A look back on 20 years of giving as the annual Cowboys Against Cancer event took place Saturday

A look back on 20 years of giving as the annual Cowboys Against Cancer event took place Saturday

ROCK SPRINGS – Take a walk down memory lane. Remember the fun times, the hard times and the loved ones lost along the way. For Cowboys Against Cancer, Saturday night was a night to reflect over the past 20 years.

The annual Cowboys Against Cancer event celebrated 20 years on Saturday night at the Sweetwater Events Complex. Over the past 20 years, the organization has given $4 million to local residents who are battling cancer.

Each year, the event honors and remembers those who have battled the horrible disease. For the event founder Margaret Parry, Saturday’s dedication was special as one of the people honored was her father Richard McClammy.

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Richard and his wife Mary Lou are regular attendees to the event but this year that all changed as Richard was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In 2010, Richard told the audience how proud everyone should be because Cowboys Against Cancer was living proof of how people can help other people. On Saturday, the event put Richard and Mary Lou in their thoughts and prayers.

“As you celebrate with us this evening and reflect back on 20 years of giving, I am reminded of one of my father’s most important teachings to my brother and my sisters,” Parry said. “He always counseled us to make sure we gave back. For all of us that benefited from his message, thank you daddy.”

The event was also dedicated to Roy Messer who lost his battle with cancer. Roy was best know for the technology that is a part of the benefit and banquet. While Roy’s life journey took him in many directions, his passion for photography consumed his last years. Many of his works can be seen in the offices and hallways of the Holiday Inn.

“Roy would not like the fact that we are honoring him because Roy preferred being the quiet person who just made things work,” Parry said. “Roy, rest peacefully under the night sky you captured so vividly.”

While event attendees checked out the many baskets around the exhibit hall, the sponsors numbers had already been tallied. Sponsorship donations were $175,000 dollars. Two local companies donated $20,000. They included FMC and Premier Powerplants and Pumps. Chevron, Jonah Energy and Linn Energy each gave $10,000 and up.

Last year, the event raised $327,000 which went to assist local cancer patients.

Another favorite part of the event is dinner. This year, 35 chefs from Salt Lake, Oklahoma and Texas put together the menu.

There were also dignitaries at the event including Sen. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso as well as Wyoming Governor Matt Mead.

Mead told the audience cancer has touched all of us as he told of watching his father’s fight with cancer. He told the audience to recognize what 20 years of giving has done for so many.

“Thank you for giving us inspiration and courage,” Mead said.

Barrasso has also watched his loved ones battle the disease. He thanked Parry for her unbelievable contribution to the community.

“No one has more innovation, creativity or energy,” he said.

Barrasso said Cowboys Against Cancer is the epitome of the Code of the West. Take pride, finish what you start and ride for the brand.

“That brand is Cowboys Against Cancer and the generosity of a community,” he said.

Parry thanked 20 years of volunteers on Saturday. She also noted how far reaching the event had become as she introduced a couple who came to Rock Springs all the way from Hawaii to attend this year’s event.

She thanked Haliburton for helping get ready for the event and all the many students from Green River and Rock Springs High Schools.

Parry told a story of a recent visit by two Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint missionaries. She said as they were leaving, they asked Parry if she had any projects she needed done. As Parry chuckled, she thanked eight missionaries who brought all the flowers out to the event.

As Parry pulled out a letter from her sister Patricia, she began to read it. She was soon stopped by her sister who told the story. Patricia said she was recently in Rock Springs to be with her sister as she received an award. As she started to head back to California, she had to stop because of the weather.

Patricia explained she stopped at the McDonalds in Green River to try to find out what the road conditions were. She said there was a group of men eating as she asked them if they knew how the roads were.

As they continued to talk, the men asked her why she was in Sweetwater County. Patricia said she explained to them she was here for Cowboys Against Cancer.

With tears in her eyes, she recalled how one of the men stood up and gave her a great big hug and told her Cowboys Against Cancer saved his life. He told Patricia to hug all the volunteers of the event.

“Consider yourself hugged by a bunch of men at McDonalds,” she said.

Parry summed up the evening as she explained she has been asked numerous times about what celebrities would be at the event this year.

“As I thought to myself about this I said we don’t need celebrities,” she said. “We don’t need celebrities because you are the celebrities.”