Two years to the date after a horse wreck that broke AQHA Professional Horseman Bradley Boyd’s pelvis in three places and laid him up for three months, Bradley and wife Rachel found themselves in the position to pay back the help they received.
On Dec. 10, 2021, a tornado ran a 3/4-mile-wide swath for 200 miles through western Kentucky, just miles from where the Boyds live near Princeton.
After the storm, the Boyds started checking on friends, family and neighbors. Like Bradley and Rachel, most all of their neighbors didn’t have any major damage. But as their network of friends started checking on other friends, they started hearing about horse operations that weren’t as lucky.
Besides two housing subdivisions, many horse farms were completely demolished, and the animal loss — cattle, horses, other livestock and wildlife — was staggering.
“One place had a pasture of 30 head of cattle and two deer that were killed just by a lightning strike,” said Bradley Boyd.
“Rachel and I started brainstorming what people would need: feed for horses, cattle, dogs and cats; rakes, pitchforks, feeders and buckets, fencing supplies. There is just a lot of stuff people don’t think about needing right away,” he said.
“Within 24 hours, my neighbor Don Campbell, who is a Thoroughbred owner and trainer, and I had talked to Chauncey Morris at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Laura Wohler with Gallery Racing, who will get you anything you need, and we had 80 tons of feed and 21 tons of alfalfa pellets. Eleven semitrailers came in with 90 round bales, 40 big square bales and 60 small square bales. We were able to make sure that anyone who needed feed for their animals had at least 30 days of feed. I think we helped people in nine different counties.”
The Boyds basically turned their place into a farm and feed supply store. They had just poured a 20-foot-by-40-foot concrete pad for a new wash rack and tack room, which had yet to be built. So, they stored 10 to 12 pallets of dog and cat food, along with buckets, feeders, halters and barn tools on that concrete pad.
Bradley also enlisted brother-in-law Preston Fowlkes, who has a trucking company, to pick up a semi-load of hay cubes. Other people who had trucks showed up at the Boyds’ place and offered to deliver feed to those in need.
“Then, we started accumulating fencing supplies,” said Boyd, adding that people put their animals’ needs ahead of their own, as some people fashioned tents out of tarps and 2x4s to live in on their property to prevent looting. He says that other horse facilities opened their gates to displaced horses.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen people from different breeds reach out and help one another,” he said. “The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and its members really chipped in and helped.”
Bradley and Rachel also started receiving checks in the mail.
“The notes with the checks just said to use the money however it was needed,” said Boyd. Rachel set up an account at the bank called the Boyd Tornado Relief Fund and that money will be allocated for fencing and building supplies, once insurance claims have been settled.
“After my horse wreck a couple years ago, we just sat back and waited to pay everyone back,” said Boyd. “This was the time to do it, and it was a neat deal.”
If you’d like assist with the recovery effort by making a donation, you can mail a check with “Donation” in the Memo to Boyd Tornado Relief Fund, 10415 U.S. Highway 62 West, Princeton, KY 42445.