WRCA Foundation #GivingTuesday

Most cowboys aren’t into Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday. Those days pass as most others in the fall: feeding cows or straightening out weanlings. Oh sure, if they get to the house before the evening news is over, they’ll see the crazed hoards trampling each other for the latest video game and make a joke about how much they resemble cows charging to the feed truck.

But for all the wanton consumerism propagated this time of year, social media (or whoever) did come up with a worthwhile cause to promote: Giving Tuesday.

Now, you may think that the Working Ranch Cowboys Association was only formed as a competitive ranch rodeo association for the real cowboy. And it is that. But really, the men and women who first conceived the idea for a national ranch rodeo championship did so with the goal of using that event to raise money for cowboys and their immediate families in times of need and to preserve the Western heritage we all hold so dear.

“Phone calls and applications come through the WRCA Headquarters on a daily basis, from all over the country, with stories of hardship and sadness,” says Kaycee Hooper, WRCA Foundation Manager. “They come to us because their crisis is real and they need to talk about it and have a safe place with a common understanding.”

To date, the Foundation has given close to $4 million to cowboys and their families from Florida to California. The Foundation’s motto is: “A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out,” implying a temporary support until things are better. Often, cowboys who receive support even go as far as to pay it back in the form of a donation back to the Foundation once they’re up and rolling again. And, the foundation is able to give $.87 of every dollar donated straight to a cowboy who needs it.

The Foundation has come to the aid of cowboys on death’s door due to a horse wreck, families that are stretched to the breaking point as they deal with a child’s illness, ranches that were burned out in a wildfire, and herds of cattle killed in a blizzard.

As the Foundation grew, they also added academic scholarships to their mission. Each year, nearly 40 young scholars from ranching families—or those who desire to pursue ranching as a career—benefit from the generosity of the Foundation. Over the years, those kids have gone on to run ranches, work in the ag industry, and even become doctors.

So as you’re bombarded with worthy causes encouraging you to donate to them on this Giving Tuesday, remember the working cowboy: the men and women who provide this country—and a good deal of the world—with a safe, wholesome protein. Remember the values for which the cowboy stands and consider sharing some of your own hard-earned money with an organization that you can trust is helping preserve our heritage, promote ranching and protect those making it all happen.

And even if you don’t get to it today, the spirit of Giving Tuesday is always a good one, whether it’s Wednesday, Saturday or two weeks from now. If you’d like to donate, visit the WRCA Foundation donation page.

Featured in the image at the top of this page is Shane Henry, whose family was a recipient of a hand up from the WRCA Foundation. Learn more about his story here.