September 7th, 2011

“Saddle Up” for New Mexico’s Largest Cancer Fundraiser

By msequeira
Cowboys for Cancer Research annual event expected to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for UNM Cancer Center and New Mexico State University

Cowboys for Cancer Research, a nonprofit organized to fund cancer research in New Mexico, will host its 29th annual dinner, dance and team roping competition in Las Cruces on October 7-9. The three-day event traditionally raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for collaborative cancer research at the UNM Cancer Center and New Mexico State University (NMSU). It is New Mexico’s largest cancer fundraiser in which all proceeds stay in state. Over the past 29 years, Cowboys for Cancer Research has raised more than $2 million to help combat the deadly disease.

“New Mexicans know that research is one of our best tools for fighting – and beating – cancer,” said Denny Calhoun, co-executive director of Cowboys for Cancer Research. “We are thrilled with the tremendous support we’ve received over the years. New Mexico State University and the UNM Cancer Center have incredible cancer scientists, and we are so happy to play a role in funding their potentially life-saving work.”

Funds from Cowboys for Cancer Research helped support a groundbreaking discovery by UNM Cancer Center and NMSU scientists of a new type of estrogen receptor that plays a role in breast, ovarian and other women’s cancers. This discovery, which made international headlines in 2005, may lead to new and better ways of treating women’s cancers.

This year’s Cowboys for Cancer Research theme is “Saddle Up for the Cause.” The event kicks off on Friday, October 7, at 6:30 p.m. with a dinner, dance (music courtesy of The Delk Band) and silent auction at the Las Cruces Convention Center, located at 680 E. University Avenue in Las Cruces. Cowboys for Cancer Research will continue the tradition inaugurated last year of awarding a beautiful miniature saddle to a lucky “Steward of the Saddle” during the live auction portion of the evening. The highest bidder will win the miniature saddle – and bragging rights – for a year; when the saddle is returned in 2012, the buyer will receive a custom-made trophy buckle. Tickets to the dinner/dance are $75 per person, with a tax deductible portion, and can be purchased by calling (575) 526-2887 or (575) 526-6028.

Festivities will continue through Sunday with team roping competitions on Saturday, October 8, and Sunday, October 9, at the Sproul Arena, located north of Las Cruces on Harvey Farm Road. Another silent auction will be held at the roping arena. Prizes, including a Fancy 3 Horse Slant Gooseneck Trailer, saddles and buckles, will be awarded to winners. On Sunday at “high noon,” there will be a kids’ “dummy roping” competition, with buckles awarded to winners in each age division. The two-day team roping event is open to the public, but bleacher seating is limited. Organizers recommend that spectators bring lawn chairs and sunscreen.


About Cowboys for Cancer Research

In 1981, Alma Cohorn, wife of roper Kenneth Cohorn, died of breast cancer. To honor her memory, members of the Las Cruces community pulled together a team roping competition to raise money to fight the disease that took her life. Today, the Cowboys for Cancer Research team roping event draws nearly 1,500 teams from New Mexico and West Texas for cash and donated prizes. Funds raised by the Cowboys for Cancer Research event help seed new research studies and equipment that will benefit patients directly by providing promising new treatments.

The three-day event is staged just north of Las Cruces. While people come from a tri-state area to enjoy the dinner/dance and two full days of roping and festivities, the bulk of participants live and work within El Paso County (El Paso, Texas), Dona Ana, Luna, Hidalgo, Grant, Sierra, Otero, Chavez, Eddy, Socorro and Bernalillo counties.

Cowboys for Cancer Research is a nonprofit organization originally organized by the Sunshine Club of QWEST (formerly US West) Pioneers, a group of retired telephone workers. This group evolved into a diverse team of dedicated members representing the southern New Mexico community. Learn more at


About the UNM Cancer Center

The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center in the state. One of just 66 NCI-designated cancer centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence, contributions to cancer research and delivery of medical advances to patients and their families. It is home to 85 board-certified oncology physicians representing every cancer specialty and 127 research scientists hailing from prestigious institutions such as MD Anderson, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 65 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. In 2010, it provided care to more than 15,800 cancer patients. The Center’s research programs are supported by nearly $60 million annually in federal and private funding. Learn more at


About New Mexico State University

A comprehensive land-grant institution of higher learning, New Mexico State University is dedicated to teaching, research and service at the undergraduate and graduate levels. NMSU is a NASA Space Grant College and Hispanic-serving institution, and is home to the only Honors College in New Mexico. NMSU provides learning opportunities to a diverse population of students and community members at five campuses, a satellite learning center in Albuquerque, cooperative extension offices located in each of New Mexico’s 33 counties and 13 research and science centers, as well as through distance education. Bachelor and graduate degree programs are available through the following colleges based in Las Cruces: Agriculture and Home Economics, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Extended Learning, Health and Social Services, Honors and the Graduate School. Learn more at


Media Contact Information

Dorothy Hornbeck, JKPR, (505) 797-6673,

Denny Calhoun, Cowboys for Cancer Center Research, (575) 642-5693,




Tags: community, fundraising, Press Release Archive 2011