Roping a chance to celebrate and share life
Wed, 10/11/2017 - 10:07am admin
God had put it on our hearts to share with a local family in need of financial support at this time."
On the afternoon of Friday, July 22, 2016, Anna Keszler received the telephone call no parent wants to receive.
Her blonde haired, blue eyed son, who had turned one year old the day before, had been found unresponsive in his crib. Anna rushed to his side, and Cooper received medical attention within minutes. Still, after a harrowing Life Flight trip to Sioux Falls, Anna and Dylan were forced to say goodbye to their young son.
In addition to the disabling grief of losing Cooper, Dylan and Anna found themselves faced with the inevitable medical bills from all of the interventions aimed at saving Cooper’s life. Even after the family’s insurance had covered their portion, there was a seemingly insurmountable amount due.
“My parents and some of their close friends came up with the idea of holding a benefit of some sort, and anyone who knows our family knows team roping is our game,” Anna said.
Anna’s parents, Jim and Betty Selchert, New Underwood, enlisted the help of many people from around the New Underwood area. Support poured in from people who donated and purchased auction items, as well as from those who came to rope. The event was a success, and the Keszler’s needs were met.
Dylan and Anna faced a tough year of learning a new normal – one without Cooper. As they battled through the first anniversary of losing Cooper, they felt a calling to reach out to help someone else the way they had been helped through the benefit roping. They chose to make Cooper’s roping into an annual event so they could pass on the blessing.
“God had put it on our hearts to share with a local family in need of financial support at this time,” said Anna.
The second annual Cooper Keszler Memorial Roping took place in the New Underwood arena Saturday, Oct. 7. The majority of the funds raised will be gifted to another area family.
While the Keszlers and their families have shouldered some of the cost of the roping on their own, they also have been joined in their efforts with donations of many kinds from people across western South Dakota. Concessions, which were offered for a free will donation, featured meat and buns donated by Grocery Mart, Sturgis. A family friend with a Sam’s Club membership picked up other concession items at the cheaper club prices, thereby cutting costs. Monte Sandal, owner of Moe’s Bar & Grill, New Underwood, supplied beer and donated the profits back to the roping benefit fund. Numerous friends and family members of the Keszlers stepped in to provide manpower for everything from the roping logistics to the concession stand. The New Underwood Roping Club donated the use of the arena.
Prizes were also donated by area craftsmen. First prize were rope cans made by Casey Bauer, second place earned jackets embroidered by Black Hills Embroidery, and third place was gift certificates for new ropes, donated in full by Triple R Tack.
Part of the funds raised in Saturday’s roping will finance Cooper’s headstone, which was placed by Dylan and Anna Oct. 10. The headstone was designed and crafted by Jess and Tabitha Harris, who worked with Dylan and Anna to create a lasting memorial honoring Cooper.
The funds that will be given to another family in need provide a living memorial for Cooper. Cooper was known as a happy baby who gifted people with his wide smile and bright eyes. He was adored by his older cousins and found it easy to make friends with just about anyone. It seemed fitting, therefore, for Dylan and Anna to spread some of the love associated with Cooper with another family.
The family who will receive the roping benefit funds has not been selected yet. The Keszlers are seeking nominations throughout this month, and the recipients will be chosen and named early in November. This is done purposefully, Anna said, so the family will have the blessing in hand in time for Thanksgiving.
“We continue to be blessed by so many, and we want to honor our sweet Coop’s memory by sharing that blessing with another family,” Anna said.