SIKESTON, Mo. -- Local veterans will join the many who benefit from the annual Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo this year.
Tonight is Patriot Night, according to Cal Crader, general chairman for this year's event.
"It is designed to raise awareness of the need for rehabilitation and other services for the veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan as they return with their units and get back to their families and regular careers," Crader said. "They're trying to transition from military life back to civilian life with their families and a lot of them need help. We'll do anything we can to help them get back into their lives after putting theirs on the line for our freedom. It's the least we can do for them."
Crader said Wrangler is promoting Patriot Night this year as a brand-new program in addition to its regular sponsorship of professional rodeo events and its involvement with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
"We're participating in it this first year," Crader said. "It's a great cause and something that is needed over our whole country."
Awareness will be raised by Wrangler's National Patriot logo appearing on beverage cups during all four nights of the rodeo and special reminders that tonight is Patriot Night.
"We'll talk about it and promote it during the intermission and between rodeo events using our scoreboard announcer," Crader said.
A portion of Thursday's beer sales proceeds will go to support veterans.
"Any money that comes from it will stay here to help local veterans," Crader said. "We will get resources to those veterans that need assistance."
Another program started by Wrangler, Tough Enough to Wear Pink, will be back this year as well.
With as many as 11,000 people expected to attend Saturday night, "that's the night we focus on raising awareness for breast cancer," Crader said. "We have a long history with the Tough Enough to Wear Pink program."
A portion of the total proceeds from this year's Rodeo will go to support the American Cancer Society, Crader said.