Area residents will have two opportunities next weekend to enjoy country music and two chances to help those battling breast cancer.
Justin Moore will be the headlining musical entertainment for the Bridget’s Gift Western Dance & BBQ Pink Fest on Oct. 19 at Cocopah Casino.
But festivities will actually get under way the night before in a pre-party in Yuma that will feature fellow country star Coffee Anderson, who also will perform at the concert.
Proceeds from sales of tickets for the Saturday dinner and dance and from the cover charge for the pre-party at the Kress Ultra Lounge will go into a fund to help breast cancer patients and their families defray medical expenses and associated costs.
Also appearing at both events will be GWYNN, a trio of musically gifted sisters who are gaining increasing popularity among Yuma audiences, and Downtime, a longtime Yuma band that has shared the stage with visiting country stars at previous Bridget’s Gift concerts.
The Bridget’s Gift fund is named for Bridget Orta Martinez, a Yuma native who died of breast cancer in 2011. Her memory inspired her friends and family members to organize the annual western dance and barbecue and other activities to bring in money to help others in the Yuma area who struggle with the disease.
Patients or their families apply for assistance from the account, and the Bridget’s Gift committee reviews the applications and distributes money accordingly, says Wendy McKay, a member of the committee and an organizer of this year’s festivities.
McKay figures the panel divides up about $60,000 annually among applicants, who can apply the money toward costs of medical care or to any household expenses that result from the cancer diagnosis.
Since the funds inception, “we have helped over 80 Yuma woman and their families while they’re battling breast cancer,” she said.
This is the ninth year of Bridget’s Gift festivities.
This year “Pink Fest” was tacked onto the end of the name, given that pink is the designated color for breast cancer awareness, said McKay. “We’re celebrating our Yuma warriors, was basically our thought behind it.”
This isn’t the first year for the pre-party, but Friday marks the first time it will be hosted at the Kress Ultra Lounge. The new owner of the Kress, Robbie Rodriguez, a member of the fund committee, committed to donating proceeds from the $5 cover charge for the pre-party to the account that helps Breast.
Doors open at 9 p.m. Friday at the Kress, 284 S. Main St., for what Rodriguez says will be a chance to attend an “up close and personal” performance by Anderson.
Anderson, a Texas native whose first name is pronounced “Cof-fay,” has appeared once before in Yuma and his wife is from this area, says McKay.
His career dates back to his college days when he learned chords practicing with a loaned guitar in his dorm room, according to his website. Unable to get record labels to sign him, he used his Youtube channel to gather a large following, then started producing albums and booking appearances on his own. “Cowboy Style,” his recent release, debuted at No. 2 on the iTunes country charts, and he has performed on “Fox and Friends,” Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze,” CMT, GET, TNN and NBC.
On Saturday, gates at Cocopah Casino, 15318 S. Avenue B, open at 5 p.m. for the tri-tip dinner and dance at which Moore is the headliner.
Moore, an Arkansas native and singer-songwriter, has produced repeated chart-topping albums over a career that has spanned more than a decade, among them “Kinda Don’t Care,” “Off the Beaten Path” and most recent “Late Nights and Longnecks.”
GWYNN is made up of the Gwynn sisters of Yuma – Mia, 16, Kylie, 14, and Lila, 11. Formed a couple of years ago, the trio appears at events around Yuma, performing a mix of covers and original songs that cross multiple genres.
Downtime, whose members have more than 70 years of combined experience in music, play around the region at clubs, casinos fair and charity events that include the United Way and Wounded Warrior Project.
Tickets to Saturday’s event are $60, which includes the dinner. Tickets can be purchased at The Boot Barn, 242 W. 32nd St.; online at cocopahresort.com, or inside the casino the day of the event.