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Resilient Riders Demonstrate Abilities at Rosewood Rodeo

Tall in the Saddle – Landon Titsworth confidentially rides atop Harriet during the 18th Annual Rosewood Rodeo on Oct. 1 at Great Bend Expo III Arena. Side walking with Titsworth was Rodeo staff Amy Elmore, Rosewood Ranch Manager Eric Hammond, and Juan Bodine (leading Harriet).

Saturday, Oct. 1, was a day that was three years in the making at Great Bend Expo III Arena. That’s how long it had been since the last Rosewood Rodeo. Given the anticipation of the special day, the 18th Annual Rodeo did not disappoint for those who rode and for those who cheered them on.

Thirty equine therapy riders displayed their horsemanship skills at this year’s Rodeo; skills they developed throughout the year by participating in equine therapy at Rosewood Ranch. Located five miles north of Pawnee Rock, Rosewood Ranch exists to help people with developmental disabilities. The Rodeo is the one grand day annually that equine therapy participants get to showcase their abilities to family, friends and community members.

The pandemic halted that yearly occurrence for two consecutive years, but organizers were determined to bring back the longstanding event this season. The riders were just as determined, but also anxious because of the hiatus and also because of the introduction of two new therapy horses to this year’s Rodeo arena.

“There was more anxiety this year before the start of the events because of all the new elements for the riders,” explained Rosewood Ranch Manager Eric Hammond. “It was a great day, though. You couldn’t tell we missed two years in doing this event. It’s probably one of the smoothest Rodeos we’ve ever had. We couldn’t have asked for better performances by the riders and their horses. All the volunteers stepped up and did amazing, too.”

Competing in their 16th Rosewood Rodeo were Robin Bethel, Shaun Ledesma, Mary Minear, and Josh Trimmer. They were joined by participants Crystal Alkire, Pam Babcock, Stacy Buchwald, Charles Bortz, Keith Boyer, Darren Brown, Chris Devine, Jonathan Folkerts, Codie Hardie, Taylor Hertach, Ashley Hullett, Johnathan Howe, Rita Mestas, Tyler Michaelis, Samantha Purcell, Tori Rose, Josh Trimmer, Andy Schultz, Dawn Specht, Abbey Stanley, and Debbie Wasinger.

In addition to the adult riders, Rosewood’s youth riders, involved in the Children’s Horse Therapy Program, participated in a trail pattern event at the beginning of the Rodeo. At the end of each of their rides, the youth riders received a ribbon for their participation and they were photographed with their family members. Youth riders participating in their first Rodeo were Collin Duncan and Faith Schneweis. They were joined in the category by Kanye Cross, Logan Gregg, Parker Laviolette, Dakota Skinner, and Landon Titsworth. 

Therapy horses participating in this year’s Rodeo were veteran Rodeo horses Jordan and Harriet, along with Colonel and MR. Red, making their Rodeo debut. Also making their first appearance by participating in the grand entry were Rosewood’s Percheron wagon team of Dixie and Dolly.

Other events throughout the day added to the Rodeo experience. They included two performances by the award winning all-female “The American Dream” horse-riding drill team. The Administration Team won the staff competition against the Residential and Day Services Teams. A silent auction of items donated by local businesses was held to raise money, with proceeds from the auction going to Rosewood’s Roots and Wings Foundation. And a tack shop also provided items for sale, selling items made by Rosewood clients who work at Rosewood Studio. Games and activities entertained children throughout the day. A pulled pork lunch, along with a variety of concession items, was available for purchase during the Rodeo. The Honorable Kansas Supreme Court Justice Dan Biles provided the invocation during the Rodeo grand entry ceremony, which began the day’s events.

Immediately following the rodeo, awards were presented. Taylor Hertach earned the medal for “Best Cowboy Spirit,” Rita Mestas was named “Most Improved Rider,” and Mary Minear won the “Most Inspirational Leader” award.

Ribbons were presented to participants for Trails, along with Barrel and Horsemanship events. The clients competed in three levels, depending on their riding ability: rider with lead and side-walker, rider with lead, and independent rider.

During the awards ceremony, high point and reserve awards were presented to Horse Show participants. The adult therapy riders were recognized in front of their peers and spectators for earning the most points in their respective categories during Horse Show Days at Rosewood Ranch throughout 2021. Sashes were awarded to a dozen winners, representing three divisions in the categories of trail and horsemanship. Awards were also presented for showmanship.

Winners in each respective category were: High Point Trail – Johnathan Howe, Ashley Hullett, Mary Minear; Reserve Trail – Tori Rose, Keith Boyer, Chris Devine; High Point Horsemanship – Tori Rose, Dawn Specht, Mary Minear; Reserve Horsemanship – Taylor Hertach, Debbie Wasinger, Crystal Alkire; High Point Showmanship – Josh Trimmer; and Reserve Showmanship – Chris Devine.

 “I’ve been asked several times by our riders about next year’s Rodeo,” said Eric. “They are already gearing up. For them, it felt great to be back in the saddle, participating in front of an audience again.”

This year’s rodeo was sponsored by 21 businesses. Sponsors were: Heartland Homecare Services; Great Bend Appliance, Furniture & Sleep Source; Kustom Floor Designs; Moeder Plumbing, Heating & Air; Rosencrantz-Bemis Enterprises; Adams Brown Strategic Allies

and CPAs; AlternaCare Home Medical Equipment; Animal Medical Center; G-B Tires; Keller Real Estate and Insurance Agency; Marmie Auto Group; Office Products Inc.; Miller Lawns; Peoples Bank & Trust; Rich’s Automotive Supply Inc.; University of Kansas Health System Great Bend; Wheatland Electric; Zip Stop Inc.; Mark’s Custom Signs; Price & Sons Construction; and Silverado Electric.

Nearly 50 people helped at this year’s event, which was organized by the Rosewood Rodeo Committee, led by rodeo chairman Anna Hammond.

“This day is so important to our equine therapy riders, as well as our Rosewood families, staff and community members who come out to experience it with them,” said Rosewood Executive Director Tammy Hammond. “There’s no way we could host such an amazing day, if not for the staff and volunteers it takes to carry out a Rodeo of this magnitude. Our event has been a fixture most every fall for nearly two decades. When we don’t have it, we dearly miss it. I applaud the dedication by the volunteers, attendees, sponsors and auction donors who stepped up this year to bring back this special day for our Rodeo participants and their families.” 


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For more information, contact Eric Hammond,, 620-786-1693

October 11, 2022
Story by: Michael Dawes, director of PR, Rosewood Services, 620-792-2536,