Friday, May 25, 2012

Rodeo to Raise Money for Wounded Warrior Project

By Timothy Gillis
The Churchill Ranch Rodeo at York Wild Kingdom, June 1 through 3, will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors.
Kenny Churchill, the champion bull rider, is holding the 2nd annual event as a way to share his passion for bull-riding and the rodeo, as well as pay tribute to veterans. “I took care of a veteran for thirty years,” Churchill said from his ranch this week. George Parker, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, was friends with Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, and the Kennedys.
“I used to have a cleaning company in Brookline, Massachusetts. One day I found him on the floor, unconscious, going into a stroke,” Churchill said. “When he got better, I asked him for contact information, in case it ever happened again. He said he didn’t have any.”
Churchill brought him into his own family, and cared for him until last August, when Parker died of cancer.
“He was like a grandfather to my kids,” Churchill said. “He loved the military so much. I know he would love that we’re doing this for the Wounded Warrior Project.”
The rodeo weekend kicks off Friday, June 1, at the York American Legion at 7:30 p.m. with a silent auction. There will be four live bands – Johnny Wad and the Cash, Whiskey Kill, Jandee Lee Porter, and Walkin’ the Line – and food and drink. The event is hosted by the World Cup Bull Riders, the Motor Cross Team, and the Monster Truck Team.
Churchill rode professionally for twenty years, and was in the championship finals for sixteen of them. The rookie champion of the year in 1982, Churchill is happy to have his rodeo at York Wild Kingdom, on Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3. He had tried to have it at his ranch in the past, but ran into trouble with permits.
“It’s going to be a great time, and a good cause,” he said. (courtesy photo)