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Making Life Better

A volunteer gives a joyful smile as she hands out free pink necklaces during the Black Hills Roundup’s annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink night. Funds raised from the “pink” night benefit people fighting breast cancer in the Belle Fourche area.

Belle Fourche, S.D. – The Black Hills Roundup strives to make life better for people.

Through the Roundup’s Foundation, established three years ago as a 501-c-3, they make donations in various capacities: through their Tough Enough to Wear Pink program, high school scholarships, and by hosting a Children’s Western Wish recipient.

“Pink” night at the Roundup, held in Belle Fourche, is July 3, when fans and rodeo personnel are asked to wear pink to the rodeo that night. Funds raised through the sale of t-shirts and other merchandise goes towards those undergoing breast cancer in the area.

“We have given everything from gas cards to get to and from appointments, to baskets with fuzzy blankets and socks,” said Dallas Connor, Roundup volunteer and Tough Enough to Wear Pink committee member. “We really just try to make what they’re going through easier.”

Tough Enough to Wear Pink merchandise is available for purchase at the rodeo and at Runnings in Belle Fourche.

For high school kids, the Roundup realizes the value of a higher education.

“College is expensive,” Connor said, “so the Roundup wanted to be able to give scholarships to kids who have been involved in rodeo.” Applicants must be from the Black Hills area and must have participated in the S.D. High School Rodeo Association’s northwest region.

Pink is the color of choice at the Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche on July 3. Through the Roundup’s foundation, funds are raised to benefit those undergoing breast cancer treatment.

The scholarships aren’t large – yet -but Conner said someday they hope to be. This year, the scholarships were $250 each. “As we get more donations, we’d like to increase that amount.” This year, the scholarships were awarded to Abby Fox and Laney Mackaben.

And for those with physical and mental disabilities, the Black Hills Roundup loves to make them smile.

Through a partnership with the Children’s Western Wish Foundation, one special person is awarded the chance to be a rodeo superstar for a day.

That person is gifted with a rodeo outfit: new jeans, shirt, boots, belt and cowboy hat, attends a night of the Roundup, is introduced to the crowd during the rodeo, and rides in the parade.

Children’s Western Wish recipients love the experience, said Mel Schmidt, Roundup volunteer and committee person. This year’s Western Wish recipient is Emma Juelfs.

A mockup of this year’s Black Hills Roundup Tough Enough to Wear Pink t-shirt. T-shirts and other merchandise is sold to raise funds for people in the area going through breast cancer treatment.

A few years ago, the little boy who was the Wish recipient was so excited to get his buckle that he had the Roundup chairman, Clay Crago, put it on his belt in the middle of the arena, during his presentation. “He couldn’t wait,” Schmidt said. “It’s so surreal to see how excited these kids get. It’s so rewarding.”

Giving back is part of the Roundup’s tradition.

“It’s always been about giving back,” Schmidt said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do. We want people to know they’re not alone.”

The Black Hills Roundup kicks off June 30 with a ranch rodeo at 7 pm. It continues with a performance at 7 pm on July 1-3 and a 3 pm performance on July 4. Family night is July 1; July 2 is Chutes for Charity night, and July 3 is Tough Enough to Wear Pink night. July 4 is Military and First Responders Day.

General admission tickets are $15 for children 12 and under and $24 for adults. Reserved seating tickets $29-$34. They can be purchased online and at the gate.

For the ranch rodeo on June 30, tickets are $15 for children ages 12 and under and general admission tickets are $20.

For more information, visit the website at BlackHillsRoundup.com or call the Black Hills Roundup Office at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center at 415 Fifth Avenue, Belle Fourche, S.D. (605.723.2010).