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Family fun for a good cause

It was buckskin, bandannas, and bales of hay, Western boots and cowboy hats galore Friday night at the Greenville YMCA football field. There was the smell of chicken and burgers sizzling on grills, the sight of balloons bobbing in the breeze; the sounds of children’s laughter and the whinny of horses.

A party? A rodeo? Yes, and a whole lot more.

Relay For Life celebrated 25 years as the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser this year. Friday night’s Western-themed “Rustlin’ Up a Cure” marked the 12th such event in Butler County.

The local RFL committee has been planning this event since last year. Teams have been holding fundraisers for several months.

People with full time jobs, families and other obligations gave of their time, talents and humanity to make it happen.

And it was a lot of fun.

Those brave enough to take on the mechanical bull ride provided spectators with plenty of thrills and spills; youngsters discovered corralling a chicken across a finish line is much easier said than done, and the males good-humored enough to don wigs, makeup and high heels brought many laughs in the womanless beauty pageant.

All that fun is serious business, however. Most of those who played a role in Relay have been touched by cancer.

They’ve lost immediate family members, close friends, classmates, co-workers; they’ve battled it themselves. They want advances in research, better treatment methods; a cure.

And so they assembled Friday night to celebrate those who could proudly make the Survivors’ Walk and to remember those represented in the beautiful Luminaria and Torch of Hope ceremonies.

They came to fight back.

Relay 2009 didn’t quite make its monetary goal of $100,000. But in terms of bringing a community together to battle a common foe and doing it with heart and humor – “Rustlin’ Up a Cure” was a complete success.

Well done, Butler County.