Western Wishes :: Making A Difference One Wish At A Time
Written By: Martha Northwick
The snow is flying and "Deck The Halls" is playing on the radio. It’s time for Holiday shopping! Are you looking for a new and creative idea for Christmas? Well I’ve got one for you! Recently I sat down with Rex Kent the founder of the Midwest Chapter of Western Wishes.  Want to help make a child’s wish come true? Well Rex can help you!

What is Western Wishes?

Western Wishes is a nationally award winning, non-profit organization that grants wishes to children and young adults who are faced with an adversity in their life, who love and live by the Western way of life.

For those of you who have not met Rex Kent he is a true cowboy. As the President of Trail Riders Saddle Club of Woodbury Minnesota for the past 2 years, Rex can run a WSCA horse show one minute while scooping poop, helping with 4-H horse camp and riding his own horse. He has been involved with horses all of his life. After taking a hiatus he and his family got back into the Western way of life 6 years ago.

Rex along with his wife Jenifer and daughter Samantha decided as a family to start the Midwest chapter of Western wishes in December of 2009 after meeting a special little girl.  As you can tell Rex and his family are busier then most. So what made him want to start the Midwest Chapter of Western Wishes? I asked him:  

Several years ago through Jenifer’s work, we were told about a little girl fighting cancer that loved horses, her name was Emma. We invited her and her family out to ride our horses and we immediately fell in love with her. In July of 2009, I was watching the Chris Cox Show and he briefly mentioned Western Wishes.

I contacted Donnalyn Quintana (Founder) to try to get a wish granted for Emma; to go to a National Rodeo event, because Emma loves rodeo. Western Wishes was so inviting and so excited to help Emma, and because of her cancer treatments and general health, our plans kept changing.

 In August 2009, we took Emma to meet Chris Cox at a clinic in Cannon Falls. That’s where Emma fell in love with “her Chris”, her “Texas Cowboy”.  The more I researched Western Wishes and the more I spoke with Donnalyn, the more I knew that this was something I wanted to be involved in.

That December, we went to the NFR and met Donnalyn. It was cemented then, that we would start a chapter in the Midwest. In March of 2010, we took Emma to Texas for her wish. We went to Chris Cox’s ranch and she taped his RFD TV show with him. That 30 minute show made Emma the national face for Western Wishes and the foundation of our chapter was set.

Since then, Emma is still the face of our journey and we have been blessed with so many wonderful people stepping in to help. We are committed to this program and cannot imagine any greater cause for the children that inspire us. Western Wishes is not a grant-a-wish-and-walk program. We stay involved, stay in contact with these families and they become part of our family.

Rex and Jenifer’s passion for Western Wishes is catching. After sitting down with them for just a few minutes, you will be ready to volunteer to make a child’s wish come true. Personally I have been involved with the Midwest Chapter since this summer.

Western Wishes is an amazing organization and eHorseHotline.com and Quick Draw Solutions are proud to be involved with the Midwest’s chapter. Check out more about this great organization here: http://www.westernwishesmidwest.org/

As for upcoming events you can be apart of Rex had this to say:

We are working on several events for 2011. We will have our second annual Dash for Dreams Barrel Jackpot in July or August. Last year we were able to raise over $8,000.00 for Western Wishes!  We are also looking to expand by holding events in Iowa and Wisconsin. 

Our biggest hope is to secure a local arena in order to have weekly fun shows throughout the summer and will also hold a fall banquet. I have been in touch with several other associations for events such as cutting, roping, general horse shows and of course rodeos. We will also be working with Children’s hospitals and riding organizations to spread goodwill and awareness.

As a national organization, we will be bringing past and present wish kids to the NFR in December to celebrate our 15th Anniversary. We will be bringing one, possibly two kids and their families from our chapter. We are looking for sponsors to help deflate the costs. Donations will beput towards their flights, meals and our Heart of the West Banquet. All donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated.

As this holiday season approaches Western Wishes presents us with a creative gift idea. The Midwest Chapter will be working with the founding chapter to bring kids past and present to the NFR. It’s easy to make a kids wish come true! Take a look at the Western Wishes website for details: http://www.westernwishesmidwest.org/

I asked Rex for any parting words this is what he had to say:

Our family has been truly blessed and Western Wishes is something that transcends passion for us. It has become our way of life. These children are without a doubt the heroes of our program. Their courage, strength and faith are so inspiring; truly the cornerstones of what we stand for. I have said it a hundred times: “They do so much more for us than we will ever do for them”.

As Rex said this December, Western Wishes will be celebrating it’s 15th birthday.  Take a look at their website to donate or volunteer to help make a cowboy or cowgirl’s wish come true! http://www.westernwishesmidwest.org/

What It's All About...Meet The Kids We Helped In 2010!