Whip Crackin’ Rodeo kicks off with special needs event

Angie Mayes • Updated Apr 23, 2016 at 11:00 AM

The seventh annual Whip Crackin’ Rodeo kicked off Friday morning with a special needs rodeo for students in schools across Wilson County. The students took part in a number of activities such as bowling, hula hooping, drawing, corn hole and riding horses.


Friendship Christian students were on hand, helping the younger students with their activities.

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead, who played host to the event with his wife, Darlene, said he expected more than 400 students to show up for the event, which is designed especially by Empower Me Center director Michelle Hill.

“This is our seventh year for the Whip Crackin’ Rodeo,” Craighead said Friday morning. “We’re going to have about 450 special needs students here this morning, and it’s going to be a great time for their field activities. We’re going to have a rodeo for them, with special things happening.”

Sam Houston Elementary School preschool teacher Nicole Davis said the students couldn’t wait to get to the rodeo.

“The kids are so excited,” she said. “They’ve been looking forward to this all week. They have lots of fun activities to do, and they get to ride the horse. That’s the main part is riding the horse. That’s the main part of the day.

Friendship Christian students Clarissa Martin and Alycia Long said the day “was going to be fun helping the kids. 

“We’re going to have a good time, and that makes my heart happy,” Martin said. “[We’re enjoying] seeing the kids having a good time and making a difference.”

The students were told about the experience and volunteered to help, Long said. 

“It’s like our school coming together,” Long said. “We have a day at the beginning of the year called CIA day where the kids come to our school, and we have inflatables, and the kids have fun.”

The Whip Crackin’ Rodeo continued Friday night and will culminate Saturday at 7 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.

For more information or tickets, visit whipcrackinrodeo.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate.

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