Roping, Wrangling and Riding in the Lil’ Rustlers Rodeo
The stands were filled with eager spectators watching as more than 70 Lil’ Rustlers wrangled their way to the around NRG Center Main Arena in the Lil’ Rustlers Rodeo Wednesday, March 6.
Lil’ Rustlers Rodeo is an event hosted by the Special Children’s Committee that allows children with special needs to participate in their own rodeo. The children and their families are invited to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ to have fun at the Lil’Rustlers Rodeo. Later, some participants rode in the grand entry and watched the Rodeo.
This makes sure the Rodeo has something for everyone, said Suzanne Andrews, Special Children’s Committee vice chairman.
For Andrews, the Lil’ Rustlers Rodeo is what she loves. As an occupational therapist, she gets to work with special needs children all day and is passionate about their needs.
“I love bringing the kids in and seeing their smiles.” Andrews said.
Kids can ride a see-saw bucking bull, rope a calf dummy, ride a horse and stick horse barrel race. Each child that participates is accompanied by a volunteer from a Rodeo committee. Every committee was represented.
“I liked petting the goats,” said Noah Murry, a Lil’ Rustler cowboy. “Their fur was soft and fluffy and the horns were hard.”
Noah got to do all the things real cowboys would do and enjoyed roping a calf dummy. In fact, he roped steer on his first try.
The Lil’ Rustlers Rodeo is not just for the kids, but their parents too. With the eager volunteers, parents get to sit back, watch and know their child is in good hands.
“Having the volunteers out there helping the kids is really meaningful,” said Amanda Murry, Noah’s mom. “It’s nice to see him go out on his own and be independent.”
Each cowboy and cowgirl received a Lil’ Rustlers Rodeo belt buckle, Bowlegged “H” trophy, picture and goodie-bag filled with prizes to remember their time at the Rodeo.