Cancer survivor Vicki Halsey Benefit BBQ and Dance

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Secret Hills Ranch in Alpine did indeed hold a secret, that “faith, family and friends can get you through everything,” said cancer survivor Vicki Halsey. A benefit barbecue and dance to help raise money for her medical costs was held at Secret Hills on Aug. 6.

Secret Hills Ranch in Alpine did indeed hold a secret, that “faith, family and friends can get you through everything,” said cancer survivor Vicki Halsey. A benefit barbecue and dance to help raise money for her medical costs was held at Secret Hills on Aug. 6.

Warm prune juice was one solution that was offered to Halsey when she originally sought medical help in 2009 while in Oklahoma at a horse show, said Halsey’s sister-in-law Susie Vance-Reese. That warm prune juice prescription turned into heavy duty radiation and chemo treatments for cancer when the real cause of her feeling ill was revealed in San Diego.

Halsey has been fighting colon and rectal cancer for more than six years and is now declared cancer free. What remains, even for those insured, are daunting medical costs.

Helping Halsey, 59, a horse trainer, were fellow horse breeders, trainers and the Alpine community. One such fellow horse trainer was Rupert Pedrin Jr. who led the drive to raise money along with Vance-Reese.

Alpine resident John Sullivan first heard about the benefit while doing business in Postal Annex and came across Pedrin while he was making flyers for the benefit. Sullivan, who did not know Halsey, purchased seven tickets “to support the cause.”

Those tickets provided Sullivan and other well-wishers access to a dinner, kids’ zone with jumper, petting zoo, games, a silent auction, 50/50 drawing and dancing. Pedrin said there were an estimated 200 tickets sold in pre-sales.

“If you hear gun shots don’t take it seriously,” quipped Vance-Reese about a skit that a trio of cowboys from The Hole in the Wall Gang performed for the crowd. The Hole in the Wall Gang is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the outlaw legends of the Old West.

Many individuals and businesses donated food and services. Secret Hills Ranch owners Peter and Missy Benker donated the use of their 20-acre ranch that has two houses, a shop, covered round pen, two arenas and a world champion horse named QTS MasterCard on the premises. Halsey has used Secret Hills Ranch to train some of her clients’ horses. 

Kristina Halsey, Vicki’s daughter and a Lakeside resident, applauded contributors like Alpine Rentals for providing tables and chairs for the event. Additionally Danny Mejia of Master Sounds Productions piped music into the air that had young and old doing the electric slide and good old fashioned rock-and-roll moves. 

Others donated food or services from the likes of Filippi’s, Adriano’s, Sausage & More and Mediterraneo Bistro to name a few of the contributors. 

Reflective of the attendees — many in the horse community — silent auction items or items on display included one breeding donated by Missy Benker, a Wrangler fly sheet for horses donated by Carol Anne Craft, saddles with chaps shown by Dave Morrison and items like spur dream catchers. The Old West and new West flavored event showcased the fighting spirit of Vicki Halsey. 

Pedrin, Vance-Reese and Kristina Halsey all voiced their assessment of Halsey as being a strong woman. A woman who has fought hard to become cancer free.