They were cowboys and cowgirls—if only for a day.
The San Benito High School Ag Barn was the site of the annual Baler Buckaroo Rodeo on Nov. 1. The event is put on for the San Benito High School Life Skills program.
“I love seeing all the kids smile,” said Danielle Craig, SBHS instructional assistant. “Their experience really warms my heart.”
Craig grew up on a ranch in Hollister and loves to rodeo in her spare time. She said she wanted to do something for the special needs kids.
“Riding horses and roping cattle is something I get to do every day,” she said. “I wanted to bring my world to them.”
Rodeo events included goat tail untying, barrel racing, team roping, single stake, bull riding, the boot race and Henley the dog for entertainment. Sixty-seven life skills students participated.
Each buckaroo contestant was introduced during the grand entry and received a cowboy hat and bandana. Winners of the rodeo events where awarded belt buckles.
Among the winners were:
- Sandra—roping champion
- Jacob—roping champion
- Tyler—bull riding champion
- Vanessa—goat tail untying champion
- Andrew—goat tail untying champion
- Jonah—pole bending champion
- Brian—barrel racing champion
Sponsors of the rodeo included Garon Goularte, Adam and Mimi Mendolla, Carol Scagliotti, Marc Stelling, Brent Redmond Trucking, Mark & Glenna Porteur, JP Graphic, Nate and Alexia Chang, and the Hollister Ag Boosters.
Craig said the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the Associated Student Body (ASB) are the driving forces behind the Baler Buckaroo.
“Besides the FFA and ASB, the Life Skills program teachers and staff, were very helpful for allowing the event to happen and getting the kids involved,” she said. “This is new to many kids. We try to make it a live rodeo as possible for the students.”
Hollister FFA member Sarah Lima said the Baler Buckaroo is special because she loves seeing students participate in something that is a large part of the community.
“Watching all the students try new things and all the smiles and laughter was what makes it worthwhile,” she said.
Beth Hitchcock, who avidly competes in high school rodeos, said it’s amazing that the kids have an opportunity to rope, run around barrels and ride a mechanical bull.
“It’s cool to see these kids have the biggest smile on their face,” she said.