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Indian National Rodeo Finals Launches Health Campaign; Declares Diabetes Awareness Day

Indian National Rodeo Finals Launches Health Campaign; Declares Diabetes Awareness Day
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Each one, reach one. The Indian National Finals Rodeo is taking advantage of its captive audience, spectators and participants alike, inside the arena and out, to promote health awareness among Native American people. 

“Diabetes disproportionately affects Native Americans and INFR commissioners and staff are trying to get the message out to rodeo fans and athletes affected by this disease,” says program coordinator Dr. Steve Williamson (Blackfoot).

“We are committed to taking a leadership role for advocacy and education within the INFR community and are asking for support to disseminate that message,” Williamson said in a news release. “Our ultimate Diabetes Awareness campaign goal is first and foremost --- awareness. But we also focus on prevention and treatment to reduce the incidence and effects of diabetes in Native Americans both in, and around, the rodeo arena.”

“What we’re hoping to do is to get information out to Native Americans (and non-Natives too) about diabetes. You can never tell that story too often, especially when the disease affects Native Americans in such a disproportionate manner with such a devastating effect on both patients and their families,” Williamson said.

As part of the 39th Annual Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas (November 4-8), November 7 has been declared INFR Diabetes Awareness Day, sponsored by Novo Nordisk.

The day starts with a brisk walk at 8 a.m., followed by a 10:30 a.m. Booty Shake Brunch fundraising event at the South Point Hotel and Casino Exhibit Hall.

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“The Bootie Shake Brunch will be a key part of our effort --- free admission, diabetes-friendly food, silent and live auctions --- the sky’s the limit,” Williamson said. “We’d love to get to a point where we can start an endowment to fund our yearly diabetes awareness campaign, growing even larger each year to get the word out to more people that this is a disease that can be prevented and/or managed --- and awareness is the key.”

INFR Team Roping Champion Derrick Begay, PRCA World Champion Steer Wrestler Luke Branquinho, and Brandon Cole will be the guest speakers, Williamson said. Branquinho, a four-time world champion, who is currently ranked third in the world, will speak from personal experience as a Type 1 diabetic. 

The cowboys will also help announce the winners of the 2014 diabetes poster competition among young artists from age Headstart to 12th grade.

At 2p.m., the INFR Diabetes Benefit and Fashion Show will begin at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Veteran movie/TV actor Gary Farmer (Cayuga Nation) will host the show, along with actor Adam Beach. Darlene Perkins of Red Lightning Couture says that some of the models from the fashion show will also attend that evening’s Go Round buckle ceremony.

Winners of the All Around Cowboy and Cowgirl competition get to show off their Proud to Wear Purple shirts in recognition of their hardwork and dedication to the Indian Rodeo Diabetes Awareness events. Their campaign will also have a booth set up on the concourse throughout the week of championship where rodeo athletes and attendees can get their blood sugar and blood pressure checked.

“It’s taken a couple of years, and a lot of leg work and word-of-mouth promotion, but we’re becoming a more noticeable part of the rodeo activities,” says Williamson.