Country western singer Brenn Hill returns for 2 fundraisers
September 30, 2011
Steamboat Springs — On Thursday afternoon in the small, deeply rooted ranching community of Hooper, Utah, country musician Brenn Hill had a lot of work left to do on his ranch.
That afternoon, he had to take his three children, ages 9, 5 and 2, out for a horseback ride before packing up and hitting the road for a tour that includes two concerts in Steamboat Springs.
But no amount of anticipation would take away from the Hill family's excitement about recent good news: 5-year-old Briggs, who was diagnosed with brain cancer almost three years ago, was cleared as cancer-free in an MRI this week.
"Everything could go wrong today, and it would still be a great day," Hill said Thursday.
A big part of Briggs' physical therapy has been riding horses, a passion the boy developed to help him through the chemotherapy, surgery and uncertainties of his childhood.
"He's always been crazy about horses," Hill said. "He's pretty adventurous and very comfortable with the animals. He's really forged a link there.
"In my own life, the struggle of the music and recording industry, the horses have really helped me along, too. I can see the value of being able to pass that on to all of my kids."
It's not just his own children whom he hopes will benefit from learning the values of an agricultural upbringing.
The two events he will play this weekend are fundraisers for the 4-H Scholarship Foundation, which provides funds for Routt County youths to use for college studies in whatever field they'd like.
The foundation has granted $300,000 in scholarships to Routt County youths in the past 10 years.
On Saturday, Hill will participate in a trail ride and intimate show at Vista Verde Ranch. The ride leaves at 10 a.m., and the cost is $100. Horses are available to rent for $75. Hill said that although it's hard to leave his family behind in Hooper while he's on tour, the places he travels to always feel like home to him.
"The people that support me and my music are like family," he said. "It's just therapeutic to get out and be among them and feel their love and support."
He said that the trail ride is a "ride through paradise" and that Saturday's event could be timed perfectly with peak fall colors.
And somewhere among the laughs, great food and stories, Hill said, he'll "sing a few cowboy songs."
"The nice thing about cowboy gatherings in general is they're a lot like family reunions, except you get to choose the people," he joked.
The second event is the 4-H Scholarship Foundation's annual fundraiser at Saddleback Ranch on Sunday.
The event features a barbecue, live and silent auctions (think homemade apple pie and ranch wear) and a performance from Hill along with celebrated multi-instrumentalist Ryan Tilby.
The event starts at 4 p.m., and tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children.
Jim Stimson, 4-H Scholarship Foundation board secretary, said the amount of scholarship money the foundation grants is dependent on the fundraisers and other contributions.
"It's our goal to help them expand their horizons of knowledge, and then, we hope, a lot of them will come back and make their lives in Routt County and add to the total experience of Northwest Colorado," he said.
Hill said this weekend is one he looks forward to every year because of the cause and the community.
"It's an amazing community," he said. "Routt County is full of people deeply connected to the land, the lifestyle and the livestock. They make it a priority to help perpetuate those values to the younger generation.
"It's truly blessed my life."
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com