Redding Rodeo celebrates 'Special Kids Day'

May 12, 2015 5:56 PM by Charlene Cheng

The Redding Rodeo brings the cowboys and cowgirls to town, and not just the ones competing for prize money.

Every year, the Asphalt Cowboys and the Redding Rodeo Association team up for Special Kids Day, inviting hundreds of local children with disabilities to get their turn in the arena.

"We've had kids out here that don't make a sound and have gone 'yahoo.' We had a father that said that's the first time. That's special," Asphalt Cowboy Tom Spade said.

Diane Sittig has brought her class from Cypress Elementary for the past five years.

She's amazed at how her students are able to connect with the horses.

"You see kids that there's things that they may not express, but suddenly they're on a horse and they just brighten up. It's a very good thing for them," she said.

Special Kids Day honors former Shasta County Sheriff John Balma, who was instrumental in bringing the rodeo to Redding.

Balma had a passion for kids with special needs, and the Asphalt Cowboys plan on carrying on his tradition for years to come.

"Maybe another 20, 25 years. I wouldn't see me quitting until I can't," Spade said.


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