Dec 8, 2018
Exception Rodeo for Special Needs Children
Exceptional Rodeo is a special interactive program that allows dozens of Las Vegas-area special needs children to experience the world of rodeo. Now in its 36th year, Exceptional Rodeo is one of the highlights of the ten days of the Wrangler NFR. Special needs children are brought to Cowboy Christmas by their parents and teachers to spend some time with Wrangler NFR contestants, announcers, personnel and even Miss Rodeo America, who take them through a series of rodeo events. The event is presented by NV Energy.
Organizer Ruth Dismuke-Blakely started the Exceptional Rodeo with the idea that it would be a way for rodeo contestants to give back to local communities. She is a speech/language pathologist and professional horsewoman who has been involved in hippotherapy since 1975. They use props and set up events with the safety, care and well-being of the children in mind.
“Everyone here is a winner,” Dismuke said. “We’ve had so many great stories come out of Exceptional Rodeo. It’s amazing to see the smiles on the participants faces, but the real reward is often to the contestants.”