Special Needs Children Enjoy 23rd Annual Special Ranch Rodeo - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Special Needs Children Enjoy 23rd Annual Special Ranch Rodeo

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WACO, TX -

(KCEN) – Little four-year-old Lincoln Steele couldn't hide his smile even if he wanted to. It was that big.

"Oh, he will be talking about this for months," his mother Michelle said. "His eyes are just so big and bright."

So what had little Lincoln all wound up? It was the 23rd annual Special Ranch Rodeo. Before the professional cowboys and cowgirls competed in the All American ProRodeo Finals at the Heart O' Texas Fair and Rodeo, the arena was transformed into a massive play area.

Each year the Special Ranch Rodeo invites special needs children like Lincoln to learn how to rope and ride from the professionals themselves.

"It makes it feel like we're all on the same team, and that all these kids… it's like they left their disabilities at the door. They can just enjoy being a kid, and it's just a really special day for everybody," Michelle said.

Her son Lincoln has albinism, meaning his body doesn't produce any pigment and has caused him to be legally blind. Because of his condition, Lincoln cannot spend much time outside. But that hasn't stopped the little ball of energy.

"He's pretty fast, and is running around," professional steer wrestler Riley Duvall said. "I can't keep up with him, but we're having a good time."

Hand in hand Lincoln led Riley around the arena to check out more than a dozen rodeo activities all the way from calf roping, horse bucking, pony rides and steer wrestling. "It's just a great feeling to be out here, and to see all these kids really enjoying themselves," Riley said. "I feel like most are having the time of their life, and I'm glad I can be a part of it."

More than 70 children attended this year's Special Ranch Rodeo on Saturday, and for little one's like Lincoln, he plans on making it a yearly tradition.

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