The newly-formed Giving Back Foundation is bringing a flicker of hope to devastated ranchers and farmers across the West. Brainchild of local cowboy, horse trainer and performer T. J. Casey and his wife Marcie, the nonprofit FoundationThe newly-formed Giving Back Foundation is bringing a flicker of hope to devastated ranchers and farmers across the West. Brainchild of local cowboy, horse trainer and performer T. J. Casey and his wife Marcie, the nonprofit Foundation
Billings, Montana – The newly-formed Giving Back Foundation is bringing a flicker of hope to devastated ranchers and farmers across the West. Brainchild of local cowboy, horse trainer and performer T. J. Casey and his wife Marcie, the nonprofit Foundation is based on one of the ancient principles and unwritten rules of the agrarian lifestyle. Whether your interpretation is "help one another" or "take care of your own", it translates into a wonderful way to help hurting ag producers across the US and Canada.
Sprung from cowboy roots and involved in the preservation and perpetuation of cowboy heritage through music and entertainment, the Casey’s were shocked and saddened by the mind-boggling widespread devastation of blizzards, drought, and savage wildfires across North America this year.
"As a cowboy and a horse trainer, I have been on or around ranches and ranchers all my life," T.J. says. "I’ve seen drought, fire, flash floods, tornadoes, blizzards and hail. There is nothing more devastating to a rancher or farmer than to have a loss of fields, pasture, livestock, grain, fence or winter feed."
Determined to help, the Casey’s contacted ag producers across the west and discovered the true depth of need. As the bitter months of winter draw near, ranchers and farmers who’ve been helping feed the world for decades are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, many clinging to their last hopes of staying in business . . . others trying to face the inevitability of losing everything.
No localized situation, this specter haunts ag producers from the Canadian prairies to the Texas panhandle, from Kansas to California, from New Mexico to Montana.
"The rancher and farmer have been the backbone of America for years, and it’s time we give something back," Casey insists. "Every man, woman and child here is dependent on the farmer and rancher for food, clothing and other necessities of life. We appreciate their hard work and what they provide for us, so we should let them know."
Turning to friends in the Western entertainment field, the Casey’s were overwhelmed by the empathy, concern and willingness to help exhibited by fellow artists. Why not use cowboy music and poetry as a fundraising vehicle?
Their embryonic project idea has grown into two truly enjoyable ways to lend a helping hand to those who’ve lost the most. First, there’s the Giving Back Concert and Appreciation Auction, coming to Holiday Inn Grand Montana, Trade Center in Billings on December 13th, starting at 7 pm.
Held in conjunction with the Annual Convention of the Montana Stockgrower’s Association (one of the Foundation’s strongest supporters), the concert will feature Ringling 5, Ken Overcast, Kail Mantle, Rusty Feathers, Open Range and T.J. Casey. Rarely is such an outstanding cast of traditional cowboy musicians, vocalists and entertainers assembled for a single performance.
Enhancing the premiere concert will be a huge silent auction, offering literally everything for the Western enthusiast; the perfect place to complete your Christmas shopping. For all this, tickets are a mere $10!
"We hope you’ll mark your calendars now and plan on being there," Casey urges. "Money raised by the nonprofit Giving Back Foundation will be distributed across the west to agricultural producers now in danger of losing everything."
The second facet of the Giving Back Foundation’s project is a two-set compact disc to be released for sale in December — hopefully the evening of the concert. These fabulous recordings will feature 25 selections by western singer/songwriters, musicians and cowboy poets who have unhesitatingly donated their art, time and effort to the Foundation. Northwest Farm Credit Services has also stepped up to generously sponsor the creation of the CD, enabling all proceeds to go directly to farmers and ranchers in need.
Participating artists hail from across North America, and include Eli Barsi & Doris Daley, T.J. Casey, Donnie Blanz, Bill Clark & Salt Creek, Jeff Gore, Geff Dawson, R.W. Hampton, Rusty Feathers, Kail Mantle, Terry Henderson, Dan Miller, Open Range, Ken Overcast, Sam Noble, Palo Duro, Mike Puhallo, Jim Reader, Delbert Shields, Ringling 5, Jay Snider, Sisters of the Silver Sage, Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, R. J. Vandygriff, Margaret Wilhelm and Barry Ward. The CD set will be available through the Montana Stockgrowers Association, selling for $24.95.
Additional support for the Foundation is currently coming from the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Northern Ag Network, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Cow Camp Communications, APEX Advisory Services, A to Z Media, Martin Guitar and Billings Educational Academy.
Corporate and private donations to this worthy cause are actively sought. If you find it in your heart to join the effort, go to www.ranchersandfarmers.org, call (406) 442-3420 or write Giving Back Foundation c/o Montana Stockgrowers Association, 420 North California Street, Helena, Montana 59601.
"Join the fun," urges T.J. Casey. "Attend this concert, buy a CD and let the farmers and ranchers know that we are here for them as they have been for us."