News / Edmonton

Cowboys partner with 150 kids with special needs for annual CFR event

Rodeo Magic is held privately for children with special needs from schools across Edmonton, annually.

Levi Simpson with Tatiana Sakaw, 7, at Rodeo Magic, a private event for special needs kids, part of CFR, held at Northlands Coliseum.

SYSTEM / Metro Web Upload

Levi Simpson with Tatiana Sakaw, 7, at Rodeo Magic, a private event for special needs kids, part of CFR, held at Northlands Coliseum.

Tatiana Sakaw got her first taste of Rodeo Magic on Wednesday.

Rodeo Magic had 150 students between the ages of six to 14 with special needs from schools across Edmonton come to the Northlands Coliseum and partner up with cowboys and cowgirls while taking part in different rodeo activities.

Sakaw, 7, spent Wednesday morning going barrel racing, bronc riding and riding on a horse with professional cowboy Levi Simpson.

Simpson has been participating in Rodeo Magic, a Canadian Finals Rodeo event, for nine years.

"When they come out here, they get to ride the horses and practise roping and every time there is always just a huge smile on their face,” said Simpson. “To be able to come out here and help them with that is awesome.”

Tatiana really liked her partner too.

“He is cute,” she said.

“I think the highlight of this day is to really connect rodeo to kids who wouldn’t really be able to experience it before,” said Caiti Farquharson, PR Specialist for Northlands.

“The athletes are really nice and they will let the kids paint on their faces.

“I heard a story today, that one of the athletes one year, he had his face painted and he forgot about it and went around Edmonton with his face painted,” she said.

She said they make sure the kids are in a safe and comfortable environment by providing them with quiet horses to ride on and by providing them with tags.

“Anyone who is uncomfortable with being approached has a yellow tag, everybody who is comfortable with it, has a green tag,” Farquharson said.

Bareback rider Dantan Bertsch's partner, Mike McKeown, had a fun time facepainting and barrel racing.

Berstch said he is getting comfortable after doing it for three years.

“A lot better than the first time I did this,” he said.  “It’s fun when you meet all the new kids and show them everything that lots of them have never seen before.”

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