By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
The rodeo arena at the Clark County Fairgrounds was a sea of pink on Saturday. Hundreds of people came out to support and earn money for local resident Robbie Lindsay who is undergoing breast cancer treatment. More than $24,000 was raised on Saturday to help Robbie.
The event was organized by Tracey Thornton and her daughter Ashley Thornton from the Moapa Valley Riders and was part of the “Tough Enough To Wear Pink” (TETWP) events that are occurring throughout the month all across the nation.
TETWP is a national foundation established to help earn money for those suffering from breast cancer. One hundred percent of the money raised from TETWP events stays local for the recipient to use in any way that would make her treatment and situation easier.
This year’s event was bigger and better than ever, with a turnout that was almost double that of last year. Almost all the participants got into the spirit of things, wearing pink shirts, pink hats, and pink jewelry, as well as decorating their horses in pink. Almost all of the many spectators also wore pink, with many of them sporting “Riding for Robbie” T-shirts.
The day included many events, beginning with youth barrels and then moving on to open barrels. This year’s open barrel contest had 177 riders enter to support Robbie.
Participants could also sign up to do poles and the day rounded out with a mutton busting contest.
“I’m really excited,” said local rider Brenda Slocumb. “This is a great idea. There are 177 Open runners today and it is getting bigger every year. There is a lot more money added. Ashley and Tracey have done an outstanding job.”
Barrel racing is generally a female sport, but when it comes to a good cause, everyone wants to get involved. This year’s event saw several men and boys also participating in the barrel contests. Whole families came and participated together.
Participants came from Vegas, Utah, Caliente, and many other places.
“We come every year because we want to support people with breast cancer and have fun,” said May McInnis from Las Vegas. “This event is a lot of fun and gets better every year.”
McGinnis’s daughter, Teagan raced in the youth barrels and placed 4th.
Many locals participated because they know Robbie and want to help. Kristen Yardley brought her two girls Taytum and Fallon to race.
“We came to support my childhood friend Robbie,” Yardley said. “It’s been an awesome event. The ground is great and there’s tons going on.”
Taytum, 11, said, “It’s a lot of fun. The best part is if you win. Barrels are my favorite thing to do.”
Taytum won 6th place in the youth barrels and took home a cash prize. Her younger sister, Fallon, had a more pragmatic view of the day. “I like to do barrels, but the best part is the food,” she said.
Fallon was not the only one who liked the food. This year’s event included many food choices, including deep pit BBQ. All proceeds from the food sales were also donated back to Robbie.
Young Bailey Thornton set up her own lemonade stand and, with the help of her cousin and her friend, sold lemonade and treats to try to help.
Bailey is the granddaughter of event organizer Tracey Thornton, who is also a survivor of breast cancer.
“I did a lemonade stand once before and raised $100,” Bailey said. “This time I’m hoping to earn $200 for Robbie.”
By the end of the day, the stand had raised $1,300, all of which was donated back to Robbie.
A new addition to the festivities this year was the Mammovan operated by the Nevada Health Centers. The Mammovan parked right behind the arena.
Patti Schmalhofer, mammography technologist, said that response had been outstanding. Every single available appointment was filled and when the van stayed a little longer and opened four more appointments, those were filled also.
“The patients have been great and we can see that this really fills a need in this area,” Schmalhofer said.
Robbie Lindsay was there to watch the events and was overwhelmed by the turnout and support she felt.
“It’s incredible!” she said. “It’s hard to even describe what I’m feeling. It’s overwhelming to see so much support and feel so much love. There are a lot of people I know here. This is much bigger than I thought it would be. Ashley and Tracey did an amazing job and I’m so grateful for everyone.”
Logandale resident Vanessa Solis was there to watch her daughter, Caressa, run barrels and poles. Solis summed up the feelings of pretty much everyone on the day.
“I’ve been here every year and the energy, love, and support you feel from all the racers is amazing,” she said. “I can’t believe how many people turned out to support Robbie. It’s overwhelming and a truly wonderful event.”