“We’re all here to help you, let’s go have a ride”: How McLeod’s Population Will Reach More than 1,000 this Weekend

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An eastern North Dakota town with a small population will be home to over 1,000 this weekend.

KVRR’s Sarah Brechbill finds out what makes this weekend so special.
For a town with just two bars and not even a gas station, McLeod, North Dakota is drawing people from across the state and beyond.

That is people…and horses.
Meet Fiona.

She’s one of 300 other horses embarking on a 15 mile trail ride this weekend.

A ride with one cause in mind…to beat cancer.
“The little girl that’s on our button for the year, she was diagnosed with leukemia three years of age. She’s four now,” says Paul Ptacek, Cowboy Up Ride Board Member.
Cowboy Up Ride Against Cancer is a year-long effort to raise funds to fight all types of cancer.

This year’s focus is pediatric cancer and as always it hits close to home.
“Ours goes right here to Fargo and that’s where the cancer center, you’ll go in there sometime and you’ll see these kids and these adults that need this help. They need that wheelchair, they need these treatments. We’re giving it and that’s what this money is going for,” says Gary Bernhardt, Cowboy Up Committee Member.
Last year the event raised over $80,000 dollars, but it’s more than just the numbers.
“People that have survivors or are going through treatments that can ride it’s a chance for them to just drop that stress, whatever, hey you’re amongst friends were all here to help you let’s go have a ride, let’s have a nice time,” says Bernhardt.
And even when the going gets tough…
“We do have a gentleman. He rode with us for many years. His cancer is terminal right now,” Lori Zabel, Cowboy Up Committee Member.
The Cowboy Up Riders keep fighting on.
“He was bound and determined to make hopefully not his last but show up on this ride and he will be in a horse and buggy.”
Proving year after year the second weekend of August in the small town of McLeod is always a special one.

From McLeod, Sarah Brechbill, KVRR News.
There will be events going on throughout the weekend.

A few include pitchfork fondue, a cowboy breakfast and balloon release.