10 Country: Brian’s Rodeo Day - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Brian’s Rodeo Day

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May 6, 2002

Nashville-- One of the country’s roughest sports got several new players last week. You wouldn’t automatically think of them as cowboys and cowgirls, but they were.

Many kids can never free themselves from disabilities. But they can feel special, becoming brave cowboys and cowgirls. Brian Ellerbe wanted to ride a bull, and he got the chance.

Many of the 75 Special Olympics young people never get close to a real horse until they come to the Berrien County Special Olympics Rodeo. Everyone had a chance to ride a real horse and most of them did, seeing well-wishers all along the trail.

“They are on cloud nine, and I’m right there with them,” said Jo Wilson, a Berrien County teacher.

Brian Ellerbe has lived with cerebral palsy all of his 18 years. The disease gradually takes away his mobility, but can’t take away his spirit. Friendships happen immediately and those friendships have been know to last for years.

Sarah West volunteered to spend a few hours with Brian, all the while something unseen was happening to her. “Realize how much I got, how much I can do, and how much they may not be able to do normally,” said Sarah West.

Brian couldn’t leave the rodeo without riding a horse one more time. And with the help of someone he didn’t know, he got his wish, “That used to be my old horse, Brian.”

He rode off as a cowboy with a song in his heart. “Happy trails to you, until we meet again.”

Brian Ellerbe says he can wait to graduate this year and to get a job. If you go to the Berrien County Special Olympics Rodeo next year, you’ll get to see Brian near the REAL horses.

posted at 9:00AM by dave.miller@walb.com