RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. — Smiles were seen all around the Exchange Club Arena on Thursday as it was the third special needs rodeo put on by the Russell County Sheriff’s Office and the Russell County Cattlemen.
This rodeo is held on the eve of the Stampede Rodeo, and is open to special needs students from all over Russell County, Phenix City and Fort Benning schools. Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said the first year started out with 100 students, but has grown to about 300.
The students are bused in, and are treated to fun and games, lunch and a rodeo at no cost to them.
Sheriff Taylor calls the event the ‘best day of the year.’
“You think sometimes you have it hard, and you see kids like this who are so loving and caring,” Sheriff Taylor said. “They don’t care about what’s going on in the world. It just makes you appreciate life and what you have. You can’t get any better than these kids. They’re absolutely a blessing to everyone of us and everyone on my staff.”
David Jones, the Special Education Coordinator of Phenix City Schools said the event gives students the chance to interact with other and be in an environment they do not see everyday.
“This is the best part of my job that I do every year, is when I’m able to come out and work with our kids in situations like this and to see their smiles, see their enthusiasm and see the opportunity to experience things they have never experienced before,” Jones said.
The Stampede Rodeo is being held Oct. 6 and 7 at the Exchange Club Arena (3949 Hwy 431 South Phenix City, AL, 36868).
Gates open at 5 p.m., and the rodeo starts at 7 p.m. (all times eastern).
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adults- $12
- Kids 6-12 years old- $5
- Kids 5 and under-Free
- Military Special $10 (must show Military ID)