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12th Annual Miracle Rodeo rounds up volunteers

Published: Monday, October 25, 2010

Updated: Monday, October 25, 2010 15:10

Miracle Rodeo

Photo courtesy of Sherry Carter.

The Miracle Rodeo is a free event for special needs students in the community and it is estimated at least 700 volunteers are needed this year. The Miracle Rodeo is scheduled for Saturday from 11: 30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Craighead County Fairgrounds.

Each year, hundreds of special needs students in the community are given an opportunity to be real cowboys and cowgirls, but it wouldn't be possible without the help of volunteers.

This year's Miracle Rodeo, sponsored by the Craighead County Sheriff's Mounted Patrol, is no different.

The rodeo is scheduled for Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to about 4 p.m. at the Craighead County Fairgrounds and will include events such as stick barrel racing, bull riding, wagon or buggy rides and a petting zoo.  Volunteers are needed at all events in order to ensure all participants are safe.

Sherry Carter, chairwoman of the event, said last year they were able to get 350 volunteers but this year they would need to at least double the efforts.  

"We can work it with however many volunteers, but you're dead-dog tired," Carter said.

When the rodeo first began 12 years ago, they had 50 students participating.  Last year, they signed up 150 students with 175 actually showing up.  Those participants also brought about 500 family members.

"It just gets more successful every year," she said.

Emilee Hook, an ASU alumnus and Miracle Rodeo volunteer, said this year is her third year to help at the event and that it was the reactions from the kids that kept her coming back.

"I think it's one of those deals where you don't realize the impact you've made until you see them light up that day," she said.

She also said it's a great time for entire families because they get to spend time together going from event to event and it gives them a chance to bond with each other.

"They [the families] get so excited," she said.  "It's just really neat to see."

Carter said people from all different campus and community organizations have volunteered in the past and those who help take away as much, if not more, than the participants.

"It's truly a life changing event, not just for the participants," she said.

Carter also said in the past, ASU has been the rodeo's biggest source of volunteers with people from SGA, athletics, different colleges and fraternities and sororities pitching in for the cause.

Carter visits with different organizations at ASU and the community to pull volunteers and spoke at the SGA meeting Tuesday night.

"There's very few places in Craighead County I haven't talked to," she said.

Carter said the Mounted Patrol holds fundraisers throughout the year to pay for the rodeo and also collects donations from around the community.

"It's nice to see people lend a hand and I think it's a great thing for people to get involved in," Hook said.  

"This is a free event for special needs children," Carter said.

If you are interested in volunteering your time to the Miracle Rodeo, contact Carter at 870-932-9538, 870-243-7433 or

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