Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund
Rodeo can be tough on its cowboy athletes; getting hurt is par for the course and there are no guaranteed salaries. When a cowboy gets sidelined by a debilitating injury, it can mean both physical and financial hardship. In 1989, Justin Boots partnered with the PRCA and WPRA to create the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, devoted to lending a helping hand to cowboys who have been seriously injured during professional rodeo events. Nearly $7 million has been awarded to more than 1,000 injured athletes and their families, helping to get cowboys who have dedicated their lives to rodeo back in the arena.
Working Ranch Cowboy Foundation
In 1995, the Working Ranch Cowboys Association was founded to promote and preserve the heritage and lifestyle of the working cowboy. In part, that means reaching out to those members of the cowboy community in need. Cowboys aren’t in it for the money, and often don’t have the luxury of health insurance or workers’ compensation to see them through tough times when sickness, injury, or hardship hits. The Working Ranch Cowboy Foundation assists the hard working and devoted members of the ranching community through financial aid for crisis situations and scholarship awards for continued education. To date, the foundation has given $500,000 to cowboys and their families.
Cowboys Who Care Foundation
In 2010, cowboy comedian Bill Martin was playing in a charity golf tournament for a young fan named Ashley Miller who was battling a rare form of cancer. Miller tragically lost the fight with her illness, and Martin became resolved to help combat pediatric cancer. But he was at a loss as to how. One day he did a Google image search for “kids with cancer,” hoping it would help him find an answer. On the foundation’s website, Martin says, “I found all these pictures of kids with big, beautiful smiles and bald heads. And in the mirror, I could see my cowboy hat and it hit me, these kids need cowboy hats.” Today, Resistol donates brand new hats by the thousands to Cowboys Who Care, who gives the cowboy hats to children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
For 20 years, Western Wishes has made dreams come true for young children facing adversity who love the Western way of life; it’s helped children meet their idols, ride in rodeos and parades, perform for sold-out stadiums, and much more. The award-winning program encourages children to reach for the stars and get back in the saddle, and has the support of Western icons such as Larry Mahan, Reba McEntire, George Strait, and Luke Perry. It is their mission to put these inspiring kids in the spotlight and share their stories of determination, courage, and hope.
Lope for Hope
Lope for Hope is dedicated to providing aid—financial, emotional, and logistical—for cowgirls undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Founder Renee Kozlowski is a breast cancer survivor and active horsewoman who found support through the equestrian community. To help fundraise and raise awareness, Kozlowoski created PINK Horse, INC., an apparel line emblazoned with catchy slogans like “Fight like a cowgirl” and “Buck cancer.” Proceeds provide direct assistance in the form of gas cards, transportation, childcare, hay, and other daily services.
Rider Relief Fund
There’s no denying bull riding is a dangerous activity, and as Ty Murray says on the Rider Relief Fund’s website, “When you see these guys get injuries, it just jerks their earning potential right out from under them.” Founded in 1998, after witnessing the incredible and much needed outpouring of support for bull rider Jerome Davis following a career-ending fall, the Rider Relief Fund’s mission is to provide financial assistance to bull riders and bull fighters of all levels who are injured in the sport of bull riding. Since 1998, the organization has provided more than 450 athletes with more than $1.4 million.