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Cheyenne Frontier Days’ Challenge Rodeo Brings Joy to the Children with Special Needs in Our Community

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:37 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country come to compete in our world famous rodeo; today, in perhaps Cheyenne Frontier Days’ cutest event, we got to see children having fun being a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl for the day.

The Challenge Rodeo is an opportunity for special needs children to rope, wrangle and ride - for a belt buckle.

The Annual Challenge Rodeo kicked-off Wednesday morning with LCSD1 Elementary-school kids ready to join in on the CFD festivities.

“The Challenge Rodeo is one of the best events Cheyenne Frontier Days has to offer. We partner with Laramie County School District and we take students from our schools with special needs and put them in a real, live rodeo performance. We want to let them be part of the Daddy of ‘Em All as well,” said Will Luna, long-time volunteer and coordinator for Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Children are nominated by their teachers to participate in the rodeo. Will Luna says the two-day event is created specifically for these kids to safely enjoy the typical rodeo competition, so they are paired with a special volunteer ‘buddy’.

“We’ve got everything. We got some bull-riding, we’ll have some bareback, we will have some roping, we’ve got some baby goats the kids can pet; which is always a huge hit. We’ve got barrel racing, steer wrestling, so we run the gamut of events - they’re just modified so the kids can participate,” said Luna.

The program started in 1995. The tradition is continued by CFD staff, and lots of volunteers. Luna says the rodeo means so much to the kids, and it’s very rewarding to see what an impact it makes on the special needs community.

“My favorite part is when the kids smile. This section of the population gets left out of some of the normal day-to-day things, so it’s an opportunity for them to come and live the life of being a rodeo cowboy/cowgirl. For some, it just makes their year. The smile is what is the best part for me.”

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