Events Help Keep Fund Working For Kids

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Bobbie Jo Haught is hoping upcoming team roping and barrel racing events will earn enough money to keep the Gracie Lee Haught Children's Memorial Fund chugging on all cylinders.

"We do a lot of things with the money to help kids," she said. "One of our biggest projects is a safety week we sponsor at the elementary school and buy helmets for all the kids."

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The Gracie Lee Haught Children's Memorial Fund was created in honor of Gracie Lee Haught, who died in 2004 following an accident.

The fund has also helped pay children's medical bills, purchase toddler and infant car seats and pay for CPR and first aid training.

"If it's anything associated with medical help and safety for children, we can usually help out," she said.

The children's fund was started about three years ago, following the accidental death of Gracie Lee, Bobbie Jo's daughter, who was then 3 years old.

Bobbie Jo said the anguish from the loss of her child has never gone away and her family struggled for two years "to try and find an outlet for the grief and a way to help children and families in need."

From the family's heartbreak, and with the help of the Mogollon Health Alliance, the Gracie Lee Haught Children's Fund was founded.

"It is something very beautiful and something our whole community should be proud of and celebrate," Haught said.

In addition to the Children's Memorial Fund receiving financial backing from the team roping and barrel racing events, an annual Halloween costume party also supports it. The events will be Aug. 10 and 11. Last fall, the party earned $51,000 for the memorial fund.

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The jackpot barrel racing begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Payson Event Center. The format will be 4-D which will allow riders and their horses to compete against others with equal times.

A high school girls softball tournament is also played in memory of Gracie Lee.

The roping event on Aug. 11, however, is an inaugural fund-raiser.

"It is our first one. We will be learning how to do them so we can have many more," she said.

"We are getting a lot of help. The cattle have been donated and we have an electronic (timing) eye we can use," she said.

Some of the prizes, which include two trophy saddles, four buckles, two breast collars and two jackets, have also been donated.

The team-roping field has been filled, except for some openings for heelers.

The entry fee, all of which benefits the Children's Memorial Fund, is $200 per roper.

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