Sarah Palin Highlights Fund to Help Injured Rodeo Athletes

They may not get as much press as football or hockey, but some of the toughest athletes in America today are rodeo professionals. After all, there is a giant bull to contend with each and every time out, so injuries occur often, and they're often quite serious. Unlike those in many of our big sports leagues today, rodeo athletes do not enjoy guaranteed salaries or injured reserve provisions. Those who find themselves on the shelf usually encounter financial hardship.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is bringing to light an organization that helps rodeo athletes in need. It's called Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. This week, Palin attended an event for the group and afterwards she posted on social media this message:
 
It was an honor to participate today in a luncheon for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund at the Southpoint in Vegas. The JCCF, sponsored by Justin Boots, helps pay medical bills for injured professional rodeo athletes and their families. It’s a great cause honoring our cowboy tradition and those who participate in America’s original “extreme sport.”

When someone suffers serious injury in sport or any walk of life, things are traumatic enough without financial worries. The JCCF works with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women's Professional Rodeo Association to help those in need. They've been lending a hand since the early 1990s.

When a catastrophic injury impacts an athlete, the fund fills the void when it comes to bills and other financial commitments of the athlete and his/her family. After dedicating their lives to the sport of rodeo, the JCCF's stance is these pros deserve to be taken care of. They have certainly put their money where their mouth is. Latest estimates show the JCCF has awarded over $5.6 million in need-based financial assistance to more over 850 injured rodeo athletes and their families. Those figures only run through 2010, so the impact is actually even greater to date.
As far as which athletes get the dollars, that depends on a few things. Assistance awards are based on the severity of injury, the number of dependents and the applicant’s financial situation. The individual’s involvement in and/or contribution to the sport of professional rodeo is also taken into consideration.

In a day and age when people are skeptical of certain charities, and for good reason, the best part of the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund is the group's transparency. Every cent donated goes to the injured athletes. Not paperwork, not bureaucracy, but real people in real need. All administrative costs associated with managing the JCCF are underwritten, leaving all monies received through donors (and as investment earnings) to serve the rodeo athletes.

In Palin's post about the JCCF, she also added a photo and these words: "P.S. That’s Michael Gaughan and his family in the photo. They’re the owners of the Southpoint Casino, which sponsored the event today. I mention Michael in “Good Tidings and Great Joy.”" 

Along with the tireless work of the Gaughans, Palin friend and music legend, Charlie Daniels is a member of the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund Board of Directors.

Rodeo and bull riding are hardly niche sports. Americans from coast to coast enjoy the phenomenal talents of these athletes. Madison Square Garden in New York City sells out when these events come to town. Now, some of those who sacrifice so much for the show could use some financial assistance.

Learn more about the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund here.


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