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Panhandle Spirit: Special kids rodeo

More than two dozen children were treated to their own special rodeo at the Cal Farley Coliseum in Amarillo.(ABC7 Amarillo)

The World Championship Rodeo for the Working Ranch Cowboys Association started Thursday night in Amarillo, but several hours earlier, many of those cowboys put on another rodeo for about two dozen special elementary-aged kids.

It's the second year that the WRCA has connected its cowboys with these children. Jake Mitchell of Borger, who competed in the WRCA for several years, is the driving force behind it.

"It's been a blast, and I love that the cowboys get so involved and they love it so much, and that's been the good part for me, that they want to help, too," Mitchell said.

This year's group came from Bivins, Woodlands, and Ridgecrest schools. Several local companies stepped up with sponsorships to make sure it was a day to

remember for the kids, their parents, and the cowboys. Their combined efforts helped the kids' nervousness and intimidation melt away into sheer pleasure.

"This is a once in a lifetime deal for them. You know, myself, and a lot of these cowboys had the chance to do anything they wanted to their whole lives. And a lot of these kids don't have that chance, and so we wanted them to be able to pet calves or ride horses, or whatever, and it's a lot of fun getting to see them do that."

Mitchell said when they started last year, they had 17 children involved--bumped it up to 25 this year, and he hopes it'll grow again next year.

He says the WRCA looks at it as a chance to give back to the city of Amarillo for hosting their world championship.

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