Thirty-one years ago, a group of rodeo wives got together at the National Finals Rodeo and had a luncheon.
What started as an opportunity for communion has now turned into a community and is one of the most highly anticipated events held during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The Pro Rodeo League of Women started because of that luncheon and hosts a luncheon to raise money for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.
Now held at the South Point Hotel and Casino, this year’s event added $80,000 to the Crisis Fund which goes directly to the support of injured rodeo athletes. Established as a non-profit corporation in 1990, the fund has distributed over $80 million to over 1,200 athletes.
There are several things that make the style show a great event. Tickets are purchased with 100% of the proceeds going back to the fund thanks to wonderful food and facilities generously donated by the Gaughan family and the South Point.
Fashions were provided by Wrangler and Rock & Roll Denim. Models were none other than NFR contestants and wives of first-time qualifiers or newlyweds. Many of those women come back after modeling and support the organization by volunteering.
The Justin Boot company is a huge supporter of the fund partnering with the PRCA and WPRA and providing administrative support so that 100% of donations go directly to the fund. The Justin Sportsmedicine Team is the first line of defense for rodeo contestants, then when one gets hurt, the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund becomes the first line of offense.
Tickets are sold for drawings of hundreds of gifts donated by vendors at the various gift shows, and individual donors. A silent and live auction with more donations raises even more money. And while it is all for a great cause the real reward is the great time that is had by the participants.
Saddle bronc riders Jacobs and Sterling Crawley have become stars at the event and patrons never know what they are going to do to entertain.
“It’s a great cause and something that is very close to our hearts,” Jacobs, the 2015 world champion said. “We get so busy when we are out here, but this is something we need to make time for. As contestants we always hope we don’t need to fill out an application for the Crisis Fund, but it’s great knowing they are there and can help.”
Sharon Shoulders, wife of the late Jim Shoulders was one of the original women who went to the luncheon. She has made it a tradition to attend every luncheon since then. She was recognized by hosts Pam Minick and Sharon Camarillo.
John Harrison got out of his clown barrel and makeup to help with the drawings and helped as his wife, Carla, auctioned off items. As soon as it was over, they were headed back to get ready for the rodeo where he will be back in the arena.
It’s a few hours to pencil into a busy NFR schedule, but it’s filled with fun fellowship and good works.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” Sharon Shoulders commented. We couldn’t agree more.