CLERMONT — Breast cancer survivor Gina Jozet challenged those attending the 60th annual Clermont Rodeo to wear pink this weekend.
Jozet was the spokesperson for the breast cancer research fundraising aspect of the annual event — “Are You Tough Enough to Wear Pink?”
“This is something that is near and dear to my heart,” she said. “These guys are tough enough to wear pink.”
The rodeo professionals have been helping to raise awareness for breast cancer, as well as raising funds for research.
Jozet, who is from Indiana, is a five-year breast cancer survivor. She helps promote rodeo events and the fundraising efforts.
“Today I’ve been on the radio and television to talk about breast cancer,” she said. “We’ve just got to hold on until there is a cure.”
She said it inspires her when she sees a cowboy wearing pink, the official color of breast cancer awareness.
“And it’s my honor to work with these guys,” Jozet said.
Rodeo spokesperson Ron Penn said the Clermont rodeo is the second oldest one east of the Mississippi.
“The rodeo here was started by Joe and Elsie Miller,” Penn said. “Joe Miller is still active and helping with the rodeo each year.”
Penn said he’s worked with the rodeo committee for 12 years, helping with promotions.
“This event is for people 6 to 60 or even 9 to 90,” he said. “It’s great fun. And there’s just nothing more American than a cowboy.”
He said the Clermont event is always well supported by local merchants.
“The whole town turns out to help put this on,” Penn said. “I don’t think there’s a business who does not sponsor it.”
The Clermont Rodeo official sanctioning body is the International Professional Rodeo Association. It was founded in 1957 and is headquartered in Oklahoma.
“We have people competing in the rodeo from 13 different states,” Penn said. “People come a long way to see us.”
There were also two Canadian provinces represented in the 2006 Clermont Rodeo.
He said there were seven past world champions in the competition this year.
The rodeo events will include bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, and barrel racing. There were also several thousand dollars in prize money awarded.
Jozet said the cowboys are very generous with their prize money.
“They often donate some of their prize winnings to the cancer research,” she added.