December 8, 2006 -- On December 4 "Are You Tough Enough to Wear Pink?" became the $1 million question proudly answered by the western industry. With the Wrangler brand at the helm, cowboys, cowgirls, rodeos, retailers and manufacturers were motivated to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research in 2006.
Among a sea of pink, the year's efforts were realized as Wrangler presented a check for $1 million to Tough Enough to Wear Pink (TETWP) founder Terry Wheatley. Accepted on behalf of the breast cancer research community at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, Nev., the check represents the combined efforts of industry players, big and small, to raise money in support of research, awareness, education, screening and treatment of breast cancer for the millions of Americans affected by the disease.
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association's championship event and the world's richest and most prestigious rodeo. Showcasing ProRodeo's 15 top contestants in seven events, the 2006 Wrangler NFR crowned the sport's nine World Champions as determined by official seasonal earnings.
The brainchild of Terry Wheatley, a breast cancer survivor, and Karl Stressman, director of western special events, the TETWP campaign debuted at the 2005 Wrangler NFR when one night of competition was devoted to the cause. The event became known as TETWP Night, and a groundswell of support from the western industry and rodeo community began to grow.
The Wrangler brand pulled together the resources of dozens of retailers and top western industry companies such as Dodge, Justin Boots, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Montana Silversmiths to join the fight against breast cancer. The initiative spread quickly as more than 100 local rodeos nationwide hosted TETWP Nights of their own and raised money for their local breast cancer causes.
"The great thing about TETWP is that we're raising money not only for renowned national organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, but we're also raising money on a local level to benefit community-based charities," said Karl Stressman, director of western special events, Wrangler Specialty Apparel. "Because of the 'every little bit helps' attitude of small towns across the country who are doing anything and everything they can to help, TETWP has taken off in ways we only hoped for when we launched this program."
Leading the charge with the creation of a special-edition TETWP pink shirt, the Wrangler brand has donated all proceeds to the cause, and rodeo competitors and fans alike have continued to button up in pink to show their support of the men and women in their lives affected by the disease. And while pink is not typically associated with rough-and-tumble rodeo cowboys, the support of the western industry and rodeo fans was unmistakable as the sold-out crowd of 18,000 sported pink shirts, hats, bracelets and more.
"There is so much support, we can barely keep up," says Wheatley. "It is uplifting to witness the efforts of this collaboration reach $1 million in donations and see how our hard work is paying off. Now we'll charge into 2007 focused on raising even more money for the cause."
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