Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
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Rodeo Spotlight: Cowboy Up For A Cure Rodeo
story by Rayne Sherman
On April 18 cowboys and cowgirls from the Mid States Rodeo Association (MSRA) will be riding into the Kentucky Horse Park AllTech Arena in Lexington, Ky., to test their skills against the top notch stock of the Three Bar J Rodeo Company at the second annual Cowboy Up for a Cure Rodeo.
The rodeo is organized by the University of Kentucky Rodeo Team, Farmhouse Fraternity, Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority and the Cowboy Up for a Cure organization. The Cowboy Up for a Cure organization was founded by Rebecca Shryock after her son, Drew, was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in July 2012. The organization seeks to provide support for children and their families from the time of diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Through various fundraising efforts including last year’s rodeo, Cowboy Up for a Cure was able to donate $50,000 to the University of Kentucky Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic which was used to create the Providing Assistance with School (PAWS) program. “We modeled our program after one at the University of Cincinnati because it’s been hugely successful in helping these kids transition back into the classroom and helping the classroom teachers to understand what the children have gone through and how their treatment may affect their learning. It ultimately helps the kids be more successful in the classroom and be able to learn at a rate that is most beneficial for them,” explained Rebecca. Creating the PAWS program is just the beginning of what Rebecca hopes to accomplish in her partnership with the University of Kentucky Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. She hopes to put together two support groups, one for siblings and one for parents. While she currently works to support children in central Kentucky she hopes to expand the programs across the southeast and eventually nationwide.
When the Farmhouse Fraternity first approached Rebecca and her family about doing a rodeo to raise funds for Cowboy Up for a Cure and bring awareness to childhood cancer they were immediately on board. “We don’t have a rodeo background, but my kids are huge fans of rodeo. Our family motto long before Drew was diagnosed was ‘Cowboy Up.’ My husband and sons are huge fans of John Wayne and one of our favorite quotes from him is ‘Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway’,” said Rebecca. Not only does this quote reflect the Shryock family’s attitude in the face of Drew’s cancer diagnosis, it reflects what every child goes through. “These kids are often scared to death of the unknown of what they’re being faced with, but they saddle up, they pull themselves up by their bootstraps and they get after it. They go through treatment with grace, dignity, courage and strength just like a cowboy. So that’s how we came up with the name for our foundation, Cowboy Up, because that is what Drew has always done and that’s what all of these kids do. Faced with the adversity these kids simply cowboy up over and over,” stated Rebecca.
To learn more about Cowboy Up for a Cure please visit their website at www.cowboyupforacure.org or find them on Facebook at Cowboy Up for a CURE. To find more information about the rodeo please visit www.midstatesrodeo.com.