Bridgeport, CA - While rodeo committees from coast to coast celebrate our nation’s birthday with patriotic, cash rich performance purses, a group of professional cowgirls are giving their barrel racing equine partners the weekend off to spend time with our Marines.
Instead of chasing the cash and points during Cowboy Christmas, Wrangler National Patriot Cowgirls: Jenna Smeenk, Trisha Shields and Renae Cowley are spending the 4th with a very special group of Marines from the United States Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center and the community that supports them.
Saluting our military is nothing new for Wrangler National Patriots. Over the past 8 years they’ve found themselves on the battle fields of Afghanistan and Iraq and countless other remote locations around the world. With the ‘Wrangler National Patriot Memorial Day Tour’ heading into it’s 9th edition next year, the program’s sister tour, ‘Wrangler National Patriot Mountain Tour’ is celebrating it’s 6th visit to our Department of Defense’s only animal packers and special operations horsemanship instructional programs.
“This is my second 4th with the Marines and greater Bridgeport family that supports them and I can’t wait to be back around friends, breath the Sierra Nevada mountain air,” says Jenna Smeenk, a United States Air Force Veteran who deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq during her years with Air Force Special Operations Command, she adds, “There’s always going to be another barrel to race around, but there’s only one 4th each year and being invited by American300 to spend it with our Marines and their families is priceless.”
Joining Jenna, are fellow barrel racers: Renae Cowley and Trisha Shields, who continues to serve with our United States Air Force Special Operations Command. The three also hold Miss Rodeo titles with Trisha having served as Miss Rodeo USA, Jenna, Miss Rodeo Florida and Renae, Miss Rodeo Utah.
While their own horses are home taking a much deserved break in the pro-rodeo circuit this weekend, the cowgirls won’t be out of the saddle much.
Tony Parkhurst, USMC Master Sergeant retired, manages the equine programming for the training center and has the cowgirls lined out with almost nothing but riding. As tradition has it, the three will be honorary members of the ‘Marine Corps Dream Team’, which participates in Centennial Livestock Companies produced annual Bridgeport Ranch Rodeo, they’ll also ride side by side with Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center Cadre during the annual Bridgeport Parade on the 4th.
“American300 has been bringing world class Wrangler cowboys and cowgirls to the base and community for years now, their presence has become part of our July 4th fabric,” says Marcus Bunn, Centennial Livestock’s ranch manager and co-host of the ranch rodeo along with his wife Kim each year, adding, “it means a lot to see how much the western community comes together in recognizing this very special group of Marines, that live and operate in the mountains with us.”
About American300 - The all volunteer nonprofit has been engaged in producing resiliency minded engagements for our Department of Defense and Department of State since 2006. For more information visit: www.American300.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.