Montana is known for being the last best place. The western heritage is present even in the most metropolitan cities in this state. Cowboys were and are a valuable character in Montana’s life. The romanticism of the American cowboy has not evaded modern generations. There’s still a fascination with cowboys and cowgirls and most of the time that most commonly seen cowboy is the rodeo cowboy. On October 18th, the NILE is doing something special to bring the rodeo world closer.
The NILE’s Radiant Rodeo is for special needs youth in the Yellowstone Valley Region. Radiant, by definition is: emitting rays of light, shining, bright; bright with joy, hope etc. Though challenges may face these kids every single day, they are remarkable. The smiles are truly awesome. Volunteers often talk about the speechlessness and goosebumps they experience. Watching a kid radiate the thrill of riding a horse for the first time, or holding hands with a rodeo queen in contagious. The atmosphere shines brightly with all the flashing smiles and the positive energy.
Radiant is also term for energy. We want an inside-your-chest, warm-fuzzy, chokes-you-up kind of energy. Lighting up someone’s world is unforgettable.
We envision different stations in the ExpoCenter at MetraPark. Kids and chaperones will have free choice to each station. They’ll be able to pick and choose which stations to participate in and how long to stay at each station. Queens, clowns, ropers, and riders will welcome each group to the stations. The stations are: stick horse barrel racing, coloring, wool, farm animal toys, bucky machine, horse, face painting, photo booth, roping and showing sheep and goats.
The NILE rodeo is a big part of what we’re known for but the stock show is where it all got started. We want to incorporate our mission of preserving an embracing the Western way of life into all of our events. We would be remiss to leave out a stock show element of the Radiant Rodeo, therefore we’re including showing sheep and goats.
The scheduled time for the Radiant Rodeo is Wednesday, October 18 which gives Junior Fed kids an opportunity to volunteer. Youth in the Junior Fed program show livestock Sunday and Monday, their sale is Tuesday evening. This leaves them available to help Tuesday morning. Instilling the importance of volunteerism at a young age encourages the next generation to think beyond themselves which will later positively impact whatever community they decide to live in. It will be special for the participants of the Radiant Rodeo to be partnered with someone closer to their age as well as being powerful for the Junior Fed volunteers to experience this event.
Including the sheep and goats as one of the stations also gives one more opportunity to interact with animals. Kids would get a chance to ride a horse, show a sheep and pet a goat. We all know how petting a dog at the end of a long day instantly brightens the mood. Horses, sheep and goats also provide that magical, unexplainable therapeutic moment. Maybe it’s in the softness of their fur, the kindness in their eyes, or the connection of not being able to speak. Whatever it is, witnessing the affect an animal can have on a person is something special.
This is the first year for the NILE’s Radiant Rodeo and we hope that it’s a long-lasting program for Yellowstone Valley Region. We believe it’s a bright addition to the stock show and rodeo. Putting smiles on faces is one of the most rewarding experiences and we want to light up the barn with radiant grins.