The 4th Annual Ridin' for Cash Bull Bash saw another successful year, with $8,510 raised to benefit visually impaired children in the community and surrounding areas.
The total is an accumulation of the sales from tickets, t-shirts, the silent auction, the Mutton Bustin' competition and the dance held at the Jaycee Barn after the event. All funds raised will be donated to the Division for Blind Services to be used for programs and camps for visually impaired children.
Over one thousand spectators joined the fun this year at the Nolan County Coliseum in mid-February. Many out-of-town guests were able to stay in the local hotels, noting that their stay was enjoyable while also praising the food and fun offered in Sweetwater during the weekend.
A special guest at this year's Bull Bash was Michael Rogers of Ralls, Texas. Rogers is an eleven-year-old boy who has a terminal heart disease, and through the help of announcer Howell Grayson, he was able to fulfill one of his wishes of being a real cowboy.
Rogers and his family were invited to Sweetwater to take part in the event, as he took part in the behind-the-scenes action of the bull riding competition. He was introduced to the crowds and stood alongside 30 professional bull riders in the arena.
In addition, Rogers was an honorary member of the SS Livestock Rodeo during the evening, where he assisted behind the chutes by flanking bulls. Jamie Rogers, Michael's mother, stated, "He was so excited...he didn't stop talking for a second on the way home!"
Annie Miles, coordinator of the Ridin' for Cash Bull Bash, added, "We were all honored to meet him and be part of his special night."
Winners of the bull riding competition were first place: Andrew Alvidrez from Seminole, Texas; second place: Kyle Carson from Stephenville, Texas; third place: Stormy Rasberry from Roby, Texas; and fourth place: Bobby Welch III from Kerrville, Texas.
Mutton Bustin' winners — the competition for three through six year olds — were Cooper Clayborn (first place), Clanton Golson (second place) and Rowdee Rodgers (third place).
The following stock contractors brought three bulls each for the performances: Sean Smith and Lane Smith, SS Livestock Rodeo; Tom Messick, TC Rodeo; Tyson Whismen; Jodey Metaska, Rodney "Hubcap" Lidgard — a World Champion Bull Rider in the PBR in the 90's, and Kyle Skinner; Samford Bucking Bulls, Rylie and Rex Samford; Shane Smith; Eddy Hollums, whose son Cody Hollums — a native of Midland, was hurt very badly in a CBR Bull fighting accident in October 2012; Wylie Wagoner; Chris Sherango and Randy Phillips.
According to Mrs. Miles, all of the stock contractors praised the facilities of the Nolan County Coliseum. They were very pleased with the event as well, in which they requested to take part in future gatherings.
Also assisting in the success were rodeo personnel, which included "National Anthem" singer Cash Miles; announcers Ruben Cruz from Ozona, Texas and Howell Grayson from Oklahoma; barrel man Adam Costello from Tomball, Texas; and bull fighters Jimmy Lee, Martie Comier and Zach Arthur, all from San Angelo.
Since the inaugural Ridin’ for Cash Bull Bash, over $32,000 has been raised and donated to programs that benefit kids with visual impairments in a variety of ways, even in the midst of budget cuts that have been made to some of the programs. Annie, her husband Matt and their two sons Cash and Case express their appreciation to everyone who took part in this year's fundraiser.
"We are blessed to have such amazing support from everyone...Now looking forward to the fifth annual, we could not be any more pleased and grateful."
The Ridin’ For Cash Bull Bash was named for Laramie Cash Miles. When he was two months old, he was diagnosed with Pan-Hypopituitarism, a disease of the pituitary gland that makes it impossible to produce basic and necessary hormones and steroids your body needs to survive and Septo-Optic Nerve Dysplasia, which is a condition that Cash was born with, where his optic nerve is too small to transfer any information seen by his eyes to his brain, for his brain to process, hence, blindness. The eye condition is a stable condition that will stay the same forever.