About 40 special needs kids got to be cowboys and cowgirls during the Ag-ceptional Rodeo at the Four States Ag Expo.
The children came from local schools, including Cortez, Bayfield and Pagosa Springs. They were given roping lessons by Hardy Tozer, competed in a sack race, participated in a parade, rode bull-riding equipment and ran through an obstacle course with stick horses.
“It lets them cut loose and try something new,” said Chrissy Hancey, a teacher from Pagosa Springs. “They love seeing all the animals.”
The children happily petted the horses of the Montezuma County Mounted Patrol and listened to horse trainer Brandi Lyons talk about horse behavior.
Teacher Jason Thomas brought his students over from Bayfield.
“We talked about rodeos for weeks beforehand, and now they are so excited to be living it,” he said. “The kids came decked out in Western wear, and are having a lot of fun.”
The Ag-ceptional Rodeo gives local youths with special needs the chance to learn how to rope, ride and barrel race in a safe environment, said event co-organizer Cindy Clare.
Co-organizer Kristi Ross said the recent snowstorm kept many schools from the event, but those that came were glad they braved the roads.
“To see their jubilant faces says it all,” she said.