Collectively, We CAN make a Difference!
by: Julie Baish-Sproul
(Read on to find out how one simple team roping, held almost 30 years ago, has managed to make a world of difference in supporting Cancer Research.)
‘Tis the season to be giving; and that is exactly why Rodeo Fame thought this would be a great time to introduce a new type of feature article, that will continue to be present in every issue that follows, to its’ readers; an article dedicated to highlighting individuals in the rodeo community who make a difference through volunteering, donating, and giving back.
Personally, I believe that success without sharing is actually failure, and that giving of the self to help others is the only way one will be truly happy. I also believe the time has come that we (as a community) acknowledge, support, and give credit to those who donate their time, their money, and their talents to help make this world a better place.
So, for this article, I have chosen an organization that is near-and-dear to my family’s heart: Cowboys for Cancer Research (C4CR). Together, C4CR coupled with New Mexico State University’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink Campaign, these two raised $900,000 cash, in-kind, in 2011. All proceeds were then donated to the University of New Mexico Cancer Research Center to fund cutting edge research with hopes of finding a cure.
It all started in 1981, when Alma Cohorn, a rodeo wife, mother, and friend, lost her fight with cancer, being taken too soon from life and the ones she loved. As the Cohorn family was a rodeo (and more specifically, team roping) family, it made perfect sense Alma’s husband and son, Kenneth and Larry (who made it to the NFR in 1978 and 1979 in the calf-roping, and is still a tough competitor in the Turquoise Circuit as a header), to put on a benefit-type team roping in her memory as a way to help raise money to fight this disease.
So, the first C4CR benefit was held in 1982. It included a smooching contest (they could not promise that there would be no fist fights), and open ropers paid $60 to enter 5 times. That year, they raised a grand total of $750. Unfortunately, almost 30-years later, there is no longer a smooching contest on the agenda. However, there is a week full of events, all helping raise money for the cause, that occur throughout the whole city of Las Cruces, NM, including: a dinner, a dance, silent auctions, guest speakers, and countless NMSU football tailgating functions. While the events may have changed over time, one thing has still always remained the same; and that is, the spirit of Alma Cohorn is still present at every event.
Fast forward twenty-three years after the very first C4CR benefit, and it is the year 2005; a year that, when it comes to the topic of cancer and making a difference, I will never forget. You see, in 2005, the same day I filled my Women’s Professional Rodeo Association permit, my Dad told me he was diagnosed with cancer. There is nothing that can prepare you for the overwhelming fear and helplessness you feel when you hear this news. I never saw it coming, but when it did, it changed my life forever. After intensive chemotherapy, countless trips to MD Anderson, and my Dad’s incredibly strong will to survive, I am happy to report that after five years, my Dad is still in remission. However, his fight has not ended, and the fear that one day his cancer might return still weighs heavy on us as a family.
It is experiences such as these that remind us finding a cure for cancer is race against time for so many, and why organizations such as C4CR, and their team of volunteers, are vital in fighting this tough fight. “We have been overwhelmed by the pouring out of support by our little Las Cruces, NM community; my dream is to see everyone become inspired and realize that collectively, we CAN make a difference”, says C4CR president Kevin Davis.
C4CR President, Kevin Davis (right)
With the help of modern technology, well-trained doctors, brilliant scientists, and the money organizations such as these raise to help find a cure, the medical community is getting closer than ever to finding a cure, and saving the lives of our loved ones; and, when they do, at the heart of that cure will be the hundreds and thousands of volunteers who dedicated their lives to raising one dollar at a time, helping to finally win the fight against cancer.
So yes, ‘tis the season to be giving; and with endless possibilities of how you can make a difference, is there really an excuse not to do so? Just in case you need a couple ideas to help get you started, this holiday season you could choose to: give your time to the local soup kitchen, give old winter clothes to a homeless shelter, and give yourself fully to a greater cause of something much bigger than you. And, in a short time, when the clock strikes 12 (Midnight) on New Year’s Day, make a resolution that you will be the kind of person who gives back and will actively help to make this world a better place.
While I will never know the volunteers who were raising money to help end this dreaded disease long before it affected my family, I do know because of them, this year my Dad will still be with our family on Christmas; and for that, I am eternally grateful.
If you are a part of a non-profit organization in the rodeo community, we would like to hear your story and profile your efforts in Rodeo Fame. Email your story (and pictures if you have them) to: email@example.com
2011 C4CR Champion Team Roper Cole Salopek
|Rodeo Fame’s Fast Facts for Organizations Debuted in This Article:
|Cowboys for Cancer Research (C4CR)
||Wrangler’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink (TETWP)
- The C4CR team-roping is the largest cancer fundraiser roping event in the entire state of New Mexico.
- The team roping event is staged at Sproul Arena, located 8 miles north of Las Cruces, NM, on Harvey Farm Rd.
- In 2010, C4CR raised $548,166.
- For more information and to find out how you can get involved, please visit their website: www.cowboysforcancer.org
- This December marks the 7thyear forWrangler’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink Campaign.
- By December 2011, they are hoping to reach the $11 million mark.
- For more information and to find out how you can get involved, please visit their website: www.toughenoughtowearpink.com