With a small crowd and big smiles, Harry Green, Keagan Stroop, and Troy Hennes presented the Sletten Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society with checks for $10,000 Friday afternoon.
Earlier this year, the three college students from Belt rode horses across the state to raise money to help fight cancer.
The trio has come a long way: "Originally, it was going to be about 500 miles across the state of Montana from south to north,” Green explained.
Their journey ended up being closer to 600 miles, and it wasn't easy. "There were definitely moments where it tested us a little bit. At the beginning, it actually rained and snowed on us for seven days straight,” said Stroop.
Combined, they also drove hundreds of miles home from college Friday to be at the ceremony. "It's crazy how much faster it goes when you're driving than when you're riding,” said Green, smiling and laughing.
Sletten Cancer Institute director April Spanbauer said the ripple effect the check's impact will have makes it worth more than its monetary value. "We're able tio update technologies here, able to buy new equipment and also able to provide continuing education for our staff,” Spanbauer said.
The original goal was to raise $20,000 for the institute, the American Cancer Society, and a non-profit called Anna's Home, but thanks to a horse auction the young men held in August each organization is receiving $10,000 and money was still coming in as of Friday.
"It was pretty incredible. I don't know that any of us expected to raise that much,” Hennes said.
You could say the young men are living up to their motto: Cancer is tough, cowboys are tougher. "I guess if there's any message, we're going to go through these hard times but with hard work and a fighting spirit we can get through,” said Green.