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‘We want people to remember who he was’: Memorial rodeo returns to Centre Hall

They lost their son in a rodeo accident. A year later, two parents set up a scholarship in his name.

Sabine and Doug Lutz lost their 19-year-old son Coy after a rodeo accident in May 2016. In response to the tragedy, they started the Coy Lutz Memorial Scholarship Fund to help high school kids like Coy. On Friday and Saturday, they helped host a P
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Sabine and Doug Lutz lost their 19-year-old son Coy after a rodeo accident in May 2016. In response to the tragedy, they started the Coy Lutz Memorial Scholarship Fund to help high school kids like Coy. On Friday and Saturday, they helped host a P

Doug and Sabine Lutz spent Sunday at Grange fairgrounds with friends and family, working in the heat to set up for the second annual Coy Lutz PRCA Memorial Rodeo.

For Sabine Lutz, it’s all about keeping her son’s memory alive.

“We do this so no one leaves Coy behind — we want people to remember who he was and what he did,” she said.

coy
Coy Lutz Photo provided

The Howard 19-year-old was a bareback rider, a four-time national qualifier and two-time Pennsylvania state champion in the High School Rodeo Association. He

died in May 2016

in a horse rodeo performance accident in Cowtown, N.J.

Last year, his family decided the best way to carry on Coy’s legacy was through the thing he loved most — rodeo. They held it at Grange fairgrounds for a special reason. The SayiWon’t brand has partnered with the Lutz family for the past two years in creating the Coy Lutz Memorial Rodeo T-shirts, and this saying has always held importance to the Lutz family.

“Everyone told us we wouldn’t be able to hold a rodeo at the Grange fairgrounds, and we responded with, ‘say I won’t, and I will.’ ” Doug Lutz said.

Last year’s rodeo had much more success than the family ever expected, with thousands in attendance.

“It’s humbling to know that so many people come out to this rodeo and were impacted by Coy’s story,” Sabine Lutz said. “I have received letters from people and scholarship recipients emphasizing what an impact Coy’s story has made in their lives.”

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Riders take a moment to bow their heads during a prayer at the Coy Lutz Memorial Rodeo in September 2017 at Grange Park. Phoebe Sheehan Centre Daily Times, file

Another way the Lutz family aims to keep Coy’s memory alive is by granting scholarships like the one that helped Coy reach his dreams at the University of Tennessee at Martin. The money for the scholarship fund comes from the memorial rodeo and fundraisers at a local farm show and at the Grange Fair.

In 2017, the Lutz family gave out two scholarships, one to a high school rodeo rider and another to a local high school student.

In June, they had the opportunity and the funds to give out more than $10,000 in scholarships. They awarded two rodeo rider scholarships and four local high school scholarships. The two rodeo scholarships went out to a boy in California and a girl from Tennessee.

While two of the scholarships are geared specifically to rodeo riders, the others are for any local student.

Reviewing scholarship applications is a family affair — Doug and Sabine Lutz sit down in their living room and make the selections with their daughters, Melanie Witherite and Laura Lutz. Each applicant is required to send in a video of themselves describing what they are passionate about.

“When picking scholarship recipients, we look for something that reminds us of Coy’s passion,” Sabine Lutz said.

The family hopes this year’s rodeo has another great turnout, and that the rodeo becomes an annual event where Coy’s legacy lives on.

“Last year was more about educating the people about the event and Coy’s story through advertising and social media, and I think that will help with this year’s attendance,” Witherite said.

The rodeo kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, beginning with Cowboy Church at 5:30 p.m., and will continue Saturday at the same time. For more information, visit www.coylutzmemorialprorodeo.com.

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