Jacob Reynolds enjoysa rope trick from a rodeo clown Saturday

Rodeo Challenge a special day for children

Cowboys and cowpokes team up for great morning for wonderful kids

Children with special needs had their sights on great things as a special rodeo challenge brought cowboys and events to them.

With an especially sunny day Saturday, July 2, the Rodeo Challenge saw 25 children with special needs come into the Ponoka Stampede infield for a morning of modified rodeo events such as bull riding, tie down roping, horseback rides and even milking a cow. Keeping the kids company was a parent and cowboys with the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) who showed them the ropes all morning.

WPCA president Ed Wittchen said outriders, drivers and family members have been big supporters of the event from the first challenge held 17 years ago. “What I say to people is, everyone of us, no matter who we are in life, knows a special needs kid.”

“They (WPCA members) think this is one of the single most important things we do all year,” he added.

Mayor Rick Bonnett said of the events during the Ponoka Stampede week the challenge is one of his favourites. “The smiles on the faces of the families and the kids is something that you never forget once you see it.”

In talking with the parents and guardians, the joy on their children’s faces makes the challenge worthwhile.

This is the second year Greg Hodges brought his grandson, Aiden, to the challenge. “He likes the events. He has a lot of fun,” said Hodges with camera in tow.

“He talks about it for a week before and for a few weeks afterwards,” he said. “He’s got a trophy and he’s got his hat.”

Aiden is diagnosed with Hurler syndrome, a rare disease negatively affecting the enzymes the body produces. Hodges said a bone marrow transplant has helped with improving the condition.

But for Aiden, it’s the Rodeo Challenge that he enjoys the most and for weeks the cowboys and rides are the only things he can talk about.

Heather Reynolds brought her son for a second year in a row. “It’s been the highlight of his summer.”

“We couldn’t tell him until yesterday,” she said of his excitement. “Or he would not sleep.”

She enjoys seeing Jacob, who is diagnosed with hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, able to try new things and new events. It also gave him an opportunity to see friends from his community.

Spokesperson for the challenge, Ken Krossa, was pleased with the warm weather and the strong turnout. “Lots of help from the WPCA and of course the Stampede association. We couldn’t do it without them.”

The main goal: “To make a very special day for some kids that generally don’t have a special day for themselves.”

Stampede president Mike Stretch praised organizers Ken and Marjorie Krossa and Lynden and Diane Vold for their initiative in bringing the challenge to Ponoka. He enjoys seeing happy faces on all family members and the strong volunteer support from ride support to photographers.


Just Posted

Ponoka Stampeders zero for two against Stettler Lightning

Stamps prepare for Sunday home game against the Cochrane Generals

Ponoka cowboy Vernon (Bud) Butterfield passes away

The Ponoka Stampede Association announced his passing Friday

Ponoka’s ag event centre busy with show jumping event

Equine show jumpers came to the Calnash Ag Event Centre for a show jumping event

Environment Minister clarifies misconceptions in Bighorn proposal

Minister Shannon Phillips speaks to concerns around the Bighorn Country

Three Ponoka men and one youth charged in assault case

Police obtained a search warrant and located drugs and sawed-off shot gun

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

WATCH: Team Alberta in Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Ponoka RCMP are looking for a missing man

Police say he may be in Drayton Valley and they are worried for his wellbeing

Dog dies saving B.C. family from burning home

Homeowners safe but one pet missing, another confirmed dead following fire

Most Read