The formation of the Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation (ESMF) came about 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, wanted to encourage the horse and rider connection and the resulting benefits, in the lives of other young people.
The ESMF seeks to honor and memorialize lost loved ones whose lives have been shaped by the bond between horse and rider. The ESMF motto is “Mend them, Teach them,” with the goal and purpose to help our young folks.
ESMF was officially constituted as a North Dakota organization by meeting of the founding directors on April 6, 2010.
Through profits generated from the Neal Hermanson Memorial Ranch Rodeo and Ranch Horse Competition, a separate entity and event to honor Neal, the EMSF received its seed money. The continued support of the Neal Hermanson Memorial Ranch Rodeo and Ranch Horse Competition and many individuals has helped further the purpose of the ESMF.
ESMF publicly honors and memorializes honorees into the foundation that have been recommended by the Selection Committee and chosen by the Board of Directors. The Foundation strives to honor horsemen no longer among us who had character strengths of trust, honesty, confidence, respect, sacrifice, leadership, self discipline, and humility. Our first honorees were Neal Hermanson and Levi Wisness. Any individual that wishes to nominate a loved one can contact Ned Hermanson, Chair of Selection Committee, at (701) 565-2258.
EMSF has been very active in our community providing over $33,000 in medical aide and scholarships. With your help we can continue these traditions for generations to come.