AMBOY – Ryon Richardson has always helped out at tractor pulls, and supporters plan to return the favor Saturday for the Harmon 20-year-old who was injured in a farm accident earlier this year.
The Pulling for Ryon benefit will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Lee County Fairgrounds, 1196 Franklin Road, and feature a tractor pull, food vendors, children’s activities, a bags tournament, a beer garden, auctions and music. Admission is $10 for those 12 and older.
Richardson, an Amboy native, suffered chemical burns to about half of his body and lungs April 7 after an unexpected pressure release of anhydrous ammonia, an agricultural fertilizer, in rural Lee County.
He’s home after more than 2 months in the hospital and eight skin graft surgeries.
“It is all very humbling, all of the support we have gotten from everyone all over,” Richardson said. “I’m glad that I’m going to be there and can’t wait to see everyone.”
Richardson undergoes speech, occupational and physical therapies about three times a week.
His mother, Stephanie Vivian-Richardson, said he’s a long way from being 100 percent, but he continues to amaze his doctors and he would have died if not for his health and youth before the accident.
“There are constantly things that show up, residual effects, but, like they told us early on, this is a marathon, not a sprint,” Vivian-Richardson said.
His uncle, Scott Vivian, president of the Illini State Pullers – a group that puts on truck and tractor pulls – said he has always called Ryon the son he never had; they worked side-by-side on the track and in the pits.
“Ryon is always willing to help at the pulls, and it’s kind of ironic that he’s going to sit at the Pulling for Ryon party, and everyone will be helping him,” Vivian said. “It’ll be an awesome event.”
Tractor pulls, two events, beginning at 10 a.m.
Food vendors 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kids activities, including a bounce house, face painting, games, archery and pedal pull, noon to 3 p.m.
Bags tournament, 1 p.m. sign-up, 2 p.m. start
Beer garden, noon to 10 p.m.
Bake sale, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., or until food runs out. Donated goods in disposable packaging can be dropped off at the Farm Bureau, 37 S. East Ave. in Amboy, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Call Laura Hicks, 815-440-5599, or message her on Facebook for more information.
Paw Paw Lions Club chicken dinner, 5 to 8 p.m. ($10 in advance, $12 at the door)
Silent auction, noon to 6 p.m.
Live auction, 7 p.m.
Band, Rout 38, 8 to 11 p.m.
Plus 50-50 raffles, music and more
$10 admission, free for children younger than 12.
Find "Pulling for Ryon" on Facebook, or message organizer Tina Gerdes, for more information.