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Christmas the cowboy way kicks off this weekend

“Cowboy” Ken Pyle is wasting no time in getting into the Christmas spirit this year.

Pyle is organizing a Cowboy Days trail ride/pancake breakfast beginning tomorrow at 8 a.m. at the Maverick Saloon &Dance Hall on 340 E. Mesquite Ave.

The 3rd annual event is open to both riders and non-riders while proceeds will benefit “Christmas the Cowboy Way” organization, dedicated to providing a meaningful Christmas to the valley’s less fortunate.

Gifts for kids and a holiday dinner is all part of the program.

Pyle said riders pay $20 for the entire day of events and activities, including a barbecue dinner later that afternoon. Non-riders may also take part for a nominal fee.

“People can just show up because we will have a bunch of vendors outside at the Maverick so nobody has to go in the bar. One lady and her husband will have a petting zoo set up with miniature horses for the kids. Another lady is bringing her pony and cart for pony rides. We will also have 50/50 drawings,” he said.

On Sunday, the event will kick off at 10 a.m. with arts and crafts.

Pyle also said that there is still plenty of room for other area vendors who are interested in joining in.

“If someone wants to be a vendor they can just show up. So far I have 12, but I still have room for quite a few more. I handpicked every one of them so the different vendors are not in competition with one another. Each vendor has something unique and different,” he said.

Pyle said folks can also enjoy the musical stylings of Tony Larson &Single Action .44 for listening and dancing.

“The band will start at noon and play throughout the day and I have some guest singers who will jump in there now and then. This is something for the whole family to come out and enjoy,” he said.

In 2012, Pyle and his fellow cowboys and cowgirls fed 38 local families. This year he expects to surpass that total.

“Out of the 38 families, we provided toys for 64 kids and each one of them had four gifts apiece. A lot of that came from people buying gifts and dropping them into our Christmas box. The families received a complete Christmas dinner right down to the 20-pound turkey and a pie. Of course they have to take the turkey home and cook it,” he said.

Pyle also said the event came about almost 10 years ago when he met some local families who were experiencing a difficult time financially.

His actions were done surreptitiously.

“I was making pretty good money at the time so I found out what their needs were and on Christmas Eve I would go and drop off a box of food and a couple of toys for the kids on the doorstep, ring the doorbell and take off. We did without letting news media know. Back then it was just 12 families and it has since grown and it just blew up. There were too many requests for me to handle alone so I formed the organization so together, we could help more families. The good people with the Pahrump Valley Trail Riders also started the “Saddleback Santa Claus” and joined up with me and it has helped out greatly,” he said.

The ride itself will begin at the Maverick where the riders will eventually head due west into the desert.

The ride, Pyle said will run roughly three hours and is designed for riders of all skill levels.

“We have very qualified horseback people who can take care of the ones who may be just starting out,” he said.

He suggested that deep down, he is a softy. “I’m a bachelor and I have my big kids that are 1,200 pounds and that’s my family but there is no greater feeling and no amount of money could ever satisfy the feeling when you’re standing in front of an audience of kids and one kid in the group sees Santa, then the whole group sees him. They all have smiling faces and even the parents light up. There’s nothing like that in the world,” he said.

Pyle is also taking donations of unwrapped toys at the event.

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