BRAWLEY — Children, parents, and their teachers cheered at the non-stop sequence of events at the Brawley Cattle Call Mini Rodeo at the Cattle Call Arena in Brawley Wednesday, Nov. 10.
“We had a great turn out from the special needs community. That’s why we put on this Mini Rodeo for them,” said Julie Reeves, chairperson of the Mini Rodeo Committee. She was concerned about the attendance. “We did not know how many will show up after the pandemic.”
About a dozen yellow school buses were seen in the parking area from school districts such as Brawley, Calipatria, and Holtville.
The box section and the reserved section behind it were filled with special students, parents, and teachers. The reserved area on the south side was occupied as well. Some of the children came in cowboy and cowgirl costumes. Some came in wheelchairs.
“We had many volunteers this year,” said Reeves, whose grandchildren sought the help of their friends and became the bulk of the arena crew: clowns and entertainers who helped set up and take down the barrels and posts for the horse-riding competition events.
The children with disabilities expressed appreciation of what they saw in the arena — flags, horses, clowns, steers, lassoes, and Cattle Call Royalty queens — by jumping, sliding on their seats, or swaying while seated on the laps of their parents. They appeared not to be paying attention to their surroundings.
Martha Cardenas and her son, Ian Sanchez, 4, were seated in the box seats protected by rails that separated the audience from the animals.
Sanchez flung his arms, jumped, placed his foot on the rail, then ran back to his mother to be cuddled. Cardenas closely observed her son. He held a cell phone that fell into the arena. One of the clowns helped retrieve the cell phone and gave it back to Cardenas.
“He likes the horses,” said Cardenas.
“This was a field trip to get out and enjoy the show with their parents,” said Gabby Cota, a teacher’s aide at the Imperial Valley Center for Exceptional Children located at De Anza Magnet School in El Centro. Cota, Sanchez’ teacher’s aide, was seated behind them.
The children became overly excited when they saw the horses, steers, and clowns, according to Cota. “Even if children have disabilities, this should not stop them from going to events,” said Cota.
Leticia Alejos brought her 16-month-old daughter, Gianna Cordova. Cordova stood on her mother’s lap with her eyes concentrated on the events taking place inside the arena.
“It’s her first time to come here and see the horses and clowns,” said Alejos. “She was happy and screamed with excitement.”
“We had fun today and I hoped that everyone also had fun watching,” said Rylee Locher, 17, the 2021 Brawley Cattle Queen, who was mounted on her horse, Jazzy, in the arena.
“Everyone was safe, and we had such a good time,” said the Locher, who invited the community to watch the Cattle Call Rodeo this coming weekend.