Now in its 13th year, Wrangler's "Tough Enough To Wear Pink" western campaign to fight breast cancer has raised more than 26 million dollars, most of which stays right in the local communities. The grassroots movement has inspired other sports communities to mount their own Wrangler TETWP campaigns, spreading a message of hope and support that reaches beyond the rodeo arena to competitors, families and fans across America.
The campaign was created in 2004 by breast cancer survivor Terry Wheatley, a wine industry executive and matriarch of a professional rodeo cowboy family, and Karl Stressman, former director of special events for Wrangler and now Commissioner of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). The idea was to raise money and awareness for breast cancer by challenging rodeo competitors and fans alike to wear pink. Wrangler is the title sponsor of TETWP and a portion of proceeds from everything sold within the Wrangler Tough Enough to Wear Pink merchandise collection goes back to the campaign fund. Take a look: they've got cute logo tee-shirts, as well as traditional pink-themed button-down shirts sized for men, women, and children.
Along with the generous support of western businesses such as Wrangler, Montana Silversmiths, Las Vegas Events, Twisted X Boots and Purple Cowboy wines, Wrangler TETWP relies on the hard work of regional rodeos and western events across the country. The strength of the TETWP is that funds raised stay locally to benefit community breast cancer charities. It is the dedication of volunteers on the ground at local events that drives the campaign.
"When we started the Tough Enough To Wear Pink campaign in 2004 our goal was to reach $50 million raised by the 20th anniversary in 2024. What seemed an impossible dream at the time is well on the way to becoming a reality thanks to the hard work of the rodeo committees and events and support of our sponsors," commented Wheatley, herself a breast cancer survivor.
A notable example of the grassroots efforts is the #1 PRCA rodeo fundraiser, Cattlemen's Days Rodeo in Gunnison, Colo. A long-time Top Five Wrangler TETWP fundraiser, the Gunnison western community has raised close to $2 million over the years to support the fight against breast cancer in their hometown.
Among their goals is to make Gunnison Valley Health the number one rural hospital for breast cancer care in the U.S. by providing funds for services, medical equipment and support.
Lacey Wheatley, Terry Wheatley's daughter-in-law, is the Director of Wrangler TETWP and coordinates with rodeos and other non-rodeo organizations to create the pink-themed fundraisers. Her daughter Katie supports the social media outreach for the campaign. For more information on how to help, visit www.toughenoughtowearpink.com.