Cowboy Up Carbondale returns for 14th annual celebration; proceeds to benefit local nonprofit

Attendees at a previous Cowboy Up Carbondale event dance to the sound of live music.
Cowboy Up Carbondale/Courtesy photo

Dust off your cowboy boots, and get ready for a night of Western revelry on Fourth Street. The annual Cowboy Up Carbondale  event returns on Friday from 6-10 p.m., blending the rich tapestry of western heritage with the noble cause of charity.

Every year, the event chooses a nonprofit beneficiary to receive its proceeds. This year, the limelight shines on WindWalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center, an organization known for its transformative work with equine therapy. 

From their humble beginning with only one horse and two clients, WindWalkers has grown to assist over 100 clients weekly with a fleet of 24 equine therapy horses.

“It’s a great event and it supports a great cause,” Cowboy Up Carbondale Event Coordinator Erin Bassett said “We’re focused on ensuring the endurance and the experience of our western heritage while getting to support community programs that enrich the lives of our residents.”

Attendees can anticipate live western music, food, dancing and both live and silent auctions as part of the evening’s lineup. With an entrance fee of $10, guests will be contributing to a cause that has made a difference in countless lives since the organization’s start in 2005.

WindWalkers is more than just a therapeutic riding center. Its services span across various age groups and challenges, ensuring that everyone finds a home at the ranch.

“Our uniqueness is that we work with individuals from as young as 18 months with a medical script all the way to our aged community,” WindWalkers Executive Director Gabrielle Greeves said. “We have had a 91-year-old woman here that continually came to groom her horse and be with; so we are a therapeutic riding center, but we also offer so much more as well.” 

With its certified instructors, WindWalkers has ventured into equine-assisted learning, collaborating with schools on emotional learning and aiding students with diverse needs ranging from those with IEPs to dyslexia.

WindWalkers staff work with Grace McGlade of New Castle during a therapy session at the Missouri Heights-based equine-assisted learning and therapy center. The nonprofit is where horses and professionals help indviduals and families with challenges from Aspen to Rifle.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

“We have worked with students even dealing with suicide ideation, so we do get involved with behavioral and mental-health cases as well,” Greeves said. “We even have people battling addiction that are part of our program. This is a place for everyone who feels like they need it.”

The core of the program remains its trusted equine companions. These therapeutic animals play a pivotal role in the treatment process, serving as trusted friends and healers to those in need.

“The horses are the treatment team. They are the trusted friend, companion and the hope and healer that one needs in order to stride forward in their life and toward their goals,” she explained.

WindWalkers has eagerly anticipated this collaboration with Cowboy Up Carbondale. Beneficiaries of the event in 2012, she said she is excited to be able to get the name out about the organization.

“Well, our excitement has been boiling for a couple of months now,” she said. “It gave us an opportunity to go out into our community again and reintroduce ourselves to the community and the many businesses that have popped up in the last several years.”

For those interested in supporting WindWalkers while indulging in an evening of western entertainment, Fourth Street is the place to be Friday. Cowboy Up Carbondale beckons all to celebrate community spirit and give back to those making a difference every day.

For more information regarding WindWalkers, visit

For more information regarding Cowboy Up Carbondale, visit

If you go…

What: Cowboy Up Carbondale
When: 6-10 p.m., Friday
Where: Fourth Street, Carbondale
How much: $10

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