The Children’s Rodeo is almost all the events at the entire Round-Up simultaneously.
Roping, bulldogging, saddle bronc, wagon riding, cow milking and more were available for the participants of the Children’s Rodeo on Thursday, although the events were a lot more gentle than their adult counterpart.
Organized by the InterMountain Education Service District, the rodeo pulled in 47 special education students from across Eastern Oregon to pet some livestock, throw some ropes, and ride in some western vehicles.
One of Thursday’s attendees was Evan Owens of Pendleton, pulling the cowboy who was accompanying him from the buggy ride to the longhorn station.
While Evan initially resisted taking a picture on top of the longhorn with a few emphatic “heck nos,” he eventually relented to a photo in front of the bull with members of the Round-Up court.
Evan has Down syndrome and has been to the Children’s Rodeo before. Evan’s father Darin McGlothan said the Sherwood Heights Elementary School student has been chanting the Round-Up’s iconic catch phrase all week.
“‘Let ’er Buck’ is the word,” McGlothan said with a chuckle.
Evan wasn’t the only kid having fun: It was hard to miss the smiles plastered on the faces of each child participating in the rodeo.
Lacy Hood is a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing for the IMESD, and she oversees five students across the region.
Hood gestured toward Fredy Lopez, a hearing-impaired student and the son of refugees, who had been signing “cow” and “horse” all week.
“It’s a day where their disability disappears,” she said.