Special Angels Rodeo Celebrates 5th Year

Published 1:04 pm Sunday, November 4, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


What began as a dream is celebrating a milestone this year.

Special Angels Rodeo is celebrating its fifth year on Nov. 10 as it opens the gates at 10 a.m.

This year, participants will notice some changes, such as the overall layout for vendors.

“The vendors will be on one end of the arena this year,” Kevin Norton, volunteer, said. “They won’t be as spread out and hopefully easier to navigate.”

One change made last year will return – the Food/Dining tent.

“Having the food in one area helped,” Norton said.

While the event is four hours long, the time spent leading up to the big day is a result of a year-long effort of the committee.

“We start setting up on Wednesday before the event and finish late on Friday,” Norton said. “Just that week is 1,500 man hours to make it happen.”

The first year, no one was sure what to expect, as the event became a reality for Lu Harris, who was inspired to start the event. She had a dream of doing something for those with ‘special’ needs.

“When we started, we did not know what to expect and we had 100 participants they first year,” Norton said. “I had been there all week helping set up and everything hurt. But, then you hear the kids laughing and you forget the hurt.”

This year, Special Angels Rodeo is anticipating over 300 ‘kids’.

“We call them kids, but there are some which are adults,” Norton said.

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

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

The rodeo is free for the contestants.

Every contestant that is registered is awarded a gold medal. All of them are treated like winners even if they do nothing but register and walk around looking things over. The fact that they have come to the rodeo is all that matters to all the volunteers.

“It is the greatest joy to see their response from the participants,” Norton said. “Seeing the kids and hearing their laughter. This event is unique for them.”

The fifth annual Orange County Special Angels Rodeo is from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at T2 Arena and Event Center located at 3810 Old Peveto Road in Orange.