Stirling Family Memorial Ranch Rodeo Sept. 24 | TSLN.com

Stirling Family Memorial Ranch Rodeo Sept. 24

Ranch Rodeo Fun. Photo courtesy Stirling Family

It's time to get your best cowboys and cowgirls rounded up to enter the 19th Annual Stirling Family Memorial Ranch Rodeo to be held Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at the Stanley County Fairgrounds, Fort Pierre, South Dakota. The Ranch Rodeo brings together cowboys, cowgirls, families and children of all ages from all over the country including South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming to support Cancer Warriors. The day will be filled with laughter, cheers and tears in memory of those who have lost the battle or are currently fighting against the terrible disease – CANCER.

For the past 19 years, the Dick Stirling Family has hosted this cancer benefit to provide financial support to families that are battling the courageous fight with cancer. Dick, a Highmore, SD rancher, lost his battle to lung cancer in October 1997. The Ranch Rodeo emerged as not just a memorial for the patriarch of the Stirling Family, but, a way to provide some financial relief for families fighting cancer because of the associated costs frequently not covered by insurance.

Over 185 families across South Dakota, neighboring states and, as far away as, Alaska and California have been reached with the money raised from this one day event. Carrie (Stirling) Kelly states, "This event has come to mean a lot in the Pierre/Fort Pierre Area! It is a collaborative effort between our sponsors, the local communities and the contestants to not only provide great entertainment for spectators, but, also, for us to provide more funding to families who continue to fight the good fight against this devastating disease — CANCER! This is what rural communities do best. They come together to help their friends and neighbors during a time of need."

Although the name depicts Ranch Rodeo as the main activity of the day, the day will be filled with entertainment for all ages from all walks of life – from Family Chore Time including Egg Gathering, Grain Hauling to Mutton Busting and Wild Pony Race to Adult's Boot Race and Sack Race to a Free Will BBQ and Silent Auction; as well as, Ranch Rodeo Activities and the featured event – the Memorial Walk/Ride. The teams will compete in Calf Branding, Pair Sorting, Range Doctoring, Stray Gathering, Trailer Relay Race, Wild Cow Milking, Team Sorting and the crowd favorite – Ranch Bronc Riding.

This year's event will feature ranch activities with a competitive spin put on it with four member teams competing against neighboring ranches. Each team is required to have four team members with one of the members being either a child under 16 or a female. According to Brett Stirling, "The Stirling Family Memorial Ranch Rodeo teams are different than most teams you see at ranch rodeos our rules require having a youth or female on their team. We want our rodeo to be a lot like it is on the ranch – you often have the wife or a kid along as your right hand man. Often, they become the handiest member on the team."

The day kicks off with the Long Go starting at 11 am with all entered teams participating in four events. At 5 pm, there will be a Free Will BBQ. The Championship Round starts at 6 pm with a Calcutta of the top ten teams, Mutton Busting and Wild Pony Races. Nancy Stirling Neuhauser states, "We want to encourage everyone to come on out for all or part of the day! There is something for one and all to enjoy! You can enter a team in the Ranch Rodeo. Bring the little ones out to help with Chore Time. Participate in the Cancer Warrior/Memory Walk. Or cheer on your favorite Wild Pony Bronc Stompers! It's just a great day of good ol' fashioned fun for a great cause!" Admission is $10.

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The Stirling Family Memorial Ranch Rodeo is a day focused on the mission statement of "Families Helping Families Fighting Cancer." Kelly continues, "We are excited to bring the community together to do exactly what Rural America does – gather together to help their neighbors when they need a hand up." Every single penny raised goes directly to individuals and families afflicted with cancer.

For more information or to find out how you can be part of this year's event, go to: http://www.stirlingfamilyranchrodeo.com or email stirlingfamilyranchrodeo@yahoo.com.

–Stirling Family Memorial Ranch Rodeo