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January 3, 2013

Saddle winner donates prize back to sheriff’s office

When the Cullman County sheriff’s office puts on its annual fundraising rodeo each year, it has to spend a little money in order to make a little.

It’ll have to spend a little less next year, though, thanks to the big heart of one local man.

Gerry Johns, who bought a book of raffle tickets in the hope of winning a custom-made roping saddle at the 2012 Jimmy Arrington memorial rodeo, was a little surprised when he found out he’d won the trophy piece of tack.

But Sheriff Mike Rainey was even more surprised when Johns came by and told him he’d like to donate the saddle right back to the sheriff’s office.

“That really got me, when Gerry told me he wanted to give the saddle back,” said Rainey. “I don’t know if he realizes how much help it is for him to do that for us.”

For his part, Johns was modest about offering the saddle, made by Muscle Shoals-based Running ‘P’ Saddlery, back to the sheriff’s office.

“I won’t be using it, and I thought it would be something they’d appreciate,” said Johns. “I figured it would help them out.”

Help out it will, said Rainey.

“One of those saddles can cost over $1,200, and it’s just a great thing for Mr. Johns to do,” he said. “We almost didn’t even do a saddle this year because of the expense, but we got a good response from people for the saddle raffle this year, and now we’ll be able to raffle this same saddle off again next year. You can’t beat that.”

Held each December, funds raised from the rodeo help pay for special projects overseen by the sheriff’s office. Rainey said the bulk of the funds help buy supplies and instructional materials for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, which informs local students of the hazards of drug abuse.

Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at bbullard@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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