MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – It was a night full of smiles and fun at this year’s Miracle Rodeo inside Garret Coliseum.
The event began over 20 years ago as one of the first events to launch the Southeastern Livestock Expo Rodeo.
The event historically entertains patients at Alabama Children’s Hospital, but this year foster and adoptive families from the River area were invited. The Miracle Rodeo has been canceled for the past two years due to COVID-19.
“It’s where we take kids with disabilities and their families out and have a fun night on the horses, on the wagons, on the ropes, just doing things a cowboy would do,” said SLE member Keith McCurdy.
“They can get out in the dirt and, to a large degree, experience a rodeo,” McCurdy said.
Proceeds this year benefited the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch. It’s been nine months since the ranch lost eight children in a 12-car pileup on Interstate 65.
The young breeders were invited by SLE to come and enjoy the show. Fourteen of the girls attended and volunteered at the event.
“It meant a lot to know they were thinking of us and how to give back to our organization,” said Candice Gulley, manager of the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch.
Rodeo organizers surprised the girls’ ranch with a check for $6,400.
“The way local communities have embraced Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches is absolutely amazing,” said Michael Smith, CEO of Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches. “How can you not be a believer when you have seen what I have seen in the last nine months.”
The ranch, a haven for the abused and neglected, lost four ranchers and manager Candice Gulley’s two children and two nephews in a car accident last June.
“Part of our healing process is to do, and just go out and do what we know we are called to do, which is to serve,” Gulley said.
“Our girls, from all the trauma they’ve been through in their lives, come here and help other children. It’s wonderful,” Smith said.
Since the Miracle Rodeo’s inception, it has helped raise nearly $120,000 for various charities.
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