Colfax County Fair queen organizes rodeo for special needs children

SPRINGER— Three children and over 30 adults came out on May 10 for the first “Exceptional Rodeo for Exceptional Kids” in Springer. The rodeo allowed children with special needs to do traditional rodeo events such as horseback riding and roping.

Janna Mills, a 2014 graduate of Cimarron High School, was the head of the project. The idea came to her after helping at a special needs rodeo at the New Mexico State Fair. Seeing the joy these kids experienced while at the rodeo inspired Mills to hold a rodeo for the children with special needs in her community. Along with her personal interest, this community service project fulfilled the qualifications Mills needed to receive the New Mexico Leadership Institute Scholarship.

Participants were able to pariticipate in five events available including: a horseback riding station, a barrel race where the participants rode a stick horse through the barrel pattern, a roping station, a dummy steer that the participants could push over, and a station where they could paint a barrel that will be used at the fairgrounds.  The three young girls that participated were extremely happy the whole time. One young lady who doesn’t speak very often even let out a “Yes!” as she rode her horse around the fair grounds. All three young ladies received ribbons, a medal, and a stick horse for their participation in the events.

Mills recruited community members to help with the event. She sent out multiple letters and flyers encouraging anyone and everyone to be a part of this event and over 30 adults showed up the day of the rodeo. With all hands on deck, everything went smoothly and made an exceptional day in the lives of the young girls at the event.

Mills said she could not have been happier with the turnout. “Nothing could compare to seeing the growth in those three young girls. Seeing those girls be the star of the show in a positive way was more than I could have asked for,” she said.

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