Punchy in Pink
According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer within her lifetime. The disease doesn’t discriminate and affects women from all walks of life, from CEOs in big metropolises to ranching women in the heartland.
Brooke Cargill’s life has been touched by cancer multiple times. Both of her parents battled cancer, and after a fellow women’s ranch rodeo team member was diagnosed, she prayed on what to do. The answer came when a phrase suddenly popped into her head: Punchy in Pink.
Cargill and her husband had been involved in ranch rodeos for years, and in October 2011, they teamed up with the WRCA. Since then, proceeds from Punchy in Pink apparel sales have gone toward the WRCA Foundation’s breast cancer fund.
“We partnered with the WRCA because we wanted our contributions to go back to our community,” Cargill says. “Back when my husband was cowboying, I didn’t have insurance. If something had happened to me, everything would have to be out of pocket, and you can’t exactly take a medical leave when you’re ranching. Things still need to be tended to. I know many women in that position, and I just wanted to be able to assist them in their time of need.”
Every Friday performance of the World Championship Ranch Rodeo is Punchy in Pink night, when spectators and cowboys don the color in support of raising awareness for Punchy in Pink.
“It just about makes me tear up,” says Cargill, “to look out over the arena and see it covered in pink.”
Raising awareness—for not only Punchy in Pink but the WRCA Foundation in general—is a major goal of Cargill, who wants to spread the word about all the good the Foundation does for the cowboy community. She also wants women to know that the WRCA isn’t a “members only club.” You don’t need to be a member of a competitive team; the Foundation functions to support those whose income is supported by ranching—and their families.
“So many people out there don’t even know about the WRCA Foundation,” she says. “The WRCA is about so much more than a rodeo. That buckle will eventually tarnish, but the community and heritage and the good the Foundation does—that’s what matters. It’s all about helping our cowboys in need and helping our kids grow up to be good hands and good people. We are here for a much bigger reason than rodeo.”
Though some may lament that they don’t have much to give, Cargill explains that every little bit helps. If Punchy and Pink can help pay gas to a hospital, keep the electricity on, or provide food for a family, that’s huge, she says.
“Every year we continue to grow,” says Cargill. “People from all over have seen our gear, and now I want folks to know that we’re more than a slogan and logo. We’re making a real difference in the lives of ranching women.”