An old rodeo tradition continues
Brackenridge Recreation Complex was home to a very special event last weekend. The Texas High School Rodeo Association Region 7 held their Sunshine Kids rodeo on Saturday, Sept. 23.
What is a Sunshine Kids Rodeo?
“We provide a rodeo experience to children with cancer,” said event coordinator Melanie Mahurin. “This event was a tradition brought back from years past, originally started in 1994. Our guests are children and their families who have undergone or currently in treatment for cancer.”
From 1994 to 1999, the rodeo brought joy to the people who could use it most, and Mahurin, a former Region 7 athlete herself, was delighted to bring it back almost a quarter century later, right here in Jackson County at the Brackenridge Main Event Center.
On Saturday, 14 kids competed in events like goat roping and horseback riding. They got to rope, ride, and learn all about rodeo from experienced people.
“My husband DR and our son Jett, along with sponsors, parents and our student athletes, stepped up and volunteered for positions to help facilitate the event and its success,” said Mahurin.
They also got to look the part. Thanks to rodeo connections, with the help of some sponsors, coordinators were able to provide all the necessities to the kids. After all, you can’t have a rodeo without cowboy hats.
“In a group effort we were able to provide cowboy hats, bandanas, back numbers, ropes, rope bags, rope gloves, patches, monogrammed aluminum water bottles and snacks for our guests,” said Mahurin.
For Mahurin, bringing back the Sunshine Kids Rodeo was a dream. She was a THSRA athlete herself from 1995 to 1999, roping calves and steers as well as running barrels and poles. Her family also has a very personal connection to the event.
“My son Jett Garrett is a calf roper and team roper in Region 7,” she said. “Not only is he an athlete, but he is a two-time cancer survivor himself. He had kidney cancer and lung cancer. Today he is a nine-year survivor. As a parent of a cancer survivor my experience through that journey impacts the preparation and success of this event greatly. I have walked and lived a path God chose for our family and because of His faithfulness He has given my son a second chance at life, and I get to watch him compete as a normal child doing what he loves with the ability God gave him with a rope.”
The return of the Sunshine Kids Rodeo was an absolute triumph. So much so that Mahrin is already thinking about next year, and many years after.
“After bringing back this tradition this year and the positive energy it created, I can assure you this will continue as an annual event for THSRA Region 7 and the Sunshine Kids,” said Mahurin.
More information on THSRA and The Sunshine Kids rodeo can be found at www.thsra7.com and www.sunshinekids.org. THSRA Region 7 also has a Facebook page where interested people can keep up with all the local high school rodeo happenings.