Bit n’ Spur Rodeo celebrates special needs cowboys and cowgirls

Jul 3, 2023, 12:34 PM | Updated: 12:39 pm

GRANTSVILLE, Utah — The Bit n’ Spur Rodeo in Grantsville kicked off Saturday in a very special way.

A large crowd gathered in the Desert Peak Complex, lining up for stick horse races, tractor rides, livestock, roping, and a popular mechanical bull. These events were all part of the 2nd Annual Bit n’ Spur Special Needs Rodeo.

Kelsey Dorman came with her brother Mark Matthews.

“It’s really fun to see all the kids having fun, and especially Mark. He gets along with everybody, and he has a smile that just lights up the world,” Dorman said.

Matthews got to be a cowboy for a day. Getting up on a horse, he shouted for joy and waved proudly to his family in the stands. He couldn’t stop smiling as he was led around the arena.

Mark Matthews receiving a belt buckle that was donated by the local community. (Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

These are the moments that directors Marisa and Chad Woolsey have worked hard to create.

“They are smiling. They’re having fun. Their families are watching them. They’re competing. They’re doing their best. It’s just a day about them,” Chad said.

With each event, these special cowboys and cowgirls took center stage and enjoyed every minute of it.

“It gives them an opportunity to really shine and to experience different abilities that they have that they may not have known that they had. And it allows them to be a champion,” Marisa said.

This was Tanna Sundberg’s second year attending, and she came as royalty this time. She proudly wore her Rodeo Queen sash and showed off her crown. She and her mom, Carol Agnew, loved everything about the rodeo.

“It’s so much fun for them, whether they’re in a wheelchair or they don’t understand what they’re doing. It just doesn’t matter. Everyone is here to support them and they have a blast. That’s what it’s all about,” Agnew said.

Tanna Sundberg with her mother Marisa Woolsey. (Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

Tearing up, Marisa Woolsey expressed how special this event was, “it has helped give not just myself a purpose, but others in our community.”

This year, the community showed their love and support by donating 300 of their own buckles to be awarded to each rodeo participant.

“People are giving up their real championship buckles to pass them on to other champions,” Chad explained.

At the end of the day, everyone, including Matthews and Sundberg, received a medal and got to pick their own championship buckle. Both cheers and tears accompanied the awards; the champions’ joy was contagious.

“Tears of joy,” Agnew said.

“I just, I hope that they leave with memories that last a lifetime,” Woolsey added through watering eyes.

The buckles were such a success the Rodeo plans on asking for donations again next year.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Bit n’ Spur Rodeo celebrates special needs cowboys and cowgirls