Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
It is billed as a "Fun Themed Party for a Good Cause," but if you just ask a thousand or so locals, it's becoming the biggest little party in these parts.
Beginning Friday, Stewart's White Trash Pasture Party, located just a half a mile south of Fargo, will kick off for the fourth year in a row, said organizers Steve and Debbie Stewart.
Wednesday's short rain showers in the region rained encouragement on Steve Stewart as he watered down the Mud Bog, which promises to be the site of some good ol' white trash truckin'.
The party is slated to begin at 4 p.m. Friday with the "Kruzin Fer Kids Poker Run" and will continue, with many other events until Sunday morning with a church service by Christian Motorcycle Association.
Free primitive camping sites are available on site, Steve Stewart said.
The party, a memorial benefit for their late son-in-law Chris Albert, has grown exponentially through the last three years, Steve Stewart said.
Chris Albert, 25, died November 17, 2009 in an oil rig accident, according to the Stewarts. When he died, he left behind two tiny daughters, Charity, just 13 days old at the time and Casi, who was three at the time. He also left behind his wife, Natasha Albert.
The White Trash Pasture Party event had its origins just six months after the tragic loss of Albert.
"We were all just sitting out here in this pasture and there was a lightening storm and we were just watching the lightening and talking about Chris," he said. "And that's when we decided to have this party as a way to keep his memory alive."
Debbie added, "And we wanted to keep Chris alive for his daughters because they were so young when he passed away."
That fist year, the event attracted 250 party goers who gave generously to the memorial fund, Debbie Stewart said.
"We had about 1,800 last year and this year, it isn't way out to say we might have 2,500," Steve said. The whole goal originally was to get donations to provide children with fishing poles, bicycles, baseball gloves, things that keep kids outside like Chris liked to be."
There will be almost constant activity on the more than 30-acre spread this weekend.
Beginning after the poker run on Friday evening, at 8 p.m. there will be the Battle of the Badges Mud-O-War, featuring local law enforcement and fire departments in a tug of war. From 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. entertainers Jake Bowers, David Cronister and DJ Steve will provide the music.
Bright and early - for a party that is -at 8 a.m. Saturday, things continue with registration for the ATV, Mud Bog and Tuff Trucks events.
"We have a ton going on," Steve Stewart said. "We will be having some 1,000 horsepower trucks here for the Mud Bog."
At 9 a.m. Saturday, games and events for kids 13-years-old and under begin and at 9:45, the ATV Mud Bog Event begins.
"You cannot believe how many people will be here for the Mud Bog," Steve Stewart said.
At 10:30 there will be a Kids Dash for Cash - whereby children race through the mud bog to retrieve some cash thrown into the mud pit, Debbie Stewart said.
"The kids have so much fun doing it that usually someone puts up money and the adults do it too," Debbie Stewart said.
From 11 a.m. to noon, 4X4 Mud Bogging will take place.
At 12:30 p.m., the event highlight, the Tuff Trucks will make their plays in the mud.
At 7 p.m., there will be a Balloons to Heaven Release. This event is a memorial event whereby anyone can purchase a balloon and write the name of anyone they want to memorialize, Debbie Stewart said. "Then we do a release of all the balloons at 7 that night."
After the balloon release, party goers can sit back and enjoy the sounds of Brittany Roe Band, Mike McClure Band and Bo Phillips Band, the Stewarts said.
In years past, the Stewarts said they offered the party for open donations. This year, there is a base charge of $20 per person or $50 for a family. All funds go toward the Chris Albert Memorial Fund charity foundation, which helps finance such organizations as the Ministerial Alliances at Christmas time for outdoor type toys that keep kids moving and playing outside, they said.
The fund also helps families affected by the injury or death of a loved one working in the oil field, Steve Stewart said.
For instance, in a recent accident that left an oilfield worker near Tulsa critically injured, the Stewarts sent $500 in cash to help defray costs associated with his family traveling to see their loved one in the hospital, they said.
Just recently, the Stewarts have also sent out about $1,000 in cash support for funeral expenses to families who have lost loved ones in oil field accidents.
To that end, the Stewarts have just recently developed and promoted a safety program they are launching and presenting to oil field companies.
"It is a program where we tell Chris's story and remind oil field workers that safety affects everyone," Steve Stewart said. "It's not just you. It is the child and wife or spouse you leave behind. Its basically the things we went through and Natasha (Chris's widow) went through when he passed that we try to explain to them."