COEUR d'ALENE - It's a little taste of rodeo with a whole lot of pink.
Hundreds of women have learned to rope and ride, line dance and even compete in barrel races with stick ponies through Chicks N Chaps. The all-women rodeo clinic, going into its sixth year, has become a sell-out event at the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo, raising tens of thousands of dollars for charity.
"It's just a great time for women to get together, support other women and take a Friday off from work," said Mary Larson, a North Idaho Fair and Rodeo Foundation vice-president and one of the event founders. "There's something about the spark women get when they're around other women in a casual atmosphere."
Tickets for the Aug. 22 event, which runs from 2 to 6 p.m., are on sale now. Proceeds from the event benefit the Kootenai Health Foundation Cancer Patient Support Program and the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo Foundation.
The cancer patient support program provides women fighting breast cancer with funding for things insurance doesn't cover, from gas to get to treatment to food to everyday necessities, Larson said.
Chicks N Chaps participants will spend the afternoon learning about different aspects of rodeo.
In past years, a stock contractor has taught the women about the animals of the rodeo and cleared up misperceptions about how the animals are treated and cared for, Larson said.
In addition to learning to lasso and ride broncos, the women learned about barrel racing and rode toy ponies in a spirited competition.
Registration for Chicks N Chaps also includes fair admission, dinner catered by Texas Roadhouse, a custom event T-shirt and goody bag. Live and silent auctions and raffles are planned.
All women participating in Chicks N Chaps also get preferred seating in the "Chick Pit" at that night's Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" Rodeo.
Chicks N Chaps committee member Crissy Gilmore, a breast cancer survivor, will be singing the national anthem at the rodeo.
Tickets are $80 each or $750 for a table of eight, which includes table sponsor signage and a personal "ranch hand."
Tickets are available at www.northidahofair.com.