Monument Health hosts a wide variety of rodeos

RAPID CITY, S.D.—Saturday was a different kind of rodeo, and everyone won, including the volunteers.

Chadron State University Head Rodeo Coach Dustin Looper said:

Monument Health’s special rodeo filled the Kjerstad Event Center with excitement and smiles on Saturday morning. This is the first year of the event aimed at having people with different abilities experience the rodeo lifestyle.

“Jack is 22, has autism and doesn’t speak a language, so there aren’t many opportunities for young people with disabilities,” said Michelle Kane, one of the parents who attended. . “This is the first time we’ve tried this and so far he’s still here and checking out the horse now, so I’d say he’s been successful so far!”

The event also serves as a reminder to parents that they are not alone and helps them connect with other families in similar situations.

Volunteers from all walks of life came together and left the event both inspired and encouraged.

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Special Rodeo Athletes Take on Bull Riding at Monument Health Special Rodeo on August 27, 2022

“Maybe it’s not so much for these kids, it’s for me. Honestly, just [to] See the smiles and joy it brings to them.

From therapy riding to rope jumping to bull riding to stick horse racing, there was no shortage of saddle riding opportunities. Participants are paired with peers and form friendships, some of which last for years.

Madi Moody is on the Black Hills State rodeo team and has volunteered at similar events in the past. Four years ago she met Ruby, who was three years old at the time, in Belfourche.

Ruby and her mother, Shannon, saw Maddie from across the arena and couldn’t believe who it was.

“Someone asked me before what was this different, and I think the connection is just… seeing them again. It’s really cool,” Moody said.

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Madi Moody met Ruby at Belle Fourche’s Special Rodeo in 2018.

Maddie and Ruby spent a lot of time talking and both were full of smiles.

What do you like about Ruby? Horses, of course.

Ruby’s mother, Shannon, said: “We’re just so grateful to have had the opportunity to do something like this.

Everyone can go home as a winner.

“It just builds something in them that no one else can give them,” Looper said. “They just earn it.”

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