Photo by Les Stukenberg.
Originally Published: May 7, 2016 6:01 a.m.
PRESCOTT – Without a doubt, Mary Ann Suttles is tough enough to wear pink – the Prescott Frontier Days’ long-time volunteer wears her pink cowboy boots with pride.
As director of the annual Tough Enough To Wear Pink rodeo campaign, Suttles dons her boots not just for fun but as part of awareness to a charitable cause: supporting breast cancer survivors in Yavapai County.
IF YOU ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE
To purchase tickets, visit the Prescott Rodeo grounds office at 840 Rodeo Drive, Building H. Tickets are $30 per person and include a prime rib dinner and both a silent and live auction. Raffle tickets will also be sold. All proceeds go to benefit breast cancer patients in Yavapai County. For more information, contact the rodeo office at 928-445-3103.
And she is not alone.
Suttles is part of a team of volunteers who have wholeheartedly embraced this cause such that last year the campaign was able to collect some $10,000 in donations to benefit cancer patients. The corporate sponsor and founder of this program operated at rodeos across the nation, Wrangler, donated a check of $2,500.
Since 2006, the local campaign has donated $40,000 to benefit area cancer patients. The money is used to buy gift cards for those in treatment so they can buy gas to get to appointments, prescriptions or food as well as help cover the costs of free mammograms for those in need.
On May 14, Prescott Frontier Days will have its annual fundraising prime rib dinner and silent and live auction event in the Danny Freeman Building on the Prescott Rodeo Grounds. Tickets are $30 per person for the dinner/auction that will start at 5:30 p.m. All of the proceeds from the event benefit this community’s “sisters” in need.
“We all have a ‘sister,’ whether they’re a cousin, a relative or a friend,” said Suttles, a more than four-decade Prescott resident and civic leader. “Breast cancer is out there, and it’s raging, so anything we can do locally is a real plus. Everything goes to patients who are in some type of treatment, remission, or just need a mammogram. It all stays here.”
Suttles and her first-year Chairman Denine Graff said this is a not-to-be missed event, a delicious meal pared with a fun auction of items donated by generous community businesses.
Suttles and Graff said the cause is one that has touched so many that not one business they approached refused contributing to the effort.
On June 29, the second night of the Prescott Frontier Days’ Worldest Oldest Rodeo, all of the cowboys will be wearing pink and the rodeo’s Tough Enough To Wear Pink volunteers will man a booth to collect donations as well as sell a variety of Wrangler pink merchandise with proceeds to benefit the cause.
“They just won’t tell me no,” Suttles said of participating businesses and visitors to the rodeo booth.
“Someone you know has had breast cancer.”
For the fundraiser, local morning radio personality Ken Byers will be a repeat volunteer auctioneer. His dynamic approach to enticing the crowd into bidding on items a true gift to the effort, Suttles said.
The silent auction will include more than 50 items that range from gift certificates and gift baskets to tickets for concerts and sporting events. The Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary donated a one-year membership.
Local jewelers have donated a diamond necklace and a dinner ring, Suttles said.
Graff noted that there will also be raffles sales to win the prize of either custom made men’s’ or women’s cowboy boots or a leather jacket.
And guests are encouraged to wear something pink.
This whole event is about “giving cancer the boot,” Graff said, noting her involvement has proved a personal reward as she encounters so many impacted by cancer who want to reach out to make a difference.
She and Suttles encourage folks to visit the rodeo office to buy their tickets soon – there are only 25 left.
“It’s going to be a great time,” Graff said.