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Rascal Rodeo gives special needs individuals the chance to become buckaroos

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MOLALLA, OR (KPTV) -

The Molalla Buckaroo is in full swing. For the next few days rodeo fans can watch bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing, just to name a few.

But Thursday it was all about the rascal rodeo, where people of all ages with special needs got to take part in a rodeo built just for them.

It was a day filled with laughter as people of all ages and a wide range of disabilities got to ride horses both real and pretend.

They practiced roping steers and even got the hang of milking a cow.

It's the 4th year in a row the Molalla Buckaroo has hosted the Rascal Rodeo, inviting 60 individuals to get a taste of the rodeo at their own pace.

It is the brain child of Ann-Erica Whitemarsh, who came up with the idea as a senior project.

She has been putting on these unique rodeos in Washington, Idaho and Oregon for ten years, and said the experience can be life changing.

"They come in their wheelchair, and leave their wheelchair, their walkers, their braces behind,” Whitemarsh said. “And we lift them up on that horse they just light up and turn into superstars."

Thursday those superstars had the chance to be rodeo kings and queens, and it was clear from their faces it was a day they won't soon forget.

A lot goes in to putting the rascal rodeo on. There were about 50 volunteers on hand to make sure all of the kids had a great time at this free event.

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