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BizEQUINE

TRAK Lassoes a Fast Pitch

Ranching, Animals Inspire Human Healing By Monica Surfaro Spigelman Rancher Scott Tilley is all grit and heartland honesty with a passionate message about the therapeutic value of ranching and human-animal bonds. His authentic, powerful pitch about his Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids charmed a sold-out Fast Pitch audience last November and earned Tilley’s nonprofit the 2019 Fast Pitch BizTucson and Tucson Electric Power to the People Award. “Our fast-paced world has gotten us away from the basic instinct to work with our hands and know about the land and animals,” Tilley said. “It’s easy to lose your center these days, and there is enormous potential to get it back through our ranches.” Fast Pitch – the flagship program of Social Venture Partners Tucson – celebrated its fifth anniversary in creative capacitybuilding for Tucson nonprofits in

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2019. TRAK was one of seven semifinalists at the November fete whose persuasive performances were awarded cash prizes at the region’s top venture philanthropy event. TRAK was founded in 2007 by Tilley and his wife, Jill, as an initiative focused on ranching and animal-assisted life skills as transformative tools for health and wellbeing. Since its founding, the appeal of connecting ranch animals and people has been far-reaching and is improving the mental and physical health of participants through education, ranch-life skill building, vocational training, community outreach, family events and camps. In 2019 alone, TRAK registered more than 2,300 new participants at the ranch and activated more than 400 volunteers. TRAK also schedules service visits to schools, memory care facilities

and assisted living centers all over Tucson. Hundreds more seriously ill children and their families at the Children’s Clinics are visited each month. Ranching Traditions

The pull of animals and ranching runs deep for Tilley, who worked his father’s cattle ranch after high school and was running horse stables and a riding school until a little more than a decade ago. That’s when he was struck with his “aha moment” that led to TRAK. “I was running a Tucson boarding facility and at the same time helping out a local lady doing horse therapy with troubled teens,” Tilley recalled. “I enjoyed the work and saw instantly how a horse could calm an autistic child or inspire a troubled teen to prefer ranch chores over video games. It reminded me of why I was in the horse business.” continued on page 52 >>>

PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS & COURTESY TRAK

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