Roping, Barrel Racing Take Over Lobby Of Children’s Hospital Colorado
The Children’s Hospital Colorado Rodeo Experience is an annual event held each January and hosted by Dr. Jason Stoneback and his wife Gin; along with their generous neighbors and friends. The Rodeo Experience was created five years ago when a rodeo enthusiast patient at Children’s Hospital Colorado was given tickets by Dr. Stoneback to attend the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo performance but was ultimately unable to attend due to illness. This inspired Dr. Stoneback and his wife Gin to bring the Rodeo Experience and their beloved western way of life to the patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado. It didn’t take any convincing for neighbors and friends to quickly become involved in this event and each year these friends are the main reasons the patients are able to take part in so many meaningful western experiences.
Many of the western industry manufacturers and local Colorado businesses are also involved as sponsors at the annual event to make sure each patient is able to take home a souvenir. From the very popular Wrangler stick horses used in the stick horse barrel racing and given to each patient to take home, to the custom Children’s Hospital Colorado Heel-o-matic roping dummy that the children are able learn to rope and sometimes ride around, each sponsor gives the patients a little piece of the West. In addition to the arena events such as dummy roping and stick horse barrel racing there is also a photo booth, activities tables and a bull horn ring toss for the patients to take part in. The highlight of the event has to be the live concert in the Hospital atrium performed in years past by the Austin Wahlert Band and
this year by Jessie Miller!
The Ryan Seacrest studio at the Hospital also opens up at 10 AM for the event to host a number of cowboys, cowgirls and patients in their studio for rodeo games and roping demonstrations which is aired throughout the hospital. Additionally, groups of volunteers and visiting rodeo queens go up to patient floors to visit the patients who are unable to come down to participate in the event. These generous folks leave patients with goodie bags and some good memories of really nice folks wearing cowboy hats. Each year the event grows with gracious and generous volunteers adding western experiences to the event for patients to enjoy. New this year was Roger Magic, who was a huge hit with his jaw-dropping card tricks similar to “the gambler” in an old western!!
One of the most meaningful goals that this event has accomplished is connecting with the rodeo and horse community while families are receiving care at the hospital. A rodeo family who have three lovely children happen to be at the hospital on the same day as the Fourth Annual Children’s Hospital Colorado Rodeo Experience because their youngest son was receiving his final cancer treatment! After the family happily rang the final treatment bell and celebrated with the wonderful care team staff, they came down to the atrium where they were greeted by many friendly faces in cowboy hats and said they felt right at home and wanted to be a part of the event each and every year only as volunteers instead of as a
It has been a good day at each event because of all of the individuals who are involved in this event; they help, for a moment, the patients and families who are fighting their fight, to let them experience our western way of life and bring a smile to their face.