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Rosewood Rodeo
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Rosewood Rodeo volunteer Linda Waters helps Samantha Purcell navigate a barrel and other obstacles during the trail competition.

It was a fun day of snow cones and funnel cakes, face painting and raffle giveaways at the 6th Annual Rosewood Rodeo.  The Rodeo was held on Saturday, Oct. 9 in the Great Bend Expo Center. The annual rodeo is an event designed to give Rosewood cowboys and cowgirls in the equestrian therapy program a chance to show off their skills and really shine in front of an audience. Several hundred people attended this year’s competition including rodeo participants, their families, spectators, vendors, and volunteers.
Special guests the “Heartland Twisters”, an all-female equestrian drill team, entertained the crowd with two electric performances during the rodeo.  Riding in patriotic red, white and blue, the “Heartland Twisters” are a high-energy team who performed an “America” routine which salutes men and women in the armed forces, as well as a thrilling rodeo routine to upbeat pop music.  The Twisters carried the American and Kansas flags in addition to the flags of the four armed service branches while riding at breakneck speeds in perfect formation. 
The day began with the Grand Entry featuring rodeo announcer Rob Emery. State Representative Bob Bethell performed the invocation, and the National Anthem was performed by Elizabeth Emerson. Rosewood Services staff members Vicki Schmitt, Amanda Hammond-Fellers, Debbie Larkin and Melonie Myers rode into the arena for the Posting of the Colors, and rodeo judges Cori Bitter and Jenny Moore were introduced. And finally, to get the rodeo into full swing, everyone in attendance sang the National Anthem and recited the Cowboy Oath:  “To ride hard to the last horn, and if I fail, to have the courage to ride again!”
The air of anticipation inside the Expo reflected the feelings of the participants as they readied themselves for the competition.  Riders in three skill levels competed for ribbons in such categories as the flag and trail riding competitions. And, of course, Randy the Rosewood Clown made his way through the crowd, creating balloon hats for the kids and taunting rodeo contestants and announcer Rob Emery. Before the second half of the rodeo got under way, the Rosewood Services staff readied themselves to compete against each other in the annual Staff Run, vying for the right to claim the coveted “traveling trophy” for the next 12 months. Then it was time for the barrel racing and pole bending competitions. The riders had a short break at the end of the contests to catch their breath while the Heartland Twisters entertained once again. And when the rodeo contestants were called into the center of the arena by Tammy and Eric Hammond of Rosewood Services, they all knew that it was time for the presentation of the awards. The cowboys and cowgirls were not able to contain their excitement, and could be heard whooping and hollering whenever a winner’s name was revealed. They cheered for each other as much as for themselves, showing a strong camaraderie between them. Three special awards were given in these categories:  Most Improved – Brad Wright; Cowboy Spirit – Raymond Bethel; Inspirational Leader – Melissa Trimmer. When all was said and done, there were many proud participants and competitors who overcame their fears and emerged winners that day.
Rosewood Services has a special group of dedicated sponsors who help to make this unforgettable event possible: Kustom Floor Designs, Community Bank of the Midwest, Marmies of Great Bend, AlternaCare, Office Products Inc., Moeder Plumbing, Keller Real Estate, Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball, and Great Bend Appliance. Thanks to the sponsors, all volunteers and riders ate a free “Famous Hammond Brothers BBQ” dinner, and were entertained by musician Terry Fellers. A good time was had by all.