LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's a flashy but dangerous sport and the All American Cowgirl Chicks make trick riding look easy but in the arena the women are doing more than just performing they're riding for a cause.
"You are going to have guts, grit for sure because it's not glamorous," said All American Cowgirl Chick, Trish Lynn.
The All American Cowgirl Chicks are trick riders who do gymnastics on horseback.
"Trick riding is a lost, dying art. It's very dangerous," says Trish.
But the chicks do more than put on a show, the non-profit aims to provide free mammograms to women under 40, funds for cancer research and for the Wounded Warrior Project.
And every ride means even more now after cowgirl chick Sadie Lynn was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer at only 18.
"We were hit hard when Sadie was 18 in a trick riding wreck," said Trish. "She broke her ribs and her ribs didn't heal but you know what we would have never found that lump if we didn't have that unfortunate thing happen so something good came out of it."
"It wasn't just a horse wreck, it was a trick riding wreck," said Sadie Lynn. "Of course what I do isn't the easiest thing it's very dangerous and I just misplaced a strap and misplaced my hand and it was all over from there and I was drug the whole length of the arena by one foot underneath the horse so it was a pretty tragic fall."
"But with all it being so tragic it was kind of a God, a blessing type thing, because when I was healing I separated all my ribs, my sternum, my collar bone so like I said it was a pretty big fall," said Sadie. "But while I was healing I felt like my ribs weren't healing properly and I was like I felt like a knot and I didn't know what it was and my mom was like we'll go and get it checked just in case because you never know it could be your ribs not healing right and we went in and they thought it was a fibroadenoma tumor they didn't think it was anything big so of course we went in and had surgery and lumpectomy and pathology report came back as a phyllodes tumor."
That was when Sadie learned she had a rare malignant phyllodes tumor
"We were told she was too young to have this," said Trish.
"It could happen to anybody. It happened to me," said Sadie.
And now Sadie hopes her story will help educate other young women about early detection.
"That's what our goal is to reach and educated as many women and girls as possible," said Sadie. "If you go in for anything and even if you don't feel it there, get checked. And if they do find anything, get a biopsy, make sure you go through every single step possible. Don't skip a step because it sets you back and it's nobody's fault other than just age. You know they think you're so young but it could be anybody and even if it's not breast cancer, it could be anything."
"Help with the education of under 40, to help give free mammograms out there and that's what the great thing is about our organization in my opinion," said Sadie. "The great thing about being in the arena is to be able to tell the story and it's not just about my story, it's about what we can do to help cure this thing and we might not ever cure it but it's about peace of mind to help others."
"We just want to be a platform and a message board for young girls to get their mammograms, 18, know your body, get a second opinion and together we can fight it and make a difference." said Trish.
And after everything she's been through: a bad riding wreck, broken bones and breast cancer, Sadie still gets on her horse every day to ride for the cure.
"Our goal is to keep on moving and pushing and reach one person every rodeo," said Sadie.
"We're still fighting it every day and hope to god we're tough enough to beat it," said Trish.
Sadie says the next thing on her list is a double mastectomy and until then she's going to keep riding.
The Cowgirl Chicks is a non-profit organization. After all their expenses are paid (horses, fuel, etc...) the rest of the money goes back to cancer research and the Wounded Warrior Project, according to Sadie Lynn.
In addition to their philanthropy, the All American Cowgirl Chicks also rescue horses and give them another shot and a second chance, perhaps even a championship in the rodeo circuit.
The All American Cowgirl Chicks want to help educate people not only about breast cancer but about the trick rider lifestyle. They also want to stress that trick riding is very dangerous and even though the girls make it look easy it should not be tried at home without any formal guidance.
For more information on how to support the All American Cowgirl Chicks or join the group: http://cowgirlchicks.com/