Special Angels look forward to 6th annual rodeo

Published 9:36 am Saturday, November 2, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Pull out the chaps and get ready for the opening of the chute as the 6th annual Special Angels Rodeo opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at T2 Arena and Event Center located at 3810 Old Peveto Road in Orange.

Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m.

“We always hold the event on the second Saturday of November,” Kevin Norton, volunteer, said. “We hope for a day that is not as blistering hot for our heat-sensitive kids.”

Special Angels Rodeo is the premier adaptive sports rodeo event in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. The event is open to all special needs individuals regardless of age, disability, or county of residence and is completely free for all of the participants and their families. Each of the events is adaptable to meet almost any need of participants to guarantee the best experience for all involved.

“The events are overseen by a physical therapist with Spirit Stable,” Norton said. “We want to make sure to not cause a setback for the kids.”

Norton said not all participates are kids but still need to be able to enjoy an event just for them.

“One of our goals is parents to be specters,” Norton said. “For parents or care providers to be in the stands like other parents at little league or rodeo events.”

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. The first year there were 100 participants. This year they are expecting more than 300.

A special presentation will be conducted during the opening ceremony with the Cowboys Who Care Foundation.

Cowboys Who Care Foundation is a 501C3 non-profit founded by Comedian William Lee Martin and wife, Michele. The foundation is dedicated to providing smiles, support and free brand-new cowboy hats to boys and girls with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

“As far as I know, we are the only non-professional rodeo to have such a presentation,” Norton said. “It is the first one in our immediate area.”

The event is still seeking volunteers to assist the day of the event.

“I promise you, we will find you a spot,” Norton said. 

Forms to register or volunteer can be found here.

Norton added the event also highlights services available for special needs families 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.