Rascal Rodeo to give those with disabilities chance to ride at Lynden fair

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 7, 2014 

LYNDEN - Cowgirls and cowboys will get a chance to ride the "fearsome bucking bronco" Midnight in a different kind of rodeo at the Northwest Washington Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 13.

Rascal Rodeo is a free, all-ages event intended to give those with physical and mental disabilities a shot at riding like the cowboys and cowgirls from the American frontier. Volunteers and participants still are needed.

"You don't need horse or rodeo experience," said Ann-Erica Whitemarsh, Rascal Rodeo founder. "You just need a heart."

Whitemarsh, 30, believes the event is rewarding for all the individuals involved and that seeing the participants' faces is priceless.

"Usually they are segregated from events," Whitemarsh said. "But they're the star of (this) show."

From 2 to 3:30 p.m., participants will run the gambit of faux-rodeo events, which include facing off against the "bronco" Midnight, a barrel secured with springs that rocks back and forth, and saddling up live horses supplied by local volunteers.

All activities will be supervised by Rascal Rodeo staff and volunteers.

Spectators are encouraged to come cheer on participants.

Volunteers don't need horse-handling experience, but it is recommended that they be age 14 or older.

Participants and one accompanying parent or guardian as well as volunteers will be given free tickets upon registration for the event. Those tickets will allow them to enter the Northwest Washington Fair free of charge.

Those interested in participating or volunteering can register at rascalrodeo.org or by phone at 509-528-5947. Donations also are taken at the website.

The time of the event was corrected July 7, 2014.

Reach Matthew Thompson at 360-715-2249 or matthew.thompson@bellinghamherald.com.

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