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9:41 PM Wed, Nov. 14th

Rodeo’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink is back

Dinner set for June 3; ‘pink’ rodeo performance will be June 29

Luke Creasy rides in the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo supporting Breast Cancer Awareness. (Les Stukenberg/Courier file)

Luke Creasy rides in the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo supporting Breast Cancer Awareness. (Les Stukenberg/Courier file)

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Prescott Frontier Days General Manager JC Trujillo and PFD Director Mary Ann Suttles wear their Tough Enough to Wear Pink shirts outside the rodeo office. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

For the 10th straight year, attendees can count on Prescott’s Frontier Days Rodeo being “in the pink” — at least for the evening performance on Thursday, June 29.

That is when the cowboys, cowgirls, rodeo queens, and a good portion of the audience will come decked out in pink to commemorate the annual “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign.

J.C. Trujillo, general manager of Prescott Frontier Days, says the evening has become a popular feature of the “World’s Oldest Rodeo.”

Prescott isn’t the only community to embrace the fundraiser, however. “It’s turned into a giant thing,” Trujillo said. “Every major professional rodeo in the country has a Tough Enough to Wear Pink night.”

The campaign, which is sponsored by Wrangler, aims to rally against breast cancer by raising money for breast cancer charities – an effort that Trujillo says he is “210-percent behind.”

The national effort began about 15 years ago, and Prescott began participating in 2008, said Mary Ann Suttles, a Prescott Frontier Days board member, long-time rodeo volunteer, and organizer of the local Tough Enough to Wear Pink fundraiser.

Leading up to the annual pink-hued rodeo performance will be the annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink dinner, which will take place on Saturday, June 3, at the Mackin Building on the Prescott Rodeo Grounds.

For $30 per person, attendees will be treated to a buffet dinner of smoked tri tip, Provencal chicken, salad, smoked cheddar potatoes, a vegetable, and chips and salsa. Suttles said the meal would be catered by local chef Christopher Fisher of Cast Iron Gourmet Catering, and a cash bar will be available.

While the dinner previously took place in the historic Freeman Building, it will move this year to the air-conditioned Mackin Building – allowing for a larger crowd.

Suttles said the space would accommodate 155 to 160 people, and a limited number of tickets are still available.

The night is MC’d by local radio personality Ken Byers, and also will include a silent and live auction with dozens of items, including a Bill Nebeker piece of art, an autographed western photo by Jay Dusard, and a diamond necklace from Raskins Jewelers.

For attendees, the dinner is “a chance to be on the rodeo grounds,” Suttles said, noting that the Mackin Building’s patio puts the diners “right out there on the arena.”

Tickets are available at the Rodeo Grounds office, 840 Rodeo Drive, Prescott (928-445-3109), or by calling Suttles at 928-778-2975.

The June 3 dinner helps to raise money for the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, as does the rodeo event, which features a booth offering merchandise such as pink ribbon hat stickers, jelly bracelets, bandanas, hats, T-shirts, tank tops, and jackets.

And the money that’s raised? It all stays in the community, says Suttles. Both she and Trujillo emphasize that the proceeds go toward local causes.

For instance, Suttles says a portion of the money goes toward buying Fry’s gift cards, which are given to patients in various phases of their breast-cancer treatments. The gift cards are distributed every four months through AZ Oncology in Prescott Valley.

Suttles explained that the local campaign also receives contributions from Wrangler, and that money has gone in the past to the Yavapai Regional Medical Center Foundation’s free mammogram program.

The 2017 Frontier Days Rodeo is set to begin on Wednesday, June 28, and run through Tuesday, July 4.