Sandhills Rodeo Holds 8th Annual Rodeo for Special Needs Children

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Every year the Sandhills Rodeo brings together a great crowd, but not every child can experience the event the way most people can.

"I like to watch the kids ride and watch how excited they get."

It's a special time for special children.

The rodeo focuses on children with specific needs like autism, cerebral palsy, or head injuries.

"Everybody else can come in and experience this, but it's hard for our kids with special needs to do that, so this gives them a venue to experience what everybody else has," Parent Riki Daniels, said.

The special rodeo activities include horseback riding and roping.

While this may be a fun way for special children to participate in the rodeo, it also helps with their therapy, which is beneficial for their needs.

"It helps stretch and exercise muscles, gets the rythm of the body together and believe it or not also helps with speech," Rodeo Coordinator Alice Cunningham, said.

The children are actually doing therapy and may not even know it.

Either way, parents say they're having a great time.

"They just enjoy it so much, and it's a special time for them," Parent Angie Bryant, said

A time spent with the family that these children truly appreciate.