September 2010

The Wounded Service Member Project supports our active duty Purple Heart recipients, wounded and injured men, women
My Heros have always been Cowboys and Soldiers

Emerson Nelson of New Braunfels, Texas first heard about the Wounded Service Member Project from friend and veterinarian, Jake Wells.  Nelson was intrigued and Dr. Wells put him in contact with Duane Heady who is the Chairman for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Ticket Committee.

The Wounded Service Member Project supports our active duty Purple Heart recipients, wounded and injured men, women and their families in the military by purchasing tickets for them to attend the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.  The Wounded Service Member Project purchases tickets which allow a service member and a guest to enjoy a free evening of fun.

Active duty wounded Honored at the San Antonio Rodeo and Stock ShowContributions to this program provide a wounded service member and a guest to attend the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.  Active duty Purple Heart recipients and wounded and injured active duty military personnel are invited to come and enjoy the Rodeo Star Experience.  The Rodeo Star Experience includes 2 reserved rodeo tickets, cowboy cuisine (steak dinner with all the trimmings), 2 drink tickets, complimentary parking, commemorative chair and stage side seating on the “dirt” during the concert after the rodeo…basically, they are treated like royalty and the true heroes they are.

“Mr. Heady told me how to donate,” said Nelson, “and we proceeded to ask some of my friends and business contacts for contributions for this great cause.”  The first year Nelson was able to collect around $15,000.  The second year the donation doubled to $30,000 from the sale of t-shirts and other donations.

“The Wounded Service Member Project raised approximately $18,000 the first year,” said Heady. “Emerson has been instrumental in ensuring the Wounded Service Member Project exceeded $100,000 in donations last year,” said Duane Heady.

Nelson created Saddle Stiff Enterprises, Inc. and started out by purchasing t-shirts with the logo, “My Heroes have always been Cowboys and Soldiers” and handing them out for a $20 donation.  The money from these t-shirts go 100% towards purchasing tickets.  Saddle Stiff has also sponsored the Salute to the Troops Night at the Helotes PRCA Rodeo.

“Last years I was able to talk my good friend Chris Bloxsom, with the Comal County PRCA Rodeo into holding a Salute the Military night that Saddle Stiff sponsored as well,” said Nelson.  “It’s not very hard to talk promoters into showing appreciation for our service men and women.  They were the first to let us start selling our t-shirts to raise money.”

Saddle Stiff was started by accident on Memorial Day 2009.  The t-shirts were first printed for only the 75 troop members we brought out for the Tejas Rodeo that weekend.  We gave them to the soldiers and after they were handed out,  people started asking Nelson about the shirts and how they could get one.  Nelson printed 1,000 and started handing them out for a $20 donation at the Comal County PRCA Rodeo.  It was a huge success and by December 2009 they needed to purchase another 1,000 t-shirts.
    
On Memorial Day 2010 Saddle Stiff had their 2nd annual Salute to the Troops at Tejas Rodeo Company and brought another big bus load of America’s best for another fun night at the rodeo.
 
Trey Martin and Yancy James of Tejas Rodeo Company and Cibolo Livery Stables in Bulverde, Texas have been very supportive and continue to show their support. On October 3 Saddle Stiff Enterprises and Tejas Rodeo Company in will host the Saddle Stiff Sort for the Troops.  This is the first Ranch Sorting held for the purpose of the Wounded Service Member Project, and hopefully it will become an annual event.  

Come on out and sort or just watch the fun on October 3rd!  Books open at 9am and sorting will start at 11am.  There will be 3 classes: Open, Draw and Youth, with top 10 call back in each Class.  Buckles for 1st place and trophy stirrups for 2nd place in each class.  There will be no money paid out – 100% of all money generated will go to the Wounded Service Members Project.  The cost is $80 for all entries received by September 27 and $100 for entries on the day of the event.  Four rides – 2 in the open 2 in the draw.  The cost of the Youth class is $30 for entries received by September 27 and $40 for entries on the day of the event and 2 rides must change rider each go.  The Buckle Trophy Stirrup Sponsor is Chuck’s Trucking, Ltd. of New Braunfels and the cattle will be provided by Ronnie Haecker.  The event will be held under Tejas Rodeo Company’s covered arena and there will be great food, beer and sodas at the concession stand.

There is no cost to come and watch the sorting and there will be “My Heroes have always been Cowboys and Solders” t-shirts available at the event for a $20 donation.  Come and show your appreciation for our troops and have a great time!  
For more information contact Emerson Nelson at 210-860-6172.  Entry forms can be downloaded at www.saddlestiff.com or email emerson@gvtc.com.