WC Challenger Charities raises $132,000 for community

By Messenger Staff | Published Wednesday, September 7, 2016
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Threatening skies couldn’t deter organizers of the 13th annual JW Hart PBR Challenge and the Eighter from Decatur BBQ Challenge from continuing their tradition of success by raising $132,000 for community organizations earlier this summer.

“And the 2016 bull riding actually came off without a hitch on a beautiful June night,” said WC Challenger Charities (WCCC) President Andrew Rottner.

“The commitment to Wise County by our directors, our sponsors and our volunteers is unquestionable,” he said. “These are great and compassionate people.”

WCCC was founded in 2004 by local businessmen Wendell Berry Jr., Calvin Jackson, Rottner and the late Roy W. Young. Alan Sessions has been a WCCC member for several years.

That first year it raised $33,500.

Since then WCCC has provided $957,100 in direct financial support to local civic and non-profit groups as well as the Rider Relief Fund and Military Warriors Support Foundation.

Despite inclement weather, the barbecue challenge raised $22,000 this year for the Roy Young Scholarship Fund, Wise Area Relief Mission, Wise County Animal Shelter Buddies and the Decatur Fire Department. In three years, the barbecue committee has donated $67,500 to these organizations.

In the bull-riding arena, the Young Guns Challenge proved to be “an exciting, value-added feature,” Rottner said. “As always, we try to bring a higher level of entertainment for our fans and our sponsors.

“We drew an excellent crowd that came to spend their time and money and see what a great community we have.”

The highlight of every JW Hart PBR Challenge comes after the dust or mud has settled: the presentation of checks to those it benefits.

“Really this is why we put on this event,” Rottner noted.

Berry explained: “We showcase Wise County while raising much-needed funds. For instance, our 1000 Miles Till Home division of WCCC has assisted Military Warriors Support Foundation in providing 15 mortgage-free, gift-tax-free homes to our veterans.”

Jackson added: “We are so very appreciative of our loyal sponsors and fans. We hope they can see the return their investment in the bull-riding and barbecue challenge yields for Wise County.”

United Way

UNITED WAY – Alan Sessions (left) and Andrew Rottner of WC Challenger Charities present $25,000 to Martin Woodruff of United Way of Wise County. With them are WCCC’s Wendell Berry Jr. and Calvin Jackson. WCCC raised the money at its J.W. Hart PBR Challenge bull riding. Over the event’s 13 years, WCCC has raised $324,000 for United Way and has been one of the umbrella organization’s biggest supporters. Berry, Jackson, Rottner and Roy Young founded WC Challenger Charities in 2004. Sessions has helped shoulder the load for the volunteer organization since Young’s death in 2012. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Helping Out

HELPING OUT – Decatur Fire Department’s Deroy Bennett and Wise County Animal Shelter’s Brenda Argrave accept $1,000 checks from barbecue challenge director Wade Watson. Since 2014 the shelter has received $5,000 and the firefighters $2,500. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Boots and Saddles Support

BOOTS-AND-SADDLES SUPPORT – WCCC’s Alan Sessions (left) and Wendell Berry Jr. reward four organizations that help with the bull riding. Deroy Bennett accepts $4,250 for the Decatur Youth Fair Buyers Association, an original participant with a 13-year total of $27,200. Kimberly Luco and Dillan McGuire claim $500 for the Decatur Rodeo Club ($4,750 over five years). Robin Meadows receives $1,500 for Paradise Buyers Association ($2,500 for three years), and Lonnie Drews shows off a $2,250 check to Decatur FFA Alumni ($4,750 two-year total). Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Support for Wise Efforts

SUPPORT FOR WISE EFFORTS – Calvin Jackson presents $500 to Mike Martinez and Bryan Massey of Wise County Emergency Medical Services, for a WCCC total of $3,000 since 2004. Judge J.D. Clark accepts $1,000 for use at the county fairgrounds. Challenger Charities also gave $1,000 to the Wise County Youth Rodeo (three-year total $3,000). Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Freedoms Defenders

FREEDOM’S DEFENDERS – Andrew Rottner presents $2,000 to Wise County Veterans Group representatives Tom Thompson, Bob Wiley, Bob Johnson and Al Smith, bringing WC Challenger Charities’ total contributions to $11,650 since 2005, the second year of the event. WCCC again gave $60,000 to the Military Warriors Support Foundation, for $280,000 since 2013. It has assisted in providing 15 mortgage-free homes to armed-forces families. WCCC’s Wendell Berry Jr. leads the local effort known as 1,000 Miles Till Home. Messenger photo by Joe Duty


HELPFUL – WC Challenger Charities shows its gratitude to those who help stage the JW Hart PBR Challenge. Calvin Jackson (left) and Andrew Rottner present $2,000 to Cross Timbers A&M Club’s Shawn Mann and $2,000 to Decatur Rotary Club’s John Lanier. Rotarians have earned $15,400 since 2005 and the Aggies $13,050 since 2007. WCCC also gave $2,500 to the Rider Relief Fund, which aids injured rodeo contestants and their families, for a 13-year total of $58,000. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Decatur Does Its Part

DECATUR DOES ITS PART – WC Challenger Charities’ Alan Sessions (left) presents $1,000 “thank you” checks to Wade Watson, representing the Decatur Independent School District ($2,000 since 2015), and to Anna Coker and Vic Morton for the children’s summer meal program on behalf of First Baptist Church ($4,000 since 2014). Representing the city of Decatur, Joe Duty receives $2,500 (two-year total $3,500). For a second year, WCCC gave $1,000 to the Decatur Church of Christ’s communitywide, back-to-school effort. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Young Scholarship

YOUNG SCHOLARSHIP – Roy Young was a founder of WC Challenger Charities, and for a third year the organization is giving $10,000 to a college scholarship in his memory, funded by the Eighter From Decatur BBQ Challenge. From left are Wendell Berry Jr., Andrew Rottner, Linda Young, Debra Young Walker, Wade Watson, Calvin Jackson and Alan Sessions. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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