By Mikayla Kemp
FULTON, NY – Dozens of bowlers saddled up on Saturday to help Oswego County Opportunities corral some much-needed funding.
“This is one of our major fundraising events,” Betsy Copps, OCO director of information and compliance, said of the Rodeo Bowl at Lakeview Lanes.
OCO has held the bowling fundraiser every spring for more than 10 years. Each year has a special theme and a specified area of interest for OCO to raise funds.
This year, crisis services was the focus of the fundraiser.
The crisis services is a very large area of interest for OCO.
Copps said that about 30,000 people receive services annually in the county.
“That’s about one out of every four people according to population standards,” she added. “So it is very possible it could be helping someone you know.”
With more than 50 programs ranging anywhere from receiving pre-natal care to providing meals for homebound seniors, Copps said anyone can fall along that line with a crisis.
“It can be anything. Lack of safe housing, children needing preparation for kindergarten, lack of transportation, domestic violence, anything that can be deemed a crisis,” she said.
Each year, the fundraiser event uses a different theme. This year it was Rodeo Bowl, Copps said.
“This gives the teams a chance to have fun and get creative,” she explained.
As a little bit of incentive, whichever team raises the most pledge money is able to return to the event next year free of charge.
On Saturday, nearly all participants came dressed in rodeo attire, while many others utilized props as well.
A team spirit award was presented to the team that had the most fun with the theme.
OCO augmented the theme by providing cowboy balloons at each table and a John Wayne cardboard cutout to take pictures with.
Many of the events and contests followed the Rodeo Bowl theme as well. Stick horse races were held, a selfie corral was available for participants to take their own pictures utilizing OCO provided props, and Clover the Cow was available for the manic milking contest.
Contestants paid $2 to see who could milk Clover the Cow the fastest.
There was also a silent auction providing numerous prizes, 50/50 tickets, a lottery board, a chicken barbeque and more to benefit OCO.
The fun was kicked off by employees and volunteers dancing the electric slide to the song, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” And, the fun continued all throughout the event.
The Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club reveled in the theme and all the fun it brought with it at Lane 19.
Linda Rossiter said, “We have a motto – if it’s fun, they will come!”
With their stick-on mustaches, sombrero hats, stick horses and rodeo outfits, the fun was in full supply.
They chose to participate in the fundraiser because, “We believe in supporting community events. That’s what the Rotary is all about,” Rossiter said.
LeVerne DeLand added that they make contributions to the OCO throughout the year.
The Nortfleet Strikers team, sponsored by Dr. Nortfleet, participates in the event each year as a family.
Jennifer Halstead said her parents, grandparents, sister and niece participate every year together.
Although Jennifer doesn’t bowl often, she enjoys bowling every year in this event with her father, John Halstead, who is an OCO employee, and the rest of her team.
“This event does really well, it’s a big hit every year” Halstead said.
Participants were encouraged to use the hashtag, #OCORodeoBowl to post their fun pictures and statuses to social media.
Numerous organizations and business chose to sponsor the event for OCO.
G&C Foods bowled on five lanes, Pathfinder Bank and Partners, Fidelis Care, National Grid and Fulton Savings Bank all sponsored and bowled in the event, to name a few.
“Lakeview Lanes makes a large donation and we’ve developed a great business relationship in this,” said Copps. “And, with our employees and so many volunteers helping, it really keeps the cost low so as much money as possible can go out to our crisis services.”
A complete list of sponsors can be found at www.oco.org
A private, non-profit agency, OCO’s many programs touch the lives of more than 30,000 Oswego County residents each year.
One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than 600 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1,200.
OCO strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives.
For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org