Texas FFA News  
Decatur FFA Member Establishes Special Needs Rodeo    
Sunday, January 15, 2017 | Author: Katie Armstrong, Texas FFA News Staff

Vision, action and awareness motivated Decatur FFA member, Lyndi Luttrull, to establish a unique special needs event in her community. More than 125 spectators gathered to witness the first annual Heart of a Champion Special Needs Rodeo in Decatur, Texas at the NRS Event Center on December 16, 2016.

Two years ago, Luttrull and her sisters, Lauryn Luttrull and Shelby Bradshaw, started the Wise County Heart of a Champion Stock Show, and Luttrull felt the rodeo was a natural extension of that.

“As a 2015-2016 Texas FFA Ford Scholar, I was challenged to evaluate the needs of my community,” said Luttrull. “Since we had already hosted a special needs livestock show, I had the network to put on a rodeo that would benefit a unique group of people.”

Forty participants partook in activities such as stick horse barrel racing, four cattle branding, and dummy roping. Any donations made during the event benefited the Heart of a Champion Scholarship fund in Memory of Wayne Long.

More than 70 student volunteers, 20 teacher volunteers and eight committee members aided in conducting the event. In addition to individual community support, Luttrull worked with a local business to provide an ideal location. 

“I live in a community with deep roots in rodeo,” said Luttrull. “National Ropers Supply (NRS) is a local FFA supporter and I really wanted to work with them.”  

Through Ford Leadership Scholars training, Luttrull established a mission statement that applies to her project. 

Her mission statement reads, “To reach my full potential and to help those around me do the same, regardless of physical or mental disability so that we can all be reminded of what we are capable of accomplishing. I will do this by creating a safe, inclusive environment that is comfortable for all to be successful while participating in Heart of a Champion Special Needs Rodeo.”

The Ford Leadership Scholars program provides an intense hands-on leadership development experience through apprentice-type scenarios, interaction with nationally-recognized leaders and projects to be completed by student in their respective communities. The program is a result of the Texas FFA Foundation, Ford Division, and Texas Ford Dealers partnership to enhance the leadership opportunities of Texas FFA members.

[Photos via NRS Facebook and Lyndi Luttrull]

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