The formation of the Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation was inspired as a result of the accident and untimely death of Neal Hermanson
at 23 years of age. Ned and Kim, his parents, knowing the important role that horses played in the development of Neal’s character
and spirit as he grew into a young man, wanted to encourage the horse and rider connection in the lives of other young people and
the resulting benefits of that relationship. As a result, with the help of friends and neighbors, the concept for the foundation came
The Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation seeks to honor and memorialize lost loved ones whose lives have been shaped by the
bond, the partnership, between horse and rider, and whose character and spirit were shaped by their time spent in the lives of their
horses. Exemplified in its motto, “Mend them, Teach them” the Foundation honors the respect for our lost loved ones as a catalyst
to do good for our young folks. ESMF carries out this goal through financial aid for medical expenses and through educational scholarships.
The ESMF was officially constituted as a North Dakota organization by meeting of the founding directors on April 6, 2010.
honorees were Neal Hermanson and Levi Wisness. The 2011 honorees: AJ Franzen, Kyle Sperry, & Richard Bahn. 2012 honorees: Harris
Goldsbury, Gary Rindahl & Glen Hutchinson. 2013 honorees: Jack Sjol, Kelby Indegard, and Clarence Jorgenson, 2016 honorees: Raymond
Gilstad, JayDee "JD" Hutchinson, and Alvin Nelson, 2017 honoree was R.D. "Doc" Nelson. The Neal Hermanson Memorial Ranch Rodeo and
Ranch Horse Competition are put on in honor of Neal and the profits generated from these events were the original source of seed money
and have continued to help support the ESMF, a separate entity. Also, the generous support of many other individuals has helped in
furthering the ESMF purpose. This memorial ranch rodeo and ranch horse competition, with the blessing of those putting it on, have
allowed the ESMF the opportunity by which we are publicly honoring and memorializing new honorees into the foundation. Honorees have
been recommended by the selection committee and chosen by the Board of Directors.
There has been approximately $51,500 in medical
aid and scholarships given out since the foundations inception. Scholarship applications can be obtained by contacting Kim Hermanson;
awards committee chairman. The website for information about the ESMF is www.emptysaddlememorial.com
. We as Directors welcome and
encourage any and all questions or thoughts you might have regarding the ESMF.
The ESMF has been established to honor horsemen no
longer among us. The time spent with their horses instilled character strengths in them that we all admire. Trust, confidence, respect,
humility, sacrifice, leadership, and self discipline are some of the strengths acquired and admired. It is our hope these strengths
will be aspired to by our youth. The honorees inducted into the foundation will be continually recognized as assets are generated
for scholarships and medical financial aid for area youth.
Apply for Scholarships, Apply for Medical Aid
, Memorials Received, Scholarship
Recipients, Medical Recipients,