Cheyenne Frontier Days is donating the proceeds from the 2022 Pick Up Man campaign for suicide awareness and prevention, to Grace for 2 Brothers and the Wyoming Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Each organization will receive $4,690 which was raised from the sale of yellow feathers and yellow feather jewelry in support of the campaign.
Country music star Garth Brooks also helped the effort by creating a message to elevate the theme of the role of the rodeo Pick Up Man in the arena. The campaign encourages people to “reach out to a Pick Up Man or be a Pick Up Man for someone in need.” The new nationwide 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline information is also included. Individuals who see friends, family members, or neighbors struggling with mental health are encouraged to reach out.
The Pick Up Man campaign will continue as part of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Foundation and its mission to support the educational and philanthropic activities of Cheyenne Frontier Days, Inc. “Suicide touches everybody. It’s critical we all become a Pick Up man for someone else or reach out to our Pick Up man when life feels overwhelming. Yellow feathers help start the conversation of bringing awareness to suicide prevention and highlighting the need to reach out when needed,” said Renée Middleton, Executive Director of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Foundation.
“Our western culture of independence and self-reliance may inhibit people from seeking help, or people from offering help,” Tom Hirsig, CFD CEO said. “In rodeo, we call the pick up man a lifesaver in the arena. Every cowboy knows the pick up man is out there to help, to give a hand. And the athletes do not hesitate to reach out for help. We want everyone to use that example in their lives.”
The campaign acknowledges that suicide rates in the Rocky Mountain West are among the highest in the nation. “We wanted to raise awareness about these high rates in our state and region and make sure that individuals are connected to the national 988 hotline, where appropriate counseling can be provided,” said Rick Schum, CFD Foundation Board.
CFD will continue selling “Pick Up Man” hat feathers and necklaces as part of the campaign with net proceeds being given to local suicide prevention efforts.