It's giving season, and on this giving Tuesday, we encourage you to give the gift of a helping hand to rodeo athletes and their families.
In the sport of rodeo, there's no question whether an injury will happen. The real questions are when and how bad will the accident be? Thanks to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund (JCCF), rodeo athletes and their families have no worries about where their next meal will come from or how they will pay their bills.
With contributions made by supporters like yourself throughout the last 33 years and counting, the JCCF has helped more than 1,350 families of rodeo athletes in need of financial assistance.
This incredible 501c3 organization was incorporated in 1990 after a conversation between John Justin and 16-time world champion Jim Shoulders about the dangers of competing in rodeo and how rodeo athletes receive little to no financial assistance when rodeo injuries happen.
Serving as a non-profit organization today, the JCCF focuses on living expenses during the athlete's time of injury. According to JCCF General Manager Julie Jutten, "We know these cowboys and cowgirls are getting even more bills on top of their living expenses, probably medical bills, surgical bills, physical therapy bills, the last thing they need is to lose their home and then have those bills on top of it all."
One big misconception is that the JCCF only provides financial assistance to pro rodeo athletes. However, help from the organization is broader than just professional rodeo athletes.
"We help cowboys and cowgirls injured in professional rodeo, or rodeo competition, or in a practice pen." She continued, "So if someone is practicing for a rodeo event or is injured during a rodeo, they are eligible to apply for the crisis fund." Therefore, this opportunity is not exclusively for professional rodeo but general rodeo."
The impact the JCCF has on rodeo athletes is life-altering. "We know it changes their lives," Julie said with enthusiasm. The appreciation on the receiving end of financial support is exceedingly appreciated, too.
"Most (the recipients) want to help us, whether they organize a fundraiser or just tell their story to the rodeo communities they're in," she exclaimed. "And that is priceless for us in a great way for a recipient to give back to the JCCF."
The JCCF fosters spending time in the practice pen by helping injured athletes who get hurt even just practicing. Julie recalls a time when the JCCF could help an injured cowboy interested in getting started in the sport of rodeo and attended reputable rodeo camps. When he had his first "rough stock ride gone wrong," the JCCF was financially able to cover his medical expenses.
There are more ways to gift to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund than donating money. The opportunities are endless. If you're interested in supporting the JCCF but don't have extra money lying around, that's okay!
According to Julie, most businesses will make matching donations. All you need to do is host a fundraiser event and have the business match your gift. It can even be as simple as asking your business to match your monthly contribution.