A steady rain and an unexpected change of venue didn’t stop the seventh-annual Rosewood Rodeo. Thirty two clients from Rosewood Services Inc. competed Saturday, Oct. 8, in front of their friends and families at the Rosewood Ranch, located a few miles east of Pawnee Rock.
The annual rodeo is one of the grandest days of the year for 45 equine-therapy riders from Rosewood Services who practice their riding skills at Rosewood Ranch on a weekly basis throughout the year. The ranch is a 210-acre full-working horse ranch where clients learn to ride and care for approximately 50 horses.
This year’s rodeo was originally scheduled to be held at Great Bend Expo arena, where it has been for several years, but a schedule conflict two weeks before the event forced Rosewood to move the rodeo to its ranch. Then it rained most of the day Saturday, forcing the staff to cancel wagon rides, rearrange locations for games and concessions, and limit its opening ceremony. The crowd was lighter than usual, with only a few hundred in attendance, but overall, Rosewood Ranch manager Eric Hammond deemed this year’s rodeo a great success.
"I was surprised at how good of a crowd we had, considering the weather," said Hammond. "The weather was a big challenge, but I think it helped boost the morale of our clients. They maintained their enthusiasm for the event all day and stayed focused. I think they impressed their families, the staff and even themselves with their performances."
Immediately following the rodeo, awards were presented. Shawn Ledesma was named Most Improved; Jonathan Folkerts was awarded Best Cowboy Spirit distinction; and Jere McCutchin took home the Inspirational Leader award. Ribbons were also presented first through sixth for Trails, Flags, Barrels and Pole Bending events. The clients competed in three categories, depending on their riding ability: rider with lead and side-walker, rider with lead, and independent rider.
The clients and crowd were treated to two horse-riding performances from the all-female Heartland Twisters Drill Team. The Residential Team won the staff race against the Administration and Day Services Teams. Gift baskets and a few furniture pieces were awarded through a raffle and silent auction, with proceeds going to Rosewood’s Roots and Wings Foundation. The event concluded with a celebration barbecue catered by Famous Hammond Brothers BBQ.
This year’s Rosewood Rodeo was sponsored by Kustom Floor Designs; Marmies of Great Bend; AlternaCare; Office Products Inc.; Moeder Plumbing; Keller Real Estate; Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball; Rocking M Radio, Community Bank; and Great Bend Appliance. Rosewood also benefitted from more than two dozen volunteers who helped with the event. Arrow Trash Service donated the use of six Dumpsters.
"Our volunteers and sponsors have become great supporters because they believe in what we are doing," said Hammond.
The rodeo caps off a season of horse shows for the independent riders at Rosewood Ranch, but Hammond said the riders will continue honing their skills one day a week at the ranch through the winter, weather permitting.
"We will spend time improving individual skills," said Hammond. "Every year, they get a little better with their riding skills and more confident, too. Much of that training happens during the winter months. One client has a way to go to be independent, but she says she wants to compete in shows. She’s upped her goals – she sees herself wanting to do more. We will work hard to get her there."
The clients who competed in the 7th Annual Rosewood Rodeo are: Abbie Garrett, Patricia Ledesma, Darren Brown, Mary Minear, Josh Trimmer, Jaime Crone, Cheryl Mendenhall, Haley McKee, Kelsey Spence, Jeremiah McCutchin, Jane Dailey, Krystal Thorne, Robin Bethel, Richard Eaton, Shawn Ledesma, Chris Devine, Mario Perez, Charles Bortz, Jimmy Wonsettler, Carrie Stickney, Dawn Specht, Taylor Hertach, Melissa Trimmer, Ella Haberman, Ron Llyod, Samantha Purcell, Margaret Shobe, Leann Wegele, Troy Wilson, Jonathan Folkerts, Haley Schremmer, and Gwen Butler.