The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 19, 2013

Exceptional Rodeo: Sheriff reminds all of special needs event Sunday

By Jean Cole

— If you need something to make you smile Sunday, stop by the Limestone County Sheriff’s Special Needs Rodeo in Athens.

The free event is a fun-filled day for children with mental or physical disabilities who live in Limestone and surrounding counties. The public is welcome.

The event is from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at the rodeo arena off Alabama 99.

Children will be able to ride horseback, take buggy and hay rides, rope dummies and enjoy other activities, including a disc jockey playing music, food and an opening ceremony, Sheriff Mike Blakely said. Deputies and other Sheriff’s Department personnel will be there to assist the children and share the day.

The rodeo was rescheduled for June 23 after being rained out May 17.

“We started this event 15 years ago for all of the special needs kids in Limestone County, and it has expanded to surrounding counties,” the sheriff said. “Anyone is welcome to attend. If you have friends or family who have special needs kids, please bring them.”

Because the original date for the rodeo occurred when school was still in session, most of the special needs children would have been transported to the event by the schools. With the school year ended, Blakely worries fewer children will attend. However, he rescheduled the event for the weekend in hopes parents, relatives or friends will be able to bring the children.

T-shirts for the event have already been sent out to 300 clients, the sheriff said.

Those who had planned to help with the rodeo are asked to call Dawn Blakely at     256-233-8711 to let her know who will be attending.