Golden Circle of Champions Brings NFR Contestants and Children Together for Special Day

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DEC 5, 2021

Golden Circle of Champions Brings NFR Contestants and Children Together for Special Day


Image provided by Steve Spatafore

The Golden Circle of Champions, in conjunction with Las Vegas Events, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Red Bluff Round-Up, Santa Maria Elks Rodeo and Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, honored 20 children and their families fighting life-threatening cancer during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Founded in 2016 in conjunction with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, the Golden Circle of Champions was conceived to raise awareness and provide funds to help those children in need. Each year, families are honored during the opening night of the rodeo. Through donations and fundraising efforts, support is provided directly to the families to fulfill their most urgent needs: paying bills, buying medicine and caring for their family.

What started at the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo has become a tradition in Las Vegas to continue the vital mission of the Golden Circle of Champions. Ten local Las Vegas families along with 10 families chosen from PRCA-sanctioned rodeos from across the country were treated like champions at rodeo-themed activities in their honor. Each of the 20 families in attendance included a child between the ages of 6 and 14 years of age who has been diagnosed with life-threatening cancer or associated illnesses.

While in Las Vegas during the Wrangler NFR, the children and their families were honored at the Golden Circle of Champions Banquet at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa on Sunday, December 5 at 12 p.m. PT. The children then had an opportunity to dine with rodeo champions, receive special gifts and learn about the sport of rodeo. This evening, all honorees will attend the Wrangler NFR at the Thomas & Mack Center.

“The Red Bluff Round-Up Association is excited to again partner with the Golden Circle of Champions during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas,” said James Miller, general manager of the Red Bluff Round-Up. “We, at the Red Bluff Round-Up, continually strive to make a positive impact in our community. It is phenomenal to see so many sponsors, rodeo committees, volunteers and Wrangler NFR contestants joining forces in this opportunity to make these kids, who are facing such a devastating disease, feel like the true champions they are. To witness the smiles on these kids’ faces as they enjoy such an incredible experience is special.”

“Our goal is to bring education and awareness, locally and nationally, to pediatric cancer and offer a ray of hope to the families that are navigating through this difficult journey. They desperately need our help as a community, and we want to let them know we are here for them,” stated Golden Circle of Champions Founder Tina Tonascia. “Our Team at the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo feels it is our job to continue to tell their stories about pediatric cancer, in the hopes that one day we will be able to make a difference. Being able to partner with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation to bring these families, contestants, committees and sponsors together is a huge stepping stone to achieving that goal.”

“We are so grateful and thrilled to once again be associated with the Golden Circle of Champions in 2021,” said Jeffrey R Gordon, president/CEO of Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. “This means so much to the children that are honored through this amazing event. We will be forever grateful to the NFR, Las Vegas Events, Wrangler and all those who make this day one of the most special days in our children lives who are battling cancer and life-threatening illnesses. The love and compassion that is shown by so many is absolutely spectacular and truly makes our hearts smile.”

For more information about the Golden Circle, please visit

Known as the richest and most prestigious rodeo in the world, the Wrangler NFR attracts the top 15 contestants in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding to compete for a share of the $10.257 million purse and the coveted PRCA Gold Buckle. In 2019, the event had a total attendance of 168,289 over the 10 days of competition at the Thomas & Mack Center and has sold out more than 330 consecutive performances in Las Vegas.

For more information on the Wrangler NFR, please visit or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR. For the latest Pro Rodeo news and Wrangler NFR coverage, please visit or through social media at @PRCA_ProRodeo.