’s efforts in assisting those with disabilities.
More than 1,600 people gathered for the 41st annual BBQ and Family Faire, where attendees were able to enjoy carnival games, a petting zoo, barn tours and riding demonstrations, as well as participate in a 350-item silent auction.
With the help of Chris Laullon, left, and Matt Huebert, Ava Mauerhan stands atop “Merry” during the opening ceremony of the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center’s annual BBQ and Family Faire on Saturday, Sept. 21. Photo: Shawn Raymundo
Colt Fasi, who has been a client of the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center for the last 10 years, participates in the opening ceremony of the equestrian facility’s annual BBQ and Family Faire on Saturday, Sept. 21. Photo: Shawn Raymundo
Jacoby Gonchar gets walked out into the arena of the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center during the opening ceremony of the equestrian facility’s annual barbecue fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 21. Assisting him are (from left to right) Madison Hicks, Erin O’Mahony and Randi Shannahan. Photo Shawn Raymundo.
Ava Mauerhan waves to the crowd at the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center’s annual barbecue fundraiser Saturday, Sept. 21. (From left to right) Janelle Robinson, Chris Laullon, and Matt Huebert, accompany Ava. Photo: Shawn Raymundo
According to the Shea Center, more than $400,000 of the total money raised is to go toward the Fosheim Rider Support Fund, which directly supports the center’s therapy programs, horse care needs and financial aid.
The Shea Center provides rehabilitative programs for those with disabilities through equine-based therapy, as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy. The center is supported primarily through the donations of private citizens.
In a press release from Shea, the center expressed a deep appreciation for the generosity of the event’s “sponsors, donors, guests, volunteers, and the many contributors to the Fosheim Rider Support Fund who made the BBQ another outstanding success.”
The Shea Center’s 42nd annual BBQ is scheduled for Sept. 19, 2020.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow The Dispatch @CapoDispatch.