Granting A Wish

Adams County boy’s dream now a reality

Kilzer gets the horse he has always wanted.

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By BRYCE MARTIN | ND Group Editor
bmartin@countrymedia.net

It was Luke Kilzer’s dream to someday have a horse of his own. Not just any horse, but a black one. So when a Black Daddy horse was led into Dakota Winds Arena last week, Kilzer’s face lit up with excitement.

While the surprise went off without a hitch during the Lil’ Spurs Rodeo June 16 in Bowman, the horse turned out not to be such a great fit.

“It was too spirited for a four-year-old,” said Kelly Braun of Make-A-Wish, who helped carry out the surprise. While he admitted his disappointment, Braun said the group is currently seeking another black horse, though they are tough to locate.

When they locate a new horse, a different event would be held to bring them together.

Four-year-old Kilzer, who lives north of Bucyrus in Adams County, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2015. He spent much of last year undergoing chemotherapy in Minnesota.

When Make-A-Wish representatives approached him and his family, it was obvious what he would want: a horse. Through the power of community, he received much more.

Braun said the group used the ruse of allowing Kilzer to ride a horse to bring him to Bowman where his wish would be granted.

PHOTO—Four-year-old Luke Kilzer of Adams County has a huge smile while holding onto his new Black Daddy horse, made possible through Make-A-Wish. (Photo by Bryce Martin)
PHOTO—Four-year-old Luke Kilzer of Adams County has a huge smile while holding onto his new Black Daddy horse, made possible through Make-A-Wish. (Photo by Bryce Martin)

During the rodeo he was asked to step out into center of the arena for his chance to ride a horse. Little did he know that he would get to keep the horse, along with a lifetime of veterinary care donated by West River Veterinary Clinic and a horse trailer, purchased for the family by Bowman and Hettinger sponsors.

Kilzer climbed over the arena’s panels with his brothers and made it over to his new horse.

Several events hosted in southwest North Dakota have raised funds for Kilzer’s family as they struggle with Kilzer’s diagnosis. Those have helped put Kilzer, and his disease, in the spotlight.

“The outpouring of support through a variety of benefits, some hosted by complete strangers, speaks to the gracious decency of rural North Dakotans,” said Bernie Fischer of Bismarck, Kilzer’s grandfather.