There’s more to Bronco Mendenhall than meets the eye. BYU football’s head coach not only runs football practice, he rides Harleys and bulls too.
The Holly and Bronco Mendenhall Foundation held two events on Saturday to raise money for charity. Saturday morning, Bronco and 118 other leather-clad bikers met at the Timpanogos Harley Davidson for a pancake breakfast followed by a 200-mile ride through Provo Canyon.
Later that evening, Bronco donned hat and boots for the Cowboy Ball where invited guests paid $200 a plate and spent thousands on auctioned items including a custom painted BYU Harley Davidson motorcycle. Between hobnobbing with guests and signing footballs, Bronco also managed to find time to ride the mechanical bull.
Rick Story, the Director of Business Development at Timpanogos Harley Davidson, has participated in the foundation’s annual events for the last three years. As the go-between for the foundation and Harley Davidson, he said he’s enjoyed his time working with the Mendenhalls.
“I think it’s a great charity,” Story said. “It helps those kids out. Bronco’s a pretty intense guy, but he lightens up when he’s around those kids.”
Bronco and his wife, Holly, started the foundation shortly after he was hired as BYU’s head football coach.
“I just didn’t think our team was giving back enough,” Bronco said, “and we realized all we had to do was look at the community and there was people in need.”
Shortly thereafter, Bronco and the football team began a program called Thursday’s Heroes where people in the community facing significant life challenges were invited to attend football practice and hang out with the players.
“Players started to suggest families they knew, ward members started to suggest people they knew and we just thought that coming to meet the team and watching us practice would be fun for them,” Bronco said.
Now in its seventh year, the Holly and Bronco Mendenhall Foundation has continued to grow in size and scope. To better meet the needs of people in the community, Bronco and Holly have started holding annual events like the Gridiron Rumble and Cowboy Ball. Proceeds from both events go to fund programs like Thursday’s Heroes and a grant system Holly recently set up to assist people with medical bills and other financial needs.
Bronco’s goal, however, is not just to help people in the community, but to build up the players he coaches.
“One of the main purposes was also to help teach our children and our team to focus on other people and to serve,” Bronco said.
According to Bronco, perspective is the main thing he wants his children and the football players to gain while participating in this foundation.
“The things they think are difficult, the things they think are hard pale in comparison to what others are going through,” Bronco said, “and I hope they become more appreciative for what they have.”
In the future, Bronco said he wants to see the foundation expand to help as many people in the community as possible.
More information about Bronco Mendenhall and the Holly and Bronco Mendenhall Foundation can be found at www.BroncoMendenhall.com.