Special needs children let loose at EFMP rodeo
July 22, 2010
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Forrest Boyd, 2, was all smiles and giggles while riding the hand-rocked bareback horse July 17, during the Exceptional Family Member Program Special Needs Rodeo at the Geary County Fairgrounds.
Courtney Boyd, military spouse, brought her son, Forrest, out to see what the event was all about.
"They provide support for special needs on post and for military Families - try to get resources for Families and plan activities for Families," she said.
While 5-year-old Angel Barnes was playing jump rope with a volunteer, her 5-month-old sister, London, enjoyed a horseback ride with the 2009 Junction City Rodeo Queen, Shay Zimmerman.
The Barnes Family came out to enjoy a good time with each other, said Wynter Barnes, mother and military spouse. Others came out to support the program.
"My friend who works with EFMP told me about it," said Minerva Coffey, attendee. "So I came out to support the program."
More than 60 people attended the annual event.
"The rodeo was a very positive experience this year," said Erin Mosman, EFMP program coordinator. "We were thrilled to see our newcomers mix with our active EFMP Families."
Rusty Rierson provided live musical entertainment throughout the event, singing various country songs to set the mood of the rodeo.
Activities for the children included steer roping, hand-rocked bareback and bull riding, arena rides with the rodeo queen candidates and a buggy carousel ride with Belgian Heavy Draft horses.
Children were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with llamas, pigmy goats, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits and tortoises at the petting zoo.
"This event provides children an opportunity to be exposed to different activities that that they may not otherwise experience," Mosman said. "A setting such as this provides an optimal environment for our Families to connect."
The event was held in partnership with the Junction City Rodeo Association and Junction City Optimist Club.
"What is so special about this event is that it showcases the support the Junction City community has for our military Families," Mosman said.
The next EFMP event, Typical Developmental Milestones, will be July 28 with two guest speakers.
The first will be Mitzi Dulan, nutritionist for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals, at 1 p.m. Dulan is the co-author of "The All-Pro Diet: Lose Fat, Build Muscle and Live Like a Champion," which she wrote with NFL player Tony Gonzalez.
At 2:30 p.m., Col. Craig Webb, chief, Department of Primary Care and Community Medicine, Irwin Army Community Hospital, will speak about typical developmental milestones. Child care will be provided.
For more information, call 785-239-9435.