SLE Miracle Rodeo benefits Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch

This year's SLE Miracle Rodeo benefited the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It was a night full of smiles and fun at this year’s Miracle Rodeo inside Garret Coliseum.

The event started over 20 years ago as one of the first events to kick off the Southeastern Livestock Expo Rodeo.

The event historically entertains patients from Alabama’s Children’s Hospital, but this year foster and adoption families of the River Region were invited. The Miracle Rodeo has been canceled the last two years due to COVID-19.

“This is where we bring in children with disabilities and their families to come out and have a fun night on the horses, on wagons, roping, just doing things that a cowboy would do,” said SLE member Keith McCurdy.

“They get to get out there in the dirt and to a large extent experience what a rodeo might be like,” McCurdy said.

This year, proceeds 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 ranchers were invited by SLE to come out and enjoy the show. Fourteen of the girls attended and helped volunteer at the event.

“It meant a lot to know that they thought about us in this and how to give back to our organization,” said Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch Director Candice Gulley.

Rodeo organizers surprised the girls ranch with a check for $6,400.

“The way that the local communities have embraced the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches is absolutely amazing,” said Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches CEO Michael Smith. “How not to be a believer when you’ve seen what I’ve seen over the past nine months.”

The ranch, a safe haven for the abused and neglected, lost four ranchers and Director Candice Gulley’s two children and two nephews in a car accident last June.

“Part of our healing process is doing, and just getting out there and doing what we know we’re called to do, which is serve,” Gulley said.

“Our girls, from all the trauma they’ve been through in their lives, they get to 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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