By Kitsey Burns Harrison
It was a rodeo scene like no other this weekend at the Lone Hickory Arena with cowgirls of all ages decked out in pink for the annual Cowgirls with a Cause breast cancer fundraiser.
Founder Beth Kidd said the event began 12 or 14 years ago just a small event in memory of a friend, Debbie Burgess, who passed away from breast cancer.
Kidd called the first event “short and sweet” though they still raised around $12,000 to help fund mammograms for those who need them. Now, Cowgirls with a Cause is a four-day event at the Lone Hickory Indoor Arena. Not only are there rodeo competitions taking place in the categories of barrel racing, breakaway roping and team roping, but a plethora of vendors also participate selling everything from jewelry to handbags to saddles.
Participants in the rodeo pay a registration fee, 100 percent of which goes toward funding mammograms and biopsies through a program at Forsyth Medical Center. Kidd said they also have a number of sponsors who make the event possible and ensure all of the proceeds from the event can go toward the cause.
“It’s just a good event and it just feels good,” Kidd said. “This is my feel good thing. We get cards in the mail all the time that say ‘your event saved my life’ because they couldn’t afford a mammogram otherwise.”
The event has always been a ladies only event, but Kidd said they did add a men’s barrel racing event this year because the men have “whined and complained for years” about not being able to participate.
The ladies, including teens and children who participate in the rodeo, say it is something very important to them.
Paige Fairchild said her daughters, Addie and Gracie, said they didn’t care how long the event lasted, they just wanted a chance to participate since it is such a good cause. The girls participate in other rodeos as well, this was their fifth year competing in the Cowgirls with a Cause rodeo. Fairchild, who owns a shop called Becky and Company in Jefferson, also set up a booth at the rodeo selling various accessories and jewelry.
Kidd said she is pleased at how the event has continued to grow.
“I think it touches home,” she said.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.