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Rising rodeo stars get a lift

August 8, 2011

Aldele Pratt (l) delivers a $1,032 check to California High School Rodeo District 9 President Haley Oney on behalf of the LADWP employees union. Also present from the union were Robin Moxley, Lori Dermody, Lori Gillem and Elsa Jimenez (l-r). Photo by Mike Gervais

District 9 California High School Rodeo received this week one of the largest donations in the district’s history – from a local employees union.
Workers with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power donated $1,032 to the Bishop-based high school rodeo on Thursday, surprising plenty of young cowboys and cowgirls in the process.
According to LADWP Store Keeper Adele Pratt, the donation is a direct result of employees with the department wanting to give back to the community.
“Every (local) employee in the union donates whatever they want out of their checks, and we divide it into shares and give it to different groups,” Pratt said.
This is the first donation the department has made to District 9, and, according to Kyle Oney, a rodeo parent, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“This is the first year that District 9 has been in the black in a long time, and it was hard, we had to cut a lot,” Oney said, pointing out that virtually every event District 9 rodeo contestants participate in is0 out of the area.
“It costs a lot and takes a lot of diesel to haul your animals back and forth for these things,” Oney said. “We’re really excited. It takes a lot to put on a rodeo.”
Oney’s daughter, Haley Oney, is a former District 9 rodeo queen and current president. Haley accepted the check on behalf of District 9 from representatives of the LADWP employees union Thursday.
Currently, representatives of District 9 are attempting to determine the best way to spend the money.
“We were shocked,” Oney said. “We just found out about this a couple days ago. Rodeo is kinda like the redheaded stepchild. We don’t get a lot of donations, but we can use them.”
Each year the local branch of the LADWP employee’s union donates thousands of dollars to local organizations and events.
Pratt said there are more than 30 beneficiaries of the employees’ generosity, ranging from the Girl Scouts to swim teams to the local Little League organization.
Pratt said each year the union takes a look at the total amount donated by its members, divides it into shares and decides what organizations need the funds the most.

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