Blue Feathers Provide Hope At National Little Britches Finals

Seeing a light blue feather tucked in the side of a competitor's hat is becoming more and more common among rodeo competitors recently, but it represents far more than a mere fashion choice.

Instead, rodeo athletes will once again adorn their headwear at this week's National Britches Rodeo in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to raise awareness for the Hope Counts Foundation, which raises money to help rodeo families during catastrophic events such as accidents or life-threatening illnesses.

In December 2013, the National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLBRA) Executive Board unanimously approved adopting Hope Counts as the crisis fund of the NLBRA. The most significant contribution, $25,000 from Busby Quarter Horses, was presented on behalf of Amberley Snyder, the 2009 National Little Britches Rodeo Association world all-around champion, who chose Hope Counts as her charity of choice.

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Sydnee Christensen of Utah founded the Hope Counts Foundation when she was just 12 years old. She wanted to help rodeo kids when they are injured or when a family is facing circumstances in which assistance may be warranted.

Christensen started brainstorming ideas for a logo and possible names of what could become a future charity. After a little bit of persuasion, Christensen's mom started to help her put the business side of things together. They wanted to be sure the foundation was set up properly, so when businesses donated, they received the benefits of tax write-offs.

"It is my belief that good things happen when good people do the right things for the right reasons," Christensen said.

I like helping others in need, it makes you feel good if you help someone rather than yourself.
As Christensen and her mother planned ways to raise money at the National Little Britches Finals, they came up with the idea to clean trailers. When competitors arrive at the National Little Britches Finals with dirty trailers, a group of volunteers come together to clean out each for a donation.

The Little Britches Queens and Princesses started getting the blue feathers out at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR), and the talk of the rodeo became "what does the blue feather mean?"

Berry Landen was moved to make an informative video about the Hope Counts Foundation after being involved with the organization.



The Little Britches Rodeo Association used the video to use at its booth at Cowboy Christmas and at its booth at the Thomas and Mack. The official Wrangler NFR website and Facebook fan page have also posted the video.

The Hope Counts Foundation has grown over the years and now hosts several different fundraisers throughout the year. If you would like to learn more about the Hope Counts Foundation or how to become involved, please check out its website.

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