By Christopher DeWitt
Academy Public Affairs
It’s not very often that horseplay is allowed on the Terrazzo but that’s exactly what happened when 2009 Girl of the West and her aide visited the Academy Monday with horses Whisper and Classy China.
April Biernat, Girl of the West, and Jessica Greene, Aide to Girl of the West, made stops at the 98th Flying Training Squadron and Falcon Youth Center before visiting with cadets outside the Mitchell Hall dining facility to promote the Air Force Academy Day at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo scheduled for July 11.
Rounding up visitors might seem like an ordinary objective but there is more going on at this rodeo than just roping and riding.
“All of the proceeds from the PPOBR go to military charities in this area,” said Cloriss Palmer, Girl of the West coordinator. “Every military installation in the Pikes Peak region receives our proceeds.
“Since World War II, all of our proceeds have gone to military charities and we’ve contributed over $1.5 million,” she added.”We’re very unique in that respect, that all our proceeds go to the military.”
Area bases have their own way of giving back to the rodeo and contributing to the overall success of the program.
Local military personnel assist the rodeo by volunteering their time and services wherever they are needed, states the rodeo’s website.
“PPOBR is run by all volunteers and we get volunteers from every installation,” Ms. Palmer added.
Girls of the West talked with cadets about the rodeo and tried to give them an alternative to typical summer activities.
“We enjoy promoting to them because it’s a great event for them to get out and enjoy something in Colorado Springs that’s out of the box from doing the regular routine stuff – it’s great entertainment,” said Ms. Biernat.
Cadets showed interest and enthusiasm about the rodeo and one even shared a similarity with rodeo representatives.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Cadet 3rd Class Jared Barkemeyer. “I used to rodeo as a kid, I’ll definitely go.”
Cadet 1st Class Courtney Swaney was also impressed by the girls and their horses, saying “I think it’s a good way to get the word out.”
It was an eventful trip for both the girls and they were happy to have made it out on such a beautiful day.
“Thank you for having us out, we enjoyed it and had a lot of fun, you guys treat us so well here,” Ms. Biernat said. “I think it’s a two way street in appreciation.”
“It’s a great honor – the experiences that we get and just the little bit that we can do for you guys because you do so much for us,” Ms. Greene added. “It’s our way of saying thanking you.”