Wearing pink for strength and awareness

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

On Oct. 26-27, cowboys proved just how tough they really were. The Swiftel Center in Brookings held the second annual First Chance Bonanza Rodeo to support the fight against cancer. This rodeo did have a bit of a twist; these cowboys were dressed in pink.

The Swiftel Center came up with this idea from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2005. Each year the Professional Rodeo Cowboys’ Association, (PRCA), holds its National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev. It is a ten day long event and one of the nights is designated to breast cancer awareness.

The color representing breast cancer awareness is pink, therefore that night was titled, “Tough Enough to Wear Pink.” There was everything from pink chutes to pink chaps at the rodeo.

The idea for pink rodeos has quickly begun to spread throughout the country. Brookings will be one of many cities to use the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign at their rodeo.

“This rodeo will not just be aimed at breast cancer, but at all types of cancer,” said Tom Richter, executive director at the Swiftel Center. “We want the money to go toward all cancer research in the Brookings area.”

The rodeo had many different events to enjoy. There was steer wrestling, bareback riding, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer roping, barrel racing and bull riding, said Richter.

“I think that the ‘Tough Enough to Wear Pink’ rodeo is a great opportunity for the cowboys,” said Hillary Beldin, an SDSU pre-dental sophomore and the 2007 PRCA “Miss Days of ’56” rodeo queen. “It gives them a chance to show how heartfelt they really are about the cancer awareness fundraiser.”

“We are doing this great fundraiser again this year to help support prevention, awareness and education materials on cancer prevention in the local area,” said Richter. “100 percent of the profits stay in the Brookings area. Last year we donated $9,232 to the Avera Cancer Fund, and we are hoping to do even better this year!”

The Swiftel Center wanted to sell 2,500 “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” T-shirts to help sponsor the fundraiser. The Swiftel Center and the University Program Council at SDSU came together to help design and sell the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” pink T-shirts.

The T-shirts are still being sold for $10 a piece in a variety of sizes. They are available at the Swiftel Center Box Office.

The rodeo was at 7:30 p.m. There was a $2 discount on admission for every adult that purchased a shirt. The ticket cost was $12 with the discount. All of SDSU’s students also received a discount.

The audience was encouraged by the Swiftel Center to wear their pink shirts to the rodeo on both nights. Friday night was, however, the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night. They encouraged everyone to come out and support the rodeo and the fundraiser.