Photo and Story by Kali Hammon / Contributing Writer
Bull riding, steer wrestling and calf roping are only a few of the events offered at the 12th annual Lone Star World Championship Rodeo sponsored by Rutherford County Sheriff’s School Resource Officers in the Tennessee Miller Coliseum.
Originally, the rodeo served as a fundraiser for the SROs to support programs that they participate in such as archery teams, driver’s safety, drama clubs, Red Ribbon Week and Radkids. However, as time passed, the proceeds have gone to a new cause: children with special needs.
“One of our officers actually has a child who is special needs. After the second year of having the rodeo, we decided it would be a great idea to dedicate the rodeo to children with special needs,” said Sgt. Bill West. “We still get the money for our program, but the bulk of the money definitely goes towards the children with special needs.”
Although the rodeo is full of entertaining events, the biggest one took place Friday morning when students with special needs from all around Rutherford County took a field trip to Tennessee Miller Coliseum.
After being greeted with their very own straw cowboy hat, the students went inside for a number of activities. The students were able to ride horses and ponies, have their face painted, play games, take class pictures and watch a 30-minute rodeo. Teachers, students and educational assistants were also provided a free lunch.
“Aramark really helps us out. This year, we were able to provide over 1,200 lunches,” West said.
He also described the heightened support the rodeo received from other outlets this year.
“Every year we have kind of struggled with only having 6 or 7 horses show up and having 700-800 kids wanting to ride. This year we put some extra work into it and found some people who really wanted to help us, and we had 17 horses show up and maybe 900 kids. It was just amazing,” West said.
Families who attended the two-day rodeo were entertained with a variety of shows such as bareback bronc riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, cowgirl’s breakaway roping, chuckwagon race bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding and more.
“It’s definitely growing,” West said.
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