Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cowboys for Cancer Research team roping raises funds and awareness

When it came time to cowboy up and fight for a good cause, many were tough enough to wear pink. Top cowpokes from throughout the Southwest came Saturday to begin the 30th anniversary Cowboys for Cancer Research (CCR) annual two-day team roping event at Sproul Arena, north of Las Cruces on Harvey Farm Road. The event — one of the largest roping competitions in New Mexico — continues Sunday, as cowboys vie for prizes that include a three-horse gooseneck trailer, saddles and buckles and cash.
Splitting a $7,000 purse early Saturday were team ropers Hecter Lucero of Belen and Sterling Kelly of Mesquite. "It happens this is the year we got lucky, but we'd be here anyway. This is the best hobby in the world. My wife and I have been coming for at least 10 years, and it's for a very good cause," said Lucero, whose father, Pete Lucero, had leukemia but lived to be 85. "It's a good run. I'm here to support my father this year," said Ricky Martinez of Las Cruces, sharing a horseback ride around the grounds with his daughter Paytyn, 4. "This is my first year here, but I've been team roping all my life," said Linda Davis, a trait she shares with veteran roper Trey Miller of Las Cruces. "We have 625 teams signed up for Saturday and it looks like we might have another 625 on Sunday. That's above average. Last year we had about 550 each day," Denny Calhoun said. CCR, in conjunction with the New Mexico State University Aggies are Tough Enough to Wear Pink breast cancer awareness initiative, has had a long winning streak as top fundraisers for cancer research at NMSU and the University of New Mexico Cancer Research and Treatment Center. Cowboys for Cancer Research began in 1981, after Alma Cohorn, wife of roper Kenneth Cohorn, died of cancer. To honor her memory, several Las Cruces residents pulled together to organize a team roping competition to raise money to fight cancer. The event went from raising about $700 in its first year to status as the largest cancer fundraiser in New Mexico where contributions stay in the state...more

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