Outside a few events, women play mostly behind-the-scenes roles at professional rodeos like the Lewiston Roundup, but a new event coming to this year’s rodeo puts the focus on them.Chicks n Chaps, a fundraiser started in 2008 in Missoula, Mont., will debut at this year’s Roundup. Participants will meet PRCA cowboys, learn to rope, feel the buck of a (mechanical) bull, and more in an up-close look at the inner workings of rodeo. All the proceeds will go to local breast cancer support groups.
“Most of our chicks that come to the event, most have never set foot in an arena or rodeo. They thoroughly enjoy it, getting out to play cowgirl,” says Susan Fredrickson of Moscow, one of the people who has worked to bring the hands-on, women-only clinic to Lewiston.
Chicks n Chaps starts at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Lewiston Roundup Grounds. The $65 entry fee includes admission to the clinic and that night’s rodeo, a T-shirt, gift bag, and food and drinks. After an afternoon of visiting stations, participants will sit together for the rodeo in “the chick pit.” There will also be silent and live auctions.
While women will get to tour the chutes to see the livestock used in the rodeo, no live animals will be used in the clinic, and no one is required to ride the mechanical bull, Fredrickson says. Women must be 21 or older to participate.
The true focus of the clinic is breast cancer, says Fredrickson.
Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society. Breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women, according to the National Cancer Institute. Besides raising money for local families, the clinic will provide information about breast cancer prevention and resources.
“The true purpose is to reach out in another way to women. There’s a lot of women, maybe rural or all walks of life who may not get the educational resources about cancer, and not just women but men as well because breast cancer does not just focus on one gender,” says Fredrickson.
Proceeds will be split between the Gina Quesenberry Foundation, which serves the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, and the Light-A-Candle Program at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow.
Fredrickson worked to bring the event to the area after seeing its success in Missoula. This included not only its popularity but its affect on participants’ lives. A friend of hers attended and was encouraged to get a mammogram. This led to a double mastectomy which saved her life.
Friday nights at the Lewiston Roundup are already well established for breast cancer awareness. The Gina Quesenberry Foundation sells pink T-shirts under the Tough Enough to Wear Pink logo in advance of the event.
Registration for Chicks n Chaps is due by Aug. 23 and is available online at the Lewiston Roundup website www.lewistonroundup.com under Rodeo.
if you go
What: Chicks n Chaps
When: 2:30 p.m. Sept. 6
Where: Lewiston Roundup Grounds
Of Note: Registration deadline is Aug. 23