MARC BENCE/FOR METRO EDMONTON
Edmonton students with special needs may find the hoopla of the Canadian Finals Rodeo overwhelming, but Rodeo Magic day at Rexall Place — allowed almost 200 kids to rope cows, ride horses and meet real cowboys.
"I love horses," Nathan Christianson, 8, said.
"This is a chance for him to get to interact with animals, other kids and cowboys — who he really admires," said his mother, Sarah.
For more than a decade, CFR volunteers have hosted the annual event, which allows children with special needs to participate in rodeo events on a one-on-one basis with participants at the CFR.
"This year we’ve had about 80 per cent of our roster volunteer their time," said Bonni Clark, public relations specialist for Northlands. "This morning is really the highlight for a lot of our volunteers and, for the kids — it provides them a chance to have fun in an environment that is age and skill appropriate."
"It’s a great chance for us to help the kids," said team roping competitor and volunteer D.J. Woodward. "We get to show them the real ins-and-outs of rodeo."
Yesterday’s Rodeo Magic marked the 13th year the event has been held at Rexall Place.