A Decatur FFA Area Secretary High School Senior, Lyndi Luttrell, had been selected to be a Ford Lyndi Luttrell, had been selected to be a Ford Leadership Scholar along with 9 of the top Texas FFA members. This FFA group went through a week long intense leadership training all across Texas training them on how to implement a sustainable community service project. Lyndi examined the community needs here in Wise County and noticed a lack of activities for those with special needs, hence the idea for a special needs rodeo, began.
The Heart of a Champion special needs rodeo event took place on December 15 at the NRS Arena. There were 40 special needs participants that were split into 4 color groups. The Decatur FFA Members came out to help. The event began with a grand entry with the participants on trailers. They rotated through 4 stations which included a photo booth with rodeo clowns and rodeo queens, stick horse barrel racing, flour branding and dummy calf roping. Each participant received a swag bag full of NRS goodies and a belt buckle donated by Justin Boot Company. The event was filled with laughter and fun! NRS was honored to be a part of such a meaningful event.
TESTIMONIAL from a special needs parent:
I really wish I could express with words what my heart is feeling but most that know me know that I am not good with words. Thank you is just not enough to express my gratitude. Each one of you have blessed our family in ways you could not possibly imagine. You see when Jason was younger we received a lot of good attention as he was small and no one really focused on his disabilities, however, now that he is older the attention we receive is that of “feeling sorry for him” or just plain avoidance. We go a lot and most of the time people stare or turn away. But last night hundreds of people honored him, made him feel important, and the focus was on what he could do-be a part of a real rodeo. He was able to experience barrel racing, roping, branding, and even have his picture taken with Rodeo Queens and real Rodeo Clowns! You gave him an experience he will treasure for years to come. What is even more awesome, you gave 39 other participants the same thing!!
As I walked around the event I saw volunteers interact with our group and cheer them on in the events, I saw the participants smiles and felt their excitement to be in the spotlight, I heard their laughter and you could tell they were having the time of their life. I saw them proudly look at their parents as to say- See I am part of a real rodeo!! And to top off everything, to see their faces when they received the belt buckles!
You not only gave this to the participants but to the parents as well. Many of them came up to me after the rodeo and were amazed that y’all produced a 1st class rodeo and experience for their child. I was even asked by a couple of parents “Why would they do this-they don’t even know us”. But as each group of parents left, they expressed their gratitude and were so excited their child had the opportunity to participate.
Your sacrifice of time, money, equipment, and use of your facility gave 40 guys and gals with special needs a feeling of importance, a feeling of being “normal”, the experience of being in a rodeo, but most of all a lifetime memory they will cherish forever. With a grateful heart I would like to thank each and every one of you for giving my son and 39 others and awesome rodeo experience!
Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’