This year, Sort Pink of Montana will be celebrating their 10th year of fundraising for Tough Enough to Wear Pink. The event will be held at the Sapphire Arena which is north of Corvallis on Eastside Highway. It is a three-day event with the open on Friday afternoon. This will feature some of the top cowboys and cowgirls in the Northwest squaring off against a pen of cattle.
Team sorting is a high energy sport where two riders attempt to sort out 10 head of cattle in numeric order and put them into a separate pen. As the riders cross the timeline, the announcer gives them their starting number. The cattle have tags on their backs and the riders must pull that number out of the herd first and push it through the gate without letting any other cattle through. If a cow goes through out of order, the team is disqualified. There is also a time limit on each team.
Sandy Meyers has been involved with Sort Pink since the beginning. She said they are expecting upwards of 500 teams competing this weekend. The Open begins at 2 p.m. on Friday. Saturdays events will begin at 8 a.m. with a silent auction starting about 12 noon. Saturday night features a dinner by Mountain Bonhomie BBQ. Cost is $15 for adults or $75 for kids.
The feature of the night is a live auction and a calcutta auction where ‘celebrities’ team up with seasoned sorters for bragging rights and a chance to add money to the cause. Some of the local ‘celebrities’ are Bear Frisbie of the Flying D Ranch in Victor, Holly Berner representing the Wild Mare in Corvallis, and Desi Squires of Cliff Reed Trucking. A new face this year will be three-time Indian National Finals bareback champion Buck Lunak of Florence.
The event typically pays out about $20,000 in prize money. Last year, the event made $43,000 after expenses. Over the 10 years, the event has donated about $320,000 to Tough Enough to Wear Pink, according to Meyers. All of this money stays in Montana and is used to help put on mammogram days around the state, donations to organizations and individuals as well as raising awareness. There is no admission fee but be sure to bring money for the auctions and the dinner.