DeFuniak Springs, Fla. - Grab your cowboy hats and cowboy boots, the Special Olympics Rodeo is coming to town. Saturday, the Walton County Fair Grounds will be transformed into DeFuniak Springs' first annual county rodeo.
"This weekend is about individuals with special needs coming to a rodeo and spending time with the cowboys and getting to do things they normally wouldn't do if they got the opportunity to attend a rodeo. It's all about them having fun," said Karley Leach, special events coordinator.
In addition to the traditional rodeo for professional cowboys, this year's event will allow Special Olympic Athletes to participate in events like pony rides, roping skills, and barrel racing on stick horses. The Special Olympic Athletes will also have the chance to get their face painted and meet the cowboys and cowgirls.
"I just thought it would be a good way to give back. Special Olympics is an organization where individuals with special needs of all ages can participate in sports related activities with others that are like them. It's just very uplifting for them," explained Leach.
After the Special Needs Rodeo, 80 contestants will compete for a grand prize at the Open Rodeo. Local cowboy, Garrett McDonald said Saturday's competition isn't just about winning. He says it's about giving back to his community and hopefully inspiring the kids in attendance.
"I've had a lot of people call and text me and ask if they can come help support the special needs part. You know, a lot of people think that cowboys are, kind of cocky or in their own way or whatever like that, but they just really want to help and that's the main part," said Garrett McDonald.
The Special Olympics portion of the rodeo will be from 4 P.M. until 6 P.M., Saturday night and gates will officially open for the rodeo competition at 7 P.M. General admission will be $10 at the gate. Ages six and under get in free. If you'd like to volunteer at the event visit for rodeo contact information. CLICK THE LINK FOR MORE INFO ON THE EVENT: https://tinyurl.com/y9tgsgbz
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