Rodeo week is right around the corner, and one local organization is kicking it off with a rodeo dance.

Cowgirls with Heart hosts a rodeo dance as a fundraiser for their charity or nonprofit of choice. The tradition started in 2010 and was going strong until 2016.

After taking a break, the dance is making a strong comeback for this year’s rodeo. The event will support the Mustangs of America Foundation and its wild horse and burro inmate training program.

The Mustangs of America Foundation gives inmates the opportunity to train horses, and it continues the program with the Lanny Leach Colt Starting Academy in Southern Arizona.

Lanny Leach teaches horsemanship to parolees at his ranch in Willcox. The success of his program comes from a technique he described as a ‘recipe’.

I kinda talk about using a recipe, you use these ingredients you get a certain cookie, he said, adding no two trainers have the same technique.

He’s been able to help parolees since 2010. His wife, Kathy Leach, enjoys seeing the impact it has not only on the parolees, but also on herself.

Just to meet them, and Im honestly going to say just to get to love them. Especially the guys, when we know them more and more, Ill use Karl as an example. He was our student last spring and hes like our son now.

Karl Elkof shared to Kathy Leach after going through the program, “theres a big adjustment period for guys when they first come out. And this has really given me the chance to kind of center myself again.

The Leach Family’s work through the Mustangs of America Foundation is why Diane Storms, Cowgirls with Heart founder, chose to support the nonprofit.

Just on a personal level, we chose Mustangs of America because I truly do believe, and so does everybody else at Cowgirls with Heart, in second chances, said Storms.

The event will be at El Casino Ballroom at 437 E. 26th St. from 7 – 11 p.m. on February 16. For more information on the event, visit