Like to rodeo? Like to help those in need? Then why not Cowboy Up For Cancer!
This is year seven for Cowboy Up For Cancer, which is a fundraiser to help those in Glacier County, Valier and Dupuyer, who are struggling with cancer and the high costs of trying to treat that horrible disease.
This year’s Cowboy Up For Cancer is set for Saturday, May 25 at the Browning Stampede Park in Browning. It starts at 10 a.m. and admission is $5 a person or $10 for a carload of four people.
Entry fee for the cowboys and cowgirls participating in the ranch rodeo part of the day is $250 for a team. If you want to participate in the bronc riding, entry fee is $100.
Winning cowboys receive prizes, many of which were donated, and they also get back part of their entry fee. The other portion of their entry fee goes into the pot of funds to help cancer victims.
Darrell and Darcy Hall, along with Sissy Gilham, are the organizers of this year’s Cowboy Up For Cancer, which features ranch rodeo events, many of which mimic those from days gone by and bronc riding.
“I always remind the participants that we aren’t here to win the event, we are here for cancer and to help those people live their lives and maybe even save a life,” Darrell said.
The people they help are all local folks from either Glacier County, Valier or Dupuyer. “We go out as far as our sponsors go, which means we help those in Valier and Dupuyer, along with people from Glacier County,” he said.
Their way of helping cancer victims might be in the form of a check, up to $300 or it might be helping them out with housing during treatments at the Gift of Life home in Great Falls, where they can stay for free.
“It is pretty touching to know you have helped someone,” Darrell shared.
First on the agenda at the rodeo is Team Branding, which according to Darrell, is a “mock-up of the everyday branding event that takes place on ranches. We use chalk to mark the calves versus a hot iron. And the fastest time of getting the branding done, is the winner,” he said.
Steer Mugging is next and it is similar to the rodeo event of calf roping. “You ‘mug’ the calf to the ground, tie the feet and throw your hands in the air. Again, the fastest time wins,” he explained.
All the events are timed, including the third event of Trailer Loading. This involves a team of five cowboys, with the first cowboy cutting the steer from the herd and the rest of the crew joining in to get it loaded into a trailer.
The last event of the ranch rodeo part of the day is Team Penning. “This is a mock of cutting and sorting the animals,” Darrell said. “It starts with cutting one of the numbered animals out of the herd and getting them into the pen on the opposite side of the arena. You have to get three of the animals out and into the pen. And once again, fastest time wins.”
These four events are part of a rancher’s daily routine. “These events mock-up every day cattle work for a rancher. Not only is it good practice for the cowboys, but it really shows every day ranch work done with a horse,” said Darrell.
Many daily ranch tasks now are done with ATVs, which makes some of the duties easier and less time consuming. But Darrell said they do not want to see the old ways of working a ranch with a horse, forgotten. “This is the old way of doing work and we like to see the cowboys of today remembering how things used to get done,” he said.
The last part of the Cowboy Up For Cancer day is bronc riding. “This is similar to the old way of breaking a horse,” Darrell said. “Although, we add the ‘wild ride’ part into it, where the cowboys can get flashy and put on some costumes to make it more exciting and fun for the crowd.”
During the intermission of ranch rodeo events and bronc riding, there will be a candy bar race for the kids and a cowboy-cowgirl race, “which is more a test for the horse and the cowboy and cowgirl riding it. The clock starts when they saddle up the horse and then race to the finish line. It is like the pony express days of old,” Darrell said.
The whole day is made to “be as much fun as we can make it,” Darrell said. “It is also a way to remember the old ways of working a ranch.”
Darrell said there are a lot of volunteers that make this event happen, but he added, “Darcy single handedly puts this rodeo on each year and puts her whole heart into it. I have to hand it to her, without her, this would not happen.”
If you are interested in helping out by volunteering at the event or sponsoring a prize, “we could really use the help with those,” Darcy added. “We also need some arena advertising sponsors.”
To be a sponsor, or if you have questions about Cowboy Up For Cancer, call Darcy at 406-360-4234 or Sissy at 406-450-8942.
“We hope we get lots of people to come out and support this event. It is for a great cause and it really is a lot of fun,” concluded Darcy.