Photo by Valerie Shelton – Clovis resident Brian Sisco donates blood at the Rodeo Blood Drive.
By Valerie Shelton, Editor
For the 16th consecutive year, the Clovis Rodeo partnered with the Central California Blood Center for the annual Rodeo Blood Drive, held at the rodeo hall on Wednesday, April 20.
Leslie Botos, the director of community relations and development for the Central California Blood Center, said the rodeo blood drive in Clovis remains one of the largest blood drives in the state and nation and is the largest single day blood drive for the Central California Blood Center.
“The thing that is exciting about this for me, and I can take it really personally, is I was at the blood center in the 80s and the 90s and the Clovis Kawanis had a little blood drive on Clovis Avenue, along with Kiss Country, KNFX before that and Froggy before that, and to think what the Clovis Rodeo Association has done over the past 16 years is incredible,” Botos said. “We hear the group talk about giving back to the community and this is certainly an example of that. It is really a great day.”
One of the best aspects of the rodeo blood drive, Botos said, is that is attracts a good percentage of donors with type O- blood, which is the blood center’s greatest need. Very few people, about six to eight percent nationwide and around six to seven percent in the Central Valley, have O-, so when someone with that blood type needs a transfusion it can be hard to get them the life-saving blood they need. In 2015, 59 people who donated at the rodeo blood drive had type O-, which Botos says is huge.
“It gets to that really critical need that we have at this blood center because we have those high trauma cases here where O- is needed, or with Children’s Hospital, now that they are opening up their trauma unit for pediatrics, that is going to soar the need for it, so every donor we get here is vital,” Botos said.
This year, the goal was to have 1,102 donors in honor of the 102nd Clovis Rodeo. While they didn’t get quite that many donors in the door at the rodeo hall, over 900 pints of blood were donated.
“We are thrilled with every single donor who comes through the door,” Botos said. “We always set a goal to see more every day but we’re delighted with however many we get. What a community Clovis is, it is extraordinary…This is a great partnership we have here with the Rodeo Association members and their spouses; it really takes the whole family’s involvement. I look at Louis Rigsbee, she recruits the volunteers who work with us and it is wonderful. These are people who have done it for 16 years in a row. Then Kiss Country has been partnering with this since the 90s when Kiss Country came on the air so there is a lot of long-term relationships. It is pretty exciting.”
The sponsors for the 2016 Rodeo Blood Drive were the Clovis Rodeo Association, Kiss Country, PRCA, Fresno Kings County Cattle Women, PBR, American Cowboy Magazine, Boot Barn, Luna Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, Starbucks, Tahoe Joes, Texas Roadhouse, Port of Subs, Hometown Buffet, Uncle Harry’s, and CupCakes Bakery.