EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An inclusive rodeo that enables kids and adults with special needs to do roping, bucking and horse riding, held at the Southern New Mexico State Fair for the first time.

Exceptional Rodeo is not a new idea, but it is new to our area, as explained by Tiffany Whetten, the organizer. Whetten is a veterinarian and a committee chair for Southern New Mexico State fair and Rodeo Committee. Rodeo has been a part of her life since the very start and she wants to make it available to everyone.

“It’s just so fun to bring the non-rodeo community into the rodeo world. We just want to share what we do. We want everybody to enjoy our sport.”

Tiffany Whetten, Exceptional Rodeo Organizer

Exceptional Rodeo took place on September 18, but Whetten said it would not be the last one as she plans on doing them every year and making the event bigger. One of the visitors, Suki and Enrique Saldana brought their son Abel, who loves roping. With tears in their eyes, they explained how impactful these types of events are for them and their son with special needs.

“That smile says it all,” Mrs. Saldana said.

To help with the event and provide instruction to visitors, New Mexico State University’s rodeo team volunteered with over a dozen students signing up to be a part of it. NMSU’s rodeo coach Brice Baggarley said once he put up the roster for students to sign up the slots were filled in immediately.

“I had 15 spots and I filled that up within 5 minutes,” said Baggarley.

He said it only shows the comradery in the rodeo community.

“It gives back a little bit to the community that gives us so much,” he said.

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