Some of the nation's best cowboys hit the arena Saturday night for the 42nd annual Bryan Breakfast Lions Club PRCA Rodeo. Hours before the dust kicks up, some of the pro riders showed some local special needs families how to ride like the best in the west.
With the single stroke of a mane and the whip of a lasso, the difficulties of life seem to disappear for a few hours. About 30 children with special needs from across the Brazos Valley saddled up for the annual Cowpoke Rodeo at the Brazos County Expo.
"Have a good time and smile for a little while," said rodeo namesake Sammy Catalena. "That's what it's all about."
These cowboys and cowgirls ride on a different path of life. One that doesn't allow some to simply be a child.
Catalena is the rodeo founder and says to see the smiles on their faces is why they do what they do. "When these kids come here and I see the smiles on their faces when their out here doing what they do and they forget about things," Catalena said.
You can see the excitement in all of their eyes and behind every smile. Parents say not only did the kids have a blast, but they got to learn from rodeo royalty.
"It's the smiles, the hugs and the stories that they share with you and the things they want to do," said volunteer Alissa Kimbrough. "To be able to do the roping and run around the barrels, it's so much fun."
Kimbrough is a member of the Catalena Cowgirls, rodeo royalty here at the Brazos County Expo. She and the rest of her teammates of the trick riding team are sharing their love of all things rodeo.
"It's good for their body mind and soul," Kimbrough said.
Kimbrough also said the rodeo is a type of equine therapy for the children.
"Just being able to get out here and try something new is good and exciting; it's not just for the kids, but for the parents," Kimbrough said. "Something they can see and enjoy."