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EFMP kids enjoy the rodeo experience

By Jessica Healey | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | August 14, 2014

JUNCTION CITY – “Giddyup!”

The horse command could be heard in abundance during the Exceptional Family Member Program’s Special Needs Rodeo July 16 at the Geary County 4-H fairgrounds.

The 17th annual event – in partnership with the Junction City Rodeo Association – provided a hands-on private rodeo experience for EFMP children, ages 4 and older, and their families.

Horseback riding, horse and carriage rides, and roping were among some of the activities offered.

The children were given hats, sheriffs’ badges, handkerchiefs and free tickets to see the real rodeo later that evening.

Rodeo queen candidates instructed children to give the “giddyup” command to horses, while being carried on horseback around the arena.

After horseback riding, one boy said he was hooked and wanted to continue to ride horses into adulthood.

“I want to ride horses or have a horse when I’m older,” said Nathan Caiafa, 9.

But horses weren’t the only rodeo animal that caught the young boy’s eye.

Nathan also spent a lot of time concentrating on learning how to rope a bull.

“I want to ride a bull,” he said.

New to Kansas, the Caiafa family had never visited a rodeo before, but said they found the experience worthwhile.

“This has been so good for my boys. They love the horses and the roping,” said Sarah Caiafa, military spouse and Nathan’s mother. “I think we have created a rodeo monster.”

The children also learned the basics of how to ride a bull on a small mechanical bull.

“We do this because we want to offer families an opportunity to enjoy a different type of experience and culture that they may not have ever had before,” said Laurie McCauley, manager, EFMP, Army Community Service.

The event concluded with a hamburger and hot dog cookout.

“The highly attended event and the partnership with the Junction City Rodeo Association provided hours of thrills, entertainment and excitement for about 80 members of EFMP,” said Garrison Commander Col. Andrew Cole. “The rodeo queen candidates were a fine touch to a successful gathering for 2014. I’d like to thank all of the local volunteers who came in early and stayed throughout to make the event a success.”

Tag EFMP Rodeo   Tag Family