Entering its 19th year, the Rosewood Rodeo understandably featured a lot of seasoned horse riders. But the day also featured several novice riders, who were experiencing their first Rodeo. That gamut of experiences made for a fun and interesting day for the riders and audience alike, during the event held at Barton County Fair Grounds Expo III Arena on Oct. 7.
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 grand day annually that equine therapy participants get to showcase their abilities to family, friends and community members.
“We’ve seen a lot of cowboys and cowgirls come through our program over the years,” said Rosewood Ranch Manager Eric Hammond. “Josh, Mary, Robin and Shaun have been riding every year; others have ridden for a lot of years. But we had a lot of new riders enter the Rodeo this year and that will probably inspire other new riders next year.”
Eric pointed to John Reynolds as a positive example of someone who has attended Rosewood for many years, but only started participating in equine therapy this year.
“You never know when someone is going to take an interest in riding horses,” said Eric. “It was surprising when John decided he wanted to ride, but he is doing really well with it, and he’s advancing quickly.”
Reynolds joined Jim West, Caitlyn Stinger, Kaleb Nixon, and Cole Morin as first-year Rodeo riders. Kanye Cross participated in the Youth Division previously, but this was his first year participating as an adult rider.
On the other end of the spectrum, competing in their 17th Rodeos, were Robin Bethel, Shaun Ledesma, Mary Minear, and Josh Trimmer. The seasoned and novice riders were joined by fellow participants Crystal Alkire, Pam Babcock, Stacy Buchwald, Keith Boyer, Darren Brown, Vance Cornwell, Chris Devine, Jonathan Folkerts, Codie Hardie, Taylor Hertach, Johnathan Howe, DJ Johnson, Tyler Michaelis, Tori Rose, Andy Schultz, Dawn Specht, Abbey Stanley, Debbie Wasinger, and Jim Wonsetler.
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 award. Youth riders participating in this year’s Rodeo were Faith Schneweis, Ely Kocher, Parker Laviolette, Collin Duncan 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 just their second Rodeo appearance. Rosewood’s beautiful Percheron wagon team of Dixie and Dolly made an appearance during the grand entry. The Honorable Kansas Supreme Court Justice Dan Biles provided the invocation during the Rodeo grand entry ceremony, which began the day’s events.
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 Residential Team won a staff competition against the Day Services and Administrative 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.
Immediately following the rodeo, awards were presented. Cole Morin earned the medal for “Best Cowboy Spirit;” John Reynolds was named “Most Improved Rider;” and Jim West 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 this year. Sashes were awarded to 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 – Jim West, Cole Morin, Mary Minear; Reserve Trail – Tori Rose, Debbie Wasinger, Crystal Alkire; High Point Horsemanship – Johnathan Howe, Cole Morin, Shwan Ledesma; Reserve Horsemanship – Rita Mestas, Keith Boyer, Chris Devine; High Point Showmanship – Mary Minear; and Reserve Showmanship – Crystal Alkire.
“It was a great Rodeo this year,” said Eric. “We had a good crowd all the way through, which really helped keep our riders focused. They gave extra effort and I think it showed the whole day through. You could see the pride they had in the saddle when they were moving across the arena on horseback and hearing their name called and the announcer sharing some of their story with the audience. They do have fun with it; they enjoy it. You can see it in their faces; their faces tell it all.”
This year’s rodeo was sponsored by 19 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; Keller Real Estate and Insurance Agency; Marmie Auto Group; Office Products Inc.; Miller Lawns; MPIRE Improvements; Peoples Bank & Trust; University of Kansas Health System Great Bend; Wheatland Electric; Zip Stop Inc.; Mark’s Custom Signs; and Doan’s Outdoor Store.
Nearly 50 people helped at this year’s event, which was organized by the Rosewood Rodeo Committee, led by rodeo chairman Anna Hammond.
“It was a beautiful day for a rodeo and we had a great group of volunteers this year,” said Rosewood Executive Director Tammy Hammond. “From the horse handlers on the back side of the arena to the front with tack shop, concessions, silent auction, and children’s games, volunteers made this event successful. We’re indebted to them, as well as to our sponsors, donors and everyone who came out to support our clients during their special day. Our riders are already looking forward to next year when we celebrate our 20th Rodeo.”
Find more about Rosewood Services online, rosewoodservices.com
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For more information, contact Eric Hammond, EricH@RosewoodServices.com, 620-786-1693
October 16, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Story by: Michael Dawes, director of PR, Rosewood Services, 620-792-2536, MichaelD@RosewoodServices.com