Pink floods Eagle Friday
EAGLE – No, that blur of pink isn’t the Energizer bunny – it’s a cowboy trying to stay on top of a fast-moving animal. It’s that time of year again when hardy folk prove they’re Tough Enough to Wear Pink at the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo.The theme is to raise cancer awareness and benefit cancer care and research in communities hosting the event. “Tough Enough to Wear Pink is a way to reach the public in a different way,” said Laurie Asmussen, event coordinator.The pro rodeo events will start at 8 p.m. Friday at the Eagle County Fairgrounds rodeo arena. Admission for ages 13 and up is $16; children 6 to 12 and senior citizens cost $10; and children 5 and under are free.The event will help Vail Valley Medical Center and Shaw Regional Cancer Center purchase some new equipment – a prone stereotactic biopsy table.The concept of cowboys wearing pink has spread rapidly since it began at the 2004 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. That event was big, and the idea of getting the ‘boys to wear pink was last-minute, according to the story at http://www.toughenoughtowearpink.com The idea came to breast cancer survivor Terry Wheatley three weeks before the Las Vegas event. She wanted to bring professional rodeo and the Western community together in the fight against breast cancer. The story goes that Terry thought, “What if, on one night of rodeo’s greatest spectacle, the competitors could be convinced to wear pink shirts? (Pink wasn’t) a color normally associated with rugged events such as bull riding and steer wrestling, but that was the point. That was how to make a statement. (It) was broadcast on national television, no less. All she had to do was make it happen.”But how to make it happen was a toughie to figure out. There was extra time constraint because Wrangler – the clothing company that ultimately provided the pink shirts and is now the event sponsor – had to put in a rush order for 200 shirts.Terry’s son, Wade, was a team roping finalist at the finals that year, which helped.”I gladly accepted the challenge in support of my mom, but I sure couldn’t predict what the others would do. After all, it was a pink shirt,” Wade said, as quoted in the website’s story.”And (Wade) might very well have been the only cowboy wearing (a pink shirt) that night,” the story continues. “He wasn’t sure – nobody was – if the world’s toughest cowboys would rally to the cause. Would they be Tough Enough to Wear Pink? That question was answered once and for all as the competitors and spectators turned the Thomas & Mack Arena into a sea of pink that night.”Since its inception, the website reports that Tough Enough to Wear Pink has raised more than $5 million for breast cancer charities and most of that money stays in each community that participates. Products sold on the TETWP website, such as wine and clothing, also help earn money for the cause.Today, people in Eagle County can witness the campaign continue to bloom like a pink cactus flower.