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

Yellow Vest Canada members make trip to Ponoka

A small group of Yellow Vest Canada members gathered at the Ponoka… Continue reading

Two wooden play structures in Ponoka set to be removed

No immediate plans to replace playground equipment

Sink hole from rain causes sewer line issue

Affected residents can now safely flush toilets

Bashaw seed cleaning plant holds official opening

New facility operating well since January

Friesian Horse Show celebrates FHANA’s 35th anniversary in style

FHANA’s 35th anniversary “a milestone”

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

Lightning hits pair of vehicles near Ponoka

AMA urges drivers to stay safe when storms roll in

Maskwacis RCMP seek public assistance to locate missing female

Maskwacis RCMP is asking for public assistance to locate 26-year-old Crystal Rowan.… Continue reading

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read