It’s a rodeo of exceptional proportions.
Special needs children will don their cowboy hats and boots and take part in the 2013 Nevada High School State Rodeo. The Exceptional Rodeo has roped in several special needs children who will test their skills in the arena.
The event begins at 12:30 p.m. and children can register until the start of the rodeo near the Churchill County Fairgrounds multipurpose building.
Jeff Goings, one of two directors for the Fallon Rodeo Club, said the unique event is being reprieved after falling under the radar the past several years. The rodeo is close to Goings, whose 19-year-old son with Emanuel Syndrome used to compete.
“We want to see more participation with the special needs community,” Goings said. “It’s something that we are really going to try and push forward.”
The fall off of the exceptional rodeo was due to the hectic schedule of the state rodeo, Goings added. Nevertheless, this year’s event is rejuvenate the Exceptional Rodeo.
“It’s not going to be as big this year as next year, because they’ll have more time to get organized and get the school districts (involved),” Goings said.
Also assisting in the rodeo is Samantha Gomes, who used to teach special needs children in the Churchill County School District.
While many of the children are delicate, and the sport is rough, Gomes and Goings said it is a static (no live animals) rodeo. In short, hand-built horses will be used in numerous events such as barrel racing.
“It’s a controlled environment,” Gomes said. “I’m super excited to see it.”
The event’s reprieve, though, came from high school cowboys and cowgirls aiming to give back. While the event has lost its way through the years, Goings said he is hopeful today’s rodeo will spark an interest in the special needs community.
“It’s a way they (the high school athletes) could give back to the community,” she added. “And also introduce children who aren’t typically around rodeo to rodeo.”
Despite the enthusiasm, Goings said registration is lower than expected. Currently, six to seven children will compete; although he hopes more will come out today.
Each special needs cowboy and cowgirl will win a prize, which Goings said is typically an item — such as a buckle — donated by the high school participants.
Gomes said a goat may be present for the children to pet as well as compete in four to five events.
“Each kid will end up with some type of award,” Goings said. “It’s going to be very minimal this year, but I do see the state association picking us up and going on with this. This is a good spot to kick this off again and get going.”