Back When They Bucked Rodeo brings scholarship opportunities and fun

DEADWOOD, S.D. – There is nothing else quite like it. Swirling dust surrounds a sea of cowboy hats, gold belt buckles, and cowboy boots. You can hear horses impatiently waiting or the snort of a bull in the chutes just before the gate cracks open and a cowboy takes one wild eight-second ride. You have found yourself at a rodeo. The Back When They Bucked Rodeo is one rodeo that you certainly do not want to miss. The Western Legacy Foundation and the Naja Shriners bring the event to the historical Deadwood Days of ‘76 arena on May 29th and 30th.

Western Legacy Foundation will host The Back When They Bucked rodeo for the second year in a row. Western Legacy Foundation was established in 1993 as the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation. In 2021, their name was changed to Western Legacy Foundation. Being so closely associated with the Black Hills Stock Show, Western Legacy Foundation felt it was time to venture out on their own and highlight the ways that they uniquely invest into our communities. Western Legacy Foundation offers numerous different opportunities to help local students and businesses in the Black Hills and surrounding areas.

One way that Western Legacy Foundation gives back is by giving out scholarships to students with a passion for agriculture. Although they started out small with giving away one $500 scholarship in the beginning, Western Legacy’s scholarship program has grown continually with $30,000 given out two years ago and growing this year to giving $50,000 in January at the Black Hills Stock Show.

Lynn Husman, the president of Western Legacy Foundation attributes the growth, “The biggest reason for the increase was because of the Back When They Bucked event, we had up at Deadwood on Memorial Day weekend.”

Western Legacy Foundation also funds community grants.

“We give out probably $10,000 to $15,000 a year besides the scholarships and we give them to rural fire departments. We’ve helped the BH Children’s Home, Rural Health areas we’ve helped those, we’ve helped families with children that have come down with cancer or their parents had a heart attack or something. And then we’ve also, helped with disaster relief like the Atlas storm, the blizzard we had years ago, or the Lemmon fire that was last winter up by Lemmon, the Cottonwood fire over by Wall. We helped with all that, too.”

The foundation raises money from several different fundraisers. They include the Milo Rypkema Memorial Golf Tournament, the NFR Calcutta, over 250 members who pay an annual membership renewal fee, and the newest fundraiser is the Back When They Bucked Rodeo. All the proceeds from Sunday will help fund projects for the Western Legacy Foundation.

Husman expresses his desire: “I have a personal goal…I would like to see us someday reach…where we are giving out $100,000 a year in scholarships. So, every event that we put on, when we get all the sponsors that help us, and all of the people show up to buy tickets and help us just gets us closer to reaching that goal.”

The Naja Shriners for the first time are collaborating with Western Legacy Foundation to host the Back When They Bucked Rodeo. Potentate Rick Holloway explains how the Shriners got involved with this event.

“We were very fortunate. We had heard about the event and heard it was a great success. And then we were approached by the Western Legacy Foundation, and they had asked us to partner with them. They wanted to expand it from one day to two days, and they wanted us to help them pull off this other day. And we would be the beneficiaries of the second day. So, you know we agreed it’s a great program, it’s a great, a great event. And we wanted to be a part of it, and we wanted to partner with the Western Legacy Foundation, too.”

Shriners is a fraternal organization that was created back in the 1870s and spread across the United States. In 1893, Naja Shrine was chartered in Deadwood, S.D. The Shriners is a fraternal organization that is family focused. For example, the Naja Shrine has brought the Naja Shrine Circus to town for the last 65 years. Holloway also explains another way that Naja Shrine is committed to helping families.

“About a hundred years ago, in fact, exactly 100 years ago, the Shriners nationally had decided that they wanted to do something more. It’s a great organization, but they wanted to give back. And so, they started a hospital down in Louisiana and it became the first Shriners Hospital. And since that time, most of all our fundraising goes to supporting the Shriners and supporting the kids that we help get the medical care they need.”

Holloway shares a story of how the Shriners had helped one family overcome a medical need and now the patient is dedicated to giving back.

“One of the people that is on our Board of Directors, Jeff VanCuren, when he was a kid, he was a Shrine patient. He had club feet and he got the medical care that he needed, and they helped him. In fact, they helped him so well, he had forgotten that he had the surgeries and the corrective care. He became an All-State Football player and then went in the Army and served over 20 years in the Army.”

On Monday, all proceeds from the rodeo will go to benefit the Naja Shrine of Deadwood.

Holloway explains how the proceeds will be used: “The proceeds are going to be used to help support national shrine operations. Right now, Naja Shrine covers all of western South Dakota. And we help over 750 kids in our area get the medical care that they need. The kind of medical care that we help them get is orthopedic and spine injury, burns, cleft lip and palate. And we help ensure that they get that medical care regardless of their ability to pay. So, if they don’t have the ability to pay or they need help paying for it, we’ll take care of the rest.”

A child’s medical needs are not the only focus of the Naja Shrine of Deadwood.

Holloway describes, “Our organization is really kid-focused. We started in the last two years holding kids camps here in the Black Hills for our patients. So, our patients go and get the medical care that they need, and we wanted to give them an opportunity here in the Black Hills to experience camp and just be a kid for the weekend.”

Thanks to The Western Legacy Foundation and The Naja Shriners for bringing The Back When They Bucked Rodeo to Deadwood.
Events include:
Sunday, May 29th
9am – MST WPRA Ladies’ Breakaway Roping Long Round
2pm – South Dakota High School Rodeo Breakaway and Saddle Bronc Match
3pm – Xtreme Saddle Bronc Match & WPRA Breakaway Roping Short Round
Monday May 30th
9am – PRCA Steer Wrestling
2pm – South Dakota High School Steer Wrestling a Bareback Riding Shootout
3pm – PRCA Bareback Riding Shootout
To purchase tickets or for more information click here.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Events, Evergreen, Local News