The Pignapped in the Park first time event, sponsored by Rickard Ridge, roasted up some fun on Saturday with entertainment, a motorcycle ride and plenty of food.
“I felt like it was a big success,” said Rickard Ridge owner Mark Rickard. “Everybody loved it.”
Benefiting the Wilderwood Service Dogs organization in Maryville, Rickard Ridge raised about $4,500 with donations from food and entertainment.
Wilderwood has officially trained service dogs for people with neurological problems since 2005. Approximately 20 families have benefited from the specially trained animals that assist with comforting both the young and old with the anxiety of their conditions.
A diverse lineup of musicians played all afternoon while a group of 88 motorcyclists made their way to the four corners of Campbell County.
“The ride was a blast for the bikers,” said Rickard about the positive remarks from those who traveled through LaFollette, Jellico, Elk Valley and back to the restaurant in Caryville.
A police escorted ride up Highway 25 and down Highway 297 allowed all the bikers to stay together throughout the scenic hour-long ride.
About 10 dogs in training, including several puppies, were present at the event. Several Wilderwood volunteers showed off the sensitive nature of the dogs and were able to spark the interest of event attendees.
There were many people interested in volunteering or to help train the dogs, according to Rickard.
“That’s what it was all about,” said Rickard of the increased awareness of the Wilderwood’s organization during the fun event. “It went hand in hand very well.”
With so many different aspects of the afternoon festival Rickard was impressed with the ease that everything was performed. From several tasty food options to the array of music, presence of dogs and leather-clad visitors the event did not miss a step on Saturday, said Rickard.
While Rickard is a first timer at planning large events, President of Wilderwood Service Dogs Tiffany Denyer said they were completely overwhelmed with the outcome and generosity of Campbell County.
“The turnout was better than I had expected and we all had a great time and with such good weather,” said Denyer.
The planning of Pignapped in the Park started about four months ago and blossomed into a giant, said Rickard. However, Rickard and members of the Wilderwood’s organization plan on hosting another event next year.
“We have already started tossing around ideas,” Rickard said jokingly.
Along with receiving a donation of over $4,000, the organization also received interest from locals, said Denyer.
“It was everything we hoped for,” said Denyer as she expressed her gratitude toward Rickard Ridge, Cove Lake Rangers, local officers and the community.
“A huge thank you to everyone that came out to support that we are trying to do,” said Denyer.
For more information about Wilderwood Service Dogs visit www.wilderwood.org.