Sport Innovation/Tough Enough to Wear Pink
TOUGH ENOUGH TO WEAR PINK
Tough Enough to Wear Pink (TETWP) was started in 2004 by a breast cancer survivor Terry Wheatley. Terry’s grandmother, mother and daughter have all had to battle breast cancer so the disease is an issue very close to the Wheatley family. Terry realized through her treatment that early diagnosis was key in increasing survival rates for breast cancer so she wanted to organize an event that made people aware of the disease. Since Terry’s son was competing in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and her husband had also competed at the same rodeo in the past she thought it would be the perfect stage for her to launch TETWP. Terry only had 3 weeks to pull off the first TETWP sanctioned rodeo.
The goal of TETWP was to bring professional rodeo and the western community together to increase awareness and aid in the fight against breast cancer in less than three weeks for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Research shoes that 1/8 women (12-13%) will develop breast cancer in their life. Early detection is key in increasing survival rates of breast cancer patients. Terry saw a need for more public awareness of breast cancer and thought that pink western shirts would be eye catching enough to do it.
Terry’s initial TETWP event was the 2004 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas where she aimed to get the crowd wearing pink rodeo shirts. The first TETWP was aimed at spreading the word of early awareness for breast cancer, it wasn't until later than the fundraising side ot TETWP was started. The money raised from TETWP events goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
- The Wheatley Family
- The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
- Cancer Patients
- The Rodeo Community
- Stores Selling the TEWTP Shirts
- Other Sponsors of the Event
1. Definition of event
- Terry wanted to spread the awareness of breast cancer by introducing pink shirts into rodeo. The pink shirts would stand out because they are an uncommon color for cowboys to wear and pink is internationally associated with breast cancer. Terry chose the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to be the debut event for TETWP in 2004.
2. Development of event plans
- Mass amounts of pink western shirts were hard to find so Terry chose to partner with Wrangler to manufacture Pink cowboy shirts for the event. Wrangler was able to produce 200 pink western shirts in 3 weeks before the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Initially Terry was not concerned with the fundraising aspect as much; she merely wanted to increase the awareness of breast cancer to help increase the number of early diagnoses.
3. Review of event plans
- Once the event had been established it was important for Terry to get the word out about TETWP before the rodeo began. There was not much time from the creation of TETWP to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and Terry was unsure of how many of the Pink shirts from Wrangler would arrive on time but while she waited for their arrival she got the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association on board to help spread the word for TETWP. Terry originally thought that 200 pink western shirts would be more than enough for her first charity event. The initial goal of the event was just to raise awareness of breast cancer through the media coverage of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo; this later morphed into a fundraising opportunity for cancer research
4. Execution of Event plans
- The 200 pink Wrangle western shirts were flown into Las Vegas just in time for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Both Spectators and competitors were able to wear the pink western shirts which created a media buzz.
5. Evaluation of event plans
- Originally Terry hoped that most of the spectators at the 2004 Wrangle National Finals Rodeo would be wearing pink shirts but on the first performance of the rodeo not only were the stands a sea of pink but all of the competitors wore the colorful shirts as well. The original 200 pink Wrangler shirts were not even close to enough for all the spectators and competitors at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo so more shirts will have to be made for future events.
At the 2004 Wrangler National Finals rodeo the arena in Las Vegas was covered in pink; not only the spectators but the competitors as well wore the pink Wrangler western shirts to increase the awareness of breast cancer. Since Terry partnered with Karl Stressman, Wrangler has become the official supplier of pink shirts for rodeo events. Wrangler now has a separate collection of pink western shirts dedicated to TETWP. Other sponsors include: Purple Cowboy Wines, Montana Silversmiths, Cowgirl Sisterhood, the PRCA, Las Vegas Events, Resistol Hats, Gypsy Soule, Pendleton Whiskey and many others in the western industry. TETWP has transformed from an informative event on breast cancer to a fundraiser for research. TETWP has set up an online store for pink western wear with the proceeds of sales going towards breast cancer research. TETWP has now spanned all across the United States and Canada raised 14.5 million dollars to date. Currently there are over 300 rodeo events that take part in Tough Enough To Wear Pink with the largest fundraisers collecting more than 100 000$ for breast cancer.