Aug 1, 2017 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterThis year represents the 10th anniversary of the annual chaps and chinks live auction to benefit the Tough Enough To Help Cancer fund.
The auction takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, during the Wind River Rodeo Roundup in the Fremont County Fairgrounds grand arena.
Rodeo committee member Teresa Nirider hopes it generates enough money to rejuvenate the cancer fund, which supports Fremont County residents in treatment for cancer.
Nirider said donations have been down this year, likely due to the economic downturn impacting local residents.
"The amounts of money we raise ... are not as high as they had been," she said. "We worry about our fund staying fiscally intact."
She thanked Fremont County for its ongoing support of the fund, inviting area organizations to help raise money using their own promotions and resources as well.
The Tough Enough group gives $1,000 to each person it helps over the course of a 12-month period.
On average, Nirider said, 20-35 people each year receive funding from the organization.
"So that's $20,000-$35,000 going out a year," she said. "We rely on entities either donating to us or fundraising for us so we can keep assisting the people of Fremont County."
This year, she said Western Supply owner Rhonda Slack donated a brand new set of chaps and chinks for the auction.
"They're pretty flashy," Nirider said. "It's a little bit different style from before."
The items have been on display at the Boot Barn in Riverton.
Tough Enough night also features two local residents who have battled cancer.
One, Tom Parker, formerly of Lander, died earlier this year from liver cancer, Nirider said. He had gone on to coach the Casper College rodeo team and had served as a judge in the past for the Wind River Rodeo Roundup.
The other honoree, cancer survivor Jim White, who works as a surgeon at SageWest Health Care in Riverton, finished his chemotherapy treatments in June, Nirider said.
"He tells us he's feeling very well," she said. "That's a really good thing. We're excited to have him. ... He's been a really strong supporter of our rodeo as well as this cancer fund."
The Parker and White families will enter the arena during the rodeo on a horse-drawn wagon to be introduced to the crowd.
They will be invited to eat with the rodeo contestants before the competition begins, and they will receive complimentary rodeo tickets.
"It's just a special evening," Nirider said. "Cancer is such a devastating illness to have to go through, and we created this (recognition) just to offer community support to these individuals and let them know as a community we understand their fight and we appreciate their strength and want them to know their community cares about them."
The group will sell official Tough Enough to Wear Pink merchandise outside of the rodeo grounds as part of its agreement with the national organization. The local chapter will also make a donation to the Susan G. Komen group through that agreement.
"That's a strong entity in providing mammograms, well-women exams and cancer prevention screenings for women who can't otherwise financially afford a mammogram or an exam," Nirider said. "That's just one pot of money that people can sometimes tap into to get assistance with a mammogram."
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