Rascal Rodeo is a nonprofit organization that sponsors rodeo events for those with physical and developmental disabilities. Started as a senior project in 2001 by founder Ann-Erica Whitemarsh, Rascal Rodeo has grown to include more than twenty locations across the western US, including Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and Nevada. “It’s more than being cowboys and cowgirls,” says Whitemarsh, “it’s discovering unknown abilities while being the stars of the show!”
Individual Rascal Rodeo events are organized by local volunteers, and Kanab’s Jacob Hamblin Days will feature an adaptive Rascal Rodeo program at this year’s event on June 16, 2023, at the Kaneplex Arena. Local resident RaeChele Alldridge is responsible for bringing the event to Kanab.
“Horses have always been my therapy,” says RaeChele. “Helping others learn and heal through horse experience is my passion. My own daughter Emmylou has epilepsy, and horses and animals help her so much. I knew I wanted to offer something different for our amazing special group of those with other needs.”
RaeChele notes, “It’s the 15th anniversary of Jacob Hamblin Days and what better way to celebrate than by bringing an adaptive rodeo that includes those who don’t normally get to participate. This rodeo is for everyone young and old with special needs and disabilities. Every participant gets a t-shift, hat, bandana, and sheriff’s badge, and goes home with a belt buckle donated by cowboys and cowgirls from all over the US. Every participant will get a chance to ride a horse, along with other rodeo type of events, and the whole thing is free to all who participate.”
“God never gives you a dream that matches your budget,” says RaeChele. “He’s not checking your bank account; he’s checking your faith.” The Kane County Office of Tourism has provided a grant for the program, and horses will be provided by ROAM Outdoor Adventures.
Other sponsors of the event include Kanab Film Fest, Moqui Cave, Glazier’s Market, Honey’s Marketplace, Crosby’s Home & Farm, Kanab Drug, Quality Printing, Stacy Cox Photography, Loudmouth Studios, Big Al’s Burgers at the Junction, Hirishi Electric, Buckskin Tavern, Kanab Photo Tours, Kanab Camera, Kanab Create, Ron’s Fresh Baked, Asava Juice & Smoothies, Taro Coffee, Barzee, Vima Productions and many generous individuals. Brown Box Bakery will be handing out free Nate & Bobbi’s ice cream coupon, as well.
“We’re still looking for participants,” says RaeChele. “If you know someone with special needs or disabilities please share this with them or sign them up on rascalrodeo.org. I can’t wait to see all of you at the event!”