Thursday, March 13, 2014

Volunteering at the Rodeo Houston

Wow!  My final shift at the HLSR for the Special Children's Committee was last night and boy was it a long week!  I had a ton of fun and it was super rewarding, but it was exhausting.

I had to volunteer 5 times total (one being the Top Hands Horse Show), 3 concert nights and 1 day tour.

The HLSR is a huge event and has over 28,000 volunteers (plus a small staff) that puts on the rodeo each year and gives out a ton of money in scholarships.

The committee I volunteer for is the Special Children's Committee, which hosts mentally and physically handicapped kids and adults (plus chaperones) during day tours and concerts.  During the concerts we have a special entrance and special seats reserved for them.  We greet them off the bus, walk them to their seats, give them popcorn and drinks, and dance with them and help them back to their vehicles when the concert is over.  Normally I just helped them to their car, but during my break last night (Jake Owen Concert) I stayed with them and danced.  I had hte most fun!  I 'slow danced' in the aisle with a few of the kids and when they went to leave, I was going to shake their hands, but two of them kissed me on my cheek.  It was so cute! :)  I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of this committee this year.  It was a blessing to hang out with them!

My day started super early, so I of course had to get some coffee when I got to the park.  We had a concert the night before (REO Speedwagon) and I didn't get home until past midnight.  The next day (Tuesday) I woke up to my annoyingly cute alarm to get dressed and head to Reliant.  I knew I would be there all day, so coffee was a must!
On Tuesday (typing this out of order), we had a day tour with the kids. They came on buses and we escorted them throughout the rodeo to see the different animals (petting zoos and attractions) and we also gave them lunch.  There is section with pig races that the kids all loved.  They have four sections and each section has a colored flag.  Whatever section you are in, you cheer that pig on during the race (I think my groups section was orange).  They would tell you about each of them and how fast they were, then they would race down a shoot (looking for food I'm sure!).  The kids would cheer and cheer for there little pig.  It was sweet to watch.

About 1 pm all of the groups headed back to their buses to head home for the day.  My sister was supposed to bring my nephew to the carnival around 3 pm, so I went to hang out with one of my friends who was volunteering too.

Laura and Cole got there and we bought some carnival tickets.  We rode the slide and Cole loved it.  I swear, that kid is fearless. He rode tons of rides (well, as many as $20 worth of tickets gets you, LOL) and then we went inside to look at the animals and to eat lunch.  I wanted to get some fried food, but I was good and didn't (I still have over a week though!).  While Laura was in line for the bathroom, Cole wanted to ride the escalator over and over and over and over and over again.  We shouldn't have bought carnival tickets, we could have just stuck him on that thing and he would have been happy. I couldn't say no to this cute face. :)

 Part of the rodeo is art work that students submit.  They were all wonderful and some of them go for a lot of money at auction.  I love this pig one!  I do not know what the different ribbons mean though.  I know they are different prizes, but I am not sure what is the top prize and I didn't see a sign, but I could have missed it.

So overall I was at the rodeo from 4:30 pm-12:30 pm on Monday, 8 am-9:30 pm on Tuesday and 5 pm til 1:30 pm on Wednesday.  So tired, but it was super fun and worth it!  Tonight is the Veronica Mars premier at AMC in Sugarland!!  Can't wait.

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