H&M Youth Rodeo Series, based in Howes, S.D., has been selected as the recipient of the first $25,000 Hometown Pride 2.0 grant, presented by the Cenex® brand and CBH Cooperative, based in Sturgis, S.D. The grant initiative, established by Cenex, the energy brand of CHS, to support philanthropic efforts that connect communities, helps build brighter futures in rural communities for generations to come.
H&M Youth Rodeo Series was nominated by CBH Co-op and selected as the initiative’s first 2.0 recipient for its commitment to advancing youth sports and the program’s work as a catalyst for community connection.
Since 2008, the series has helped engrain in youth both the technical aspects of the sport of rodeo — riding and roping — and life lessons of responsibility, confidence and perseverance. From the program’s humble beginnings, directors Billy and Katie Martin and countless volunteers have worked to keep this Western tradition alive, growing the program from six to nearly 100 local participants. The program has helped young athletes realize their potential, with some even competing at the collegiate and professional levels. Rodeo is often one of the few outlets for youth in that region to pursue college scholarships, where opportunities to participate in other organized sports are limited.
“We are beyond grateful that CBH Co-op and Cenex are helping us build a lasting legacy,” the Martins say. “Upgrades to our arena will impact generations to come and, even though we’re a small community, there’s none more passionate.”
The Martins say the grant will be used to future-proof the program’s facilities for current and future participants. Updates to H&M Arena, where the series is held, will include new fencing and terrain, sound system upgrades, new bleachers and a picnic pavilion to accommodate crowds of 300-plus family and friends who come from miles around to cheer on competitors.
“These updates will be crucial to the current and future athletes of H&M,” says Nick Alderson, CEO of CBH Co-op. “We are thankful to partner with the Cenex brand and be able to provide this support that deeply affects this community.”
By the end of this year, local organizations across the Cenex footprint will have received a total of $400,000 in Hometown Pride grants since the initiative launched in 2019. The initiative gives Cenex branded dealers, retailers and distributors the opportunity to nominate worthy organizations in their hometowns. In 2021, Hometown Pride 2.0, a new phase of the initiative, was launched to make a bigger local impact with larger grants awarded to local efforts with a philanthropic and community-building focus.
“The Cenex brand is committed to supporting and celebrating what makes local communities across America special,” says Mimi Berlin, marketing and communications expert at CHS. “We're proud of our Cenex branded network of dealers, including CBH Co-op, who are actively involved in supporting local organizations, traditions and change-makers in their community.”