Tornado Damage And Relief Updates

WeidnerTornadoRandy Weidner’s picture of the tornado approaching the Celestial Acres barns.On May 20, an F5 tornado hit Moore, Okla., killing dozens of people with many more injured or missing at press time. Several horse properties were damaged, most notably the Orr Family Farm and an adjacent property, Celestial Acres Training Center. Approximately 75-100 horses died at that location, adding to a total count of around 150 horses in the entire Moore area that lost their lives.

Cutters Lynn and Bonita Laske live near one of the schools that was demolished by the tornado. While their house is relatively intact, they reportedly lost their barns, indoor arena, trucks and trailers. The Laskes lost 18 head of cattle to the storm and nine horses. Lynn Laske was the 2009 NCHA Super Stakes Senior Amateur Champion aboard CC Ote Mate and the 2009 NCHA Futurity Senior Amateur Champion riding Stylish Oak Olena.

lynnlaskeLynn LaskeMany Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racehorses were stabled at Celestial Acres Training Center, where 34 horses have been found alive, due to its close proximity to Remington Park in Oklahoma City. Trainer Randy Weidner and his girlfriend, Lindsay White, lost 12 horses, a truck and trailer and all of their tack, equipment and personal belongings when the barn he was stabled in was completely demolished.

“The response is overwhelming. We need everything, but have not figured out where to start. We didn’t have much but it is gone,” Weidner said on a Facebook post on Monday evening. “We have one client horse at Canterbury and two heading up from Texas soon. Besides that, I don’t know what the next day will bring.”

Weidner had earlier posted a photo of the tornado as it approached their barn (see above), and later added, “We left for safety. They said without a shelter you wouldn’t survive. The storm chasers parked in the driveway told us to get out. I didn’t have time to load up any horses, just the dogs and Sky and I left, speeding. Please say some prayers for the horses.”

The Moore, Okla., tornado comes on the heels of another large tornado that hit the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area on May 15. Tom Durant, brother of Jerry Durant, lost nine Thoroughbreds, five of them yearlings, to that tornado. According to the Daily Racing Form, another 15 horses remain under veterinary care at a Weatherford equine clinic. Durant also lost barns, tractors, a horse trailer, stored hay and miles of fencing. Like many who lost facilities in the Moore tornado, Durant plans on rebuilding. Durant has been on the other side of relief efforts in the past, matching employee contributions at his Classic Chevrolet and Classic Hummer to raise more than $85,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005.

To donate or contribute to the Moore relief efforts, contact any of the organizations listed below.

Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division is accepting donations for large and small animals, including food, grain, hay, litter, etc. You can donate online or in person at 2811 S.E. 29th St., Oklahoma City.

• Red Earth Feed & Tack in Oklahoma City is taking direct donations for horses and livestock. They are forwarding those proceeds to the OKC Animal Welfare Division listed above for distribution. Find Red Earth Feed on Facebook, at 2301 E. I-44 Service Rd., Oklahoma City, or call 405-478-3424 

Orr Family Farm has set up a hotline for those that wish to donate directly to their needs. You can call 405-283-2258.

News 9 is accepting donations at the News 9 Studios located at 7401 N. Kelley Avenue in Oklahoma City. Items needed include water, gloves, boots, toiletries, power bars and Gatorade. Cash will also be accepted. News 9 will turn donated cash over to the Red Cross and target it to Oklahoma Relief. Checks must be written to Oklahoma Relief – Red Cross. This will ensure that the money stays in Oklahoma.

• Text FOOD to 32333 to give $10 to help with relief efforts.

Horse Feathers Equine Rescue is collecting donations via their Hay For The Hungry Program, and assisting with feed and medical supplies for those animals displaced by the recent tornadoes. Donations are tax deductible. Be sure they have your information for receipt purposes. PayPal donations may be directed to: [email protected]

• Call in donations for feed, hay, halters, etc. to Cross Brand Feeds, who will help Horse Feathers with delivery: 6203 N Bryant Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73121. Phone:(405) 478-2327

• The Animal Resource Center is taking in pets that have been misplaced by the tornado. They are located just north of Moore at the I-240/I-35 intersection, at 7949 S. I-35 Service Road. Their number is 405-604-2892.

• Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Reply YES to the confirmation text. Your $10 donation will appear on your regular monthly phone bill. Depending on your carrier agreement, message and data rates may apply. Most carriers allow up to $30 per month to a specific keyword text. So, if you wish to donate more than $30, please visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Note “OKLAHOMA RELIEF” to make certain the proceeds go directly to the Moore relief efforts.

• Text “storm” to 80888 to make a $10 donation to The Salvation Army.

• An account to help trainer Randy Weidner has been established at Wells Fargo Bank. Contributions can be made to the Randall Weidner Catastrophe Trust via Wells Fargo Bank, 380 S. Marschall Road, Shakopee, MN 55379 or direct contributions can be made through Paypal via [email protected].

• The Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association is taking monetary donations to help the affected horsemen. You can send a check made out to the OQHRA Benevolence Fund and write “tornado relief” in the memo, to OQHRA, P.O. Box 2907, Edmond, OK 73083. You can also call the office and make a donation by credit card at 405-216-0440 or you can make a donation via Paypal.

• The Women’s Horse Industry Network is raising funds to help horse owners in the affected areas. Visit their website at www.womenshorseindustry.com.

• United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund is open. Donations may be made online at www.unitedwayokc.org

• Contributions to the Moore & Shawnee Tornado Relief Fund can be made securely online at www.TulsaCF.org.

There may be other relief efforts accepting donations, and the need won’t go away quickly. If you have additional information on relief efforts for horsemen, horses and pets, please email QHN Editor Stacy Pigott at [email protected] or call 817-569-7145.