SHERIDAN — World champion Charlie Andrews and the Knights of Mayhem signed up to come to Sheridan for the Tournament of Knights long ago. Andrews remained committed but became even more enthralled and invested in the trip upon learning its focus point as a fundraiser for Children, Horses and Adults in PartnerShip Equine Assisted Therapy in Sheridan.
“I’m a veteran myself, and anything to help them or with kids, I’m always 100 percent for,” Andrews said. “When they told me it was a fundraiser for that — I was going regardless — I was all in.”
CHAPS specializes in therapeutic riding services for children and adults with special needs. The organization also involves therapeutic driving, equine facilitated psychotherapy and equine facilitated learning.
Andrews does much of the same back home in Utah; however, he’s not yet PATH — Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship — certified. Andrews is continuing to work toward his certification.
CHAPS is also a PATH Center, and that made the Andrews-CHAPS fit for the Tournament of Knights that much more seamless.
“It was pretty easy to get [Andrews] on board,” said Kristen Marcus, the executive director of CHAPS. “It was like, you know when those things really fall into place and you know that’s the way it’s meant to be? That’s what it was like.”
CHAPS is looking to add more to its operations and that’s how the Tournament of Knights came into the fray. Saturday marked the second annual Tournament of Knights in Sheridan.
The event didn’t go as planned in year one. While the tournament still brought in money for CHAPS, the organization wasn’t pleased with the end result.
“We were a little disappointed with the actual competitors,” Marcus said. “We acknowledged (in our marketing strategy) that last year was not a great show, and that this year we have the Knights of Mayhem. They have been featured on National Geographic and Discovery.
“They have a lot of credibility behind them, and so we wanted people to know that we knew last year was not great, but this year would be fantastic.”
CHAPS also did quite a bit more advertising in year two. Wyoming Roofing donated the space for a billboard and ABC Signs and Specialties printed the advertisement. Marcus also coordinated Youtube ads and increased her budget for social media marketing.
Marcus walked away pleased with her efforts to get people into the stands, but the Knights of Mayhem needed to hold up their end of the bargain.
And they did.
Everyone from the knights to the CHAPS board to the fans agreed that Saturday’s event was a success. The night involved face painting, a costume competition and the main event — full-contact jousting.
“The turnout was fabulous,” said Jeff Foral, a CHAPS board member. “Whoever didn’t make it is going to hear about it and say, ‘We’ll be there next year.’”
“I thought it was absolutely fantastic,” Andrews said. “I loved the venue. I loved the CHAPS organization, and the people that came out were absolutely amazing. They were 100 percent into it. … We’ve received a lot of messages on our Facebook page about the great time everybody had and how they can’t wait to see us again next year.
“Just like the postman we always deliver.”
Andrews and the Knights of Mayhem will look to deliver again next year, a benefit to both CHAPS and the Sheridan community.