Dec 11, 2019
Wrangler NFR’s Exceptional Rodeo
John Harrison makes his living as a rodeo clown, so fun – and a little passion for danger, warding off bulls and such – is pretty much hard-wired into his DNA. But if you want to see Harrison have a really good time, just match him up with the special needs children who come out to the Wrangler NFR’s Exceptional Rodeo each year.
That’s where he was Monday morning, at the Wrangler Rodeo Arena housed on the second floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Halls. As is the case every year, a group of great kids got to know rodeo just a little bit better.
And if you think these kids enjoy such a unique opportunity – which they most certainly do – you should see Harrison and other NFR contestants who assist the youngsters in riding rocking bulls and horses, race them in stick-horse barrel racing and show them a thing or two about roping.
“I’m having fun,” Harrison said, noting he’s worked the Wrangler NFR five times and made a point of helping out at the Exceptional Rodeo each time. “A lot of these kids don’t get outside much. Anytime you can touch kids’ lives like this, it means a lot to us. The smiles on these kids’ faces is what makes it all worthwhile.”
Harrison was paired with Tiana Turner, one of five youngsters from the Miley Achievement Center. Turner was at expert level in taming the rocking bull, but she was more about the stick horses.
“My favorite thing is the barrel racing,” Turner said.
Rebecca Call, one of Turner’s teachers at the Miley Center, said excursions such as this are a real treat for her students. It’s a tremendous educational and socialization opportunity.
“It’s good for them to do something hands-on, where the adults are helping them,” Call said. “This is something they’d never be able to do otherwise. These cowboys and cowgirls are fantastic. They’re working so well with the kids, being really kind and really patient.
“That’s what these kids need – patient, loving adults.”
For more on this year’s Exceptional Rodeo, take a look at the Wrangler NFR special section in Wednesday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal or go to reviewjournal.com.