Rodeo for a cause

PPEC sponsors rodeo night to raise funds to conquer childhood cancer

If you didn’t get the chance to go to Rodeo Night at the Paulding County Fair back in June, you missed out on a great night filled with bucking bulls, barrel races, rain, excitement, tears of joy, and many other powerful emotions. Rodeo Night’s goal was to raise funds for Conquer Childhood Cancer Now (CCCN). CCCN is a nonprofit awareness group made up of volunteers working to give hope and assistance to families of children diagnosed with cancer and to raise funds for research and treatment.

Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative was a proud sponsor of this important, yet fun event. Despite the 30-minute downpour of rain that led to a delay, the crowd continued to stay for the event.

In 2010, CCCN was started by Patty Bishop after her daughter, Tiana, was diagnosed with cancer. One out of five children diagnosed loses their battle, and three out of five children face long-term side effects due to current treatments. Unfortunately, Tiana lost her battle in 2011. Most children aren’t diagnosed until they are already in stage 4 of their cancer because it grows so fast in their bodies. CCCN raises awareness of childhood cancer and supports families that have been affected by assisting them with gas costs, utility bills, groceries, and more. The proceeds from Rodeo Night helped CCCN’s families in need.

Rodeo Night was born when Patty challenged volunteer Pam Smith to a goal for the year: host an event. Pam and her son J.R. hosted what they knew best — a rodeo. When Pam and J.R. went to a CCCN meeting, it touched J.R. deeply. He looked at his mom and said, “We got to do it!” When they started, they didn’t realize how much it would take to get Rodeo Night off the ground, so they invited friends to help.

A bull rider begins his eight-second ride.

PPEC lineman Brandon Burelison is a longtime friend of the Smith family, and once he heard about the cause, he was all in. “I have three young boys, and with my wife being a nurse who has worked with cancer patients, helping kids with cancer is a cause that really hits home,” Brandon said. “It’s a way to give back to my community.”

Brandon then came to PPEC with the idea of sponsoring the event. Right away, everyone was on board. PPEC wrote a grant to Touchstone Energy®, and it wasn’t long before Touchstone responded, wanting to be involved in any way possible.

Pat and Patty Bishop spend time with
cancer survivor Alex Carmen (center).

Now, the Smith family is already planning for next year. J.R., a PPEC member himself, has been raising bucking bulls for 12 years in Paulding County. It takes three years for a bull to be a full-grown bucking bull, and his are bred from PBR (Professional Bull Riding) bulls. He couldn’t help but beam just talking about the event.

“It’s rare in life that you can help people that need it, especially doing something you love,” J.R. said. “I’m thankful for everybody in this community that stepped up and made this all possible. PPEC was the lead sponsor that made all this a reality, so hopefully together we made a child’s life a little easier in our community. I can’t believe how this has affected me. We will do it every year, if possible.”

A total of 29 bull riders and 24 barrel racers from all over the United States came to support CCCN and had a great night doing what they love. The winners won money and a beautiful belt buckle. Once expenses were taken out of the admission fees, the event raised more than $5,000.

CCCN is beyond grateful for the donations and is proud to see the community come together for a great cause. The rodeo will be back in 2018 and ready for action once more.

To learn more about childhood cancer or how you can help or donate, visit