Harvey will not stop Special Angels Rodeo

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Prior to Hurricane Harvey, plans were already under way for the fourth annual Special Angels Rodeo.

Registration packets were printed, and ready to be mailed in September, then the fateful storm left Orange County looking more like Lake Orange County. A major fundraising event for the organization, a Fish Fry in September, was cancelled.

“There was so much destruction people were already dealing with,” Jo Harris said.

But one thing the organization knew, was the special needs community needed the rodeo more than ever this year.

Jo Harris went to a storage unit where items for the rodeo were stored. Seeing so many places flooded, some for the first time, she knew the possibility of funding everything ruined was a probability.

“I went to the back corner were the containers were stored,” Jo said. “These are the backpacks we give to the kids, and had already filled in preparation of the rodeo.”

Amazingly, the items were undamaged.

“Looks like we are having a rodeo,” Jo said.

Everything just fell into place for the event.

“We are not asking our sponsors this year and working with what we have,” Jo said.

“So many of our special needs community is displaced,” Lu Harris said. “Everything was ready to go out in September. Everything went under water.”

Registration forms were redone and mailed.

“We are so excited to have the rodeo this year,” Lu said. “It did not matter if we had 50 or 350 participants.”

On Tuesday, Lu said she had just received another 40 registration forms bring the number to over 200 participants for this year’s event.

“And we are doing it without asking our larger sponsors,” Lu said. “Of course, we won’t turn away a donation. We had to postpone our main fundraiser we had planned for September. We will hold it in the Spring.”

Volunteers are still needed for the event. Forms to register or volunteer are at www.specialangelsrodeo.org

“This year we do not have a deadline for registering,” Lu said.

“With an event this size, you can never have too many volunteers,” Kevin Norton said.

Norton added the event also highlights services available for special needs family that they may not be aware of prior to the event.

“Every year, for me, when I am tired, done and can’t do anymore, I hear the laughing, the smiling, the high-fives,” Kevin said.

The event is one which is known to be uplifting for all who attend.

“We have people ask if they can attend even though they are not special needs or know anyone who is,” Kevin said. “Of course they can come watch and cheer on our kids.”

Lu Harris, who was inspired to start the event, said people should see the giggles and smiles during the event.

“It is so full of love,” Lu said. “God told me what to do and it has blossomed to what we wants.”

Anyone interested in joining the organization, the group meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at Robert’s Steak House.

Special Angels Rodeo is 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at T2 Arena and Event Center located at 3810 Old Peveto Road in Orange.