NFR to hold events for autistic and special needs kids

Showcasing the generosity of its cowboy spirit, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is reaching out to children with special needs at twin events.

On Dec. 7, a  pair of NFR stars and defending world champions — bareback rider Tim O’Connell and steer wrestler Tyler Pearson — will visit the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation (GGAF) on Rancho Drive in Las Vegas. The rodeo champs will spend time with the children, accompanied by live horses, interacting with the kids and perhaps helping them mount up.

The GGAF is dedicated to aiding the development of children on the autism spectrum, as well as supporting their families, by providing diagnostic and support services, and community outreach opportunities.

Then on Dec. 10, special needs children will be able to earn their spurs as rodeo riders when they are invited to participate in the annual “Exceptional Rodeo” as part of this year’s NFR.

Now in its 36th season, the yearly “Exceptional Rodeo” will welcome children with special needs who will be brought by their parents and teachers to the Cowboy Christmas gift show at the Las Vegas Convention Center South Halls, 3150 Paradise Road.

Amid interactions with NFR contestants, Miss Rodeo America and other rodeo personnel, the children will be assisted in briefly experiencing roping, bulldogging, barrel racing and bull and horse riding. Being outfitted in cowboy hats and commemorative T-shirts will complete the rough-‘n’-tumble rodeo experience for the children.

For more information on both events, visit or, or on social media, using the tag @PRCA_ProRodeo. 

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