Volunteers and participants saddled up for the 2nd Annual Special Angels Rodeo at T2 Arena and Event Center in Orange. RECORD PHOTO: Larry Trimm

Kevin Norton – Special Angels Release

The 2nd Annual Special Angels Rodeo, which was held Saturday, November 14, at the T2 Arena and Event Center in Orange, was an overwhelming success according to event organizers. Special Angels Rodeo is the premier adaptive sport rodeo event in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. It is a free event and is open to all members of the special needs community regardless of age or disability.

In it’s first year, the event hosted 98 participants from throughout the area and had about 150 volunteers. For it’s second rendition, Special Angels Rodeo played host to approximately 280 special needs cowboys and cowgirls from the area, and as far away as Houston and Lafayette. 297 volunteers joined the nearly 40 committee members to carry out this year’s event.

Thanks to numerous generous sponsors, organizers were able to host a completely free event for all of the participants and their families. Each participant received a free t-shirt, cowboy hat, backpack, and gold medal. Everyone who was at Special Angels Rodeo was treated to a free lunch that included everything from hamburgers and french fries to pizza, boudain, and much more. There were even plenty of sweet treats and coffee provided by area businesses.

The 2015 Special Angels Rodeo included adaptive barrel racing with therapy horses from Stable Spirit and a trailer pulled behind an ATV for wheelchair bound participants, adaptive bull riding and bronc riding utilizing modified rodeo training aids, and adaptive roping. There were also several carnival games, two bounce houses, a mechanical bull, a petting zoo, and wagon rides. Country music artists Jeff Bates, Britt Godwin, and Craig Collins were in the arena signing autographs for all of those in attendance. Area service and activity organizations that serve the special needs community and sponsoring businesses also were also on hand with information, giveaways, and activities for the participants and their families.

The organizers of Special Angels would like to extend their very heartfelt gratitude to everyone who helped make this year’s event such a huge success. From the generous sponsors and amazing volunteers to the enthusiastic participants and their supportive families, friends, and caretakers, each person played an integral part in the success of this year’s rodeo. They would also like to thank all of the spectators who came out to watch and cheer for the cowboys and cowgirls. A very special thank you goes to Chad Havens and Krissy Reese of T2 Arena and Event Center for welcoming Special Angels Rodeo to their facility and for doing everything within their ability to make the event organizers, participants and everyone else involved feel at home.

Special Angels Rodeo also has two fundraisers in the coming months. On Saturday, December 19, Dayle Foreman and Carol Daigle will be hosting a Christmas Dance featuring the Back N Tyme Band at the VFW in Orange from 7pm until 11pm. There is a minimum donation of $10 per person at the door and the proceeds will benefit Special Angels Rodeo. Then on Saturday, January 9, 2016 there is a Cajun Comedy Show at the Lamar State College Student Center starting at 7pm. Tickets for this family friendly event are $30 per person and all proceeds support Special Angels Rodeo.