Helping Hands: Benefits, Benevolent funds, and Black Tie Bingo
Written by: Luke Creasy
Edmonton, AB: After breaking my femur at the Helldorado days in Las Vegas on May 19th, I was uncertain how I would make ends meet and still be financially capable of rodeoing when I recovered. With looking at six months to a year on the inactive roster I knew I would burn through what savings I had. With rodeo being unlike other professional sports, not riding means not earning.
Within two days I got a call that brought a tear to my eye. My friends, John, Chance, and Tyrell Smith of JS rodeo out of Montana were already making plans to put on a benefit rough-stock rodeo for me in Vaughn, Montana on May 30th. Though I was unable to travel up there to see it, it was one of the most amazing things anyone has ever done for me.
John knew as a Canadian receiving emergency surgery in the US, the hospital and medical bills would eat me alive. The Smith’s tried valiantly to get guys to come to the last minute rough-stock benefit, I did my part to find bareback riders who weren’t busy to no avail but there were considerable amounts of bull and saddle bronc riders who made it to the event. A week later I stopped by the Smith’s place on my drive home to Canada and was amazed at what they had drawn in last minute like that. They apologized for not making more, and went into detail about how they tried to get money from stock contractors Rafter G and Rosser Rodeo, explaining how they told each that the other had put in $500. Rafter G whose horse I had ridden in Vegas and was injured on bought into the ploy and donated the $500. I was extremely grateful for everyone’s kindness and generosity in my time of need.
As is often the case I have a hard time asking for money. So when it came to asking the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, the Canadian Rodeo Benevolent fund and Edmonton Rodeo Cowboy’s Benevolent Foundation for money I was very reluctant and uncertain. But my friend and frequent travelling partner had told me with getting injured in the US, to send my bills to PRCA health specialty risk insurance, and hit up all the benevolent funds and if that doesn’t cover everything the hospital is over charging and can eat the rest.
I remained reluctant about applying for aid, as pride made it seem like a beggar’s thing to do, but after being approached by Earl Klapstein at Ponoka rodeo wondering why I had not applied for the Edmonton Foundation which he was on the board of. Earl gave me great insight to the whole process and urged me to fully complete my application andget it in as soon as possible. I did not shoot for a massive number, the ERCBF is something to be used to get a person through, and I didn’t have mortgages or car payments like others. After applying early in July I saw money from the Canadian and Edmonton funds very soon. The Canadian fund is paid out more sparingly, as it typically pays $1000 guaranteed to all who apply, but the Edmonton Foundation provided me with substantial aid, and after finding out the massive ER bills involved with my accident I was even told I could reapply for further aid once my PRCA insurance has settled their share. This is an incredible difference from other funds that are set up to solely cover daily living costs like the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. Not to knock the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, as they provide substantial aid to the multitudes of athletes within the PRCA and even without taking into account medical bills provide a healthy chunk, (a close second place), in aid to be paid monthly.
With the Edmonton Rodeo Cowboy’s Benevolent Foundation providing the most substantial aid of all the aid foundations/ funds I cannot help but appeal to all to check out and take part in the Black Tie Bingo event taking place October 30th, 2012 at the Edmonton Expo Centre in the Alberta Ballroom. The event is one of three major fundraisers for the Foundation, the two others are the 50/50 during CFR, and the recently held Bling n’ Boots that shares the funds 50/50 with STARS. Black Tie Bingo’s doors open at 6:00 with cocktails and silent auction tables open then, and the evening’s program starts at 7:00pm.
For more information on Black Tie Bingo, check out this link: