Western fever has hit Calgary as it always does at the beginning of July. The city comes alive with the Calgary Stampede and events taking place all over the city. One of the most special to us is Cody Snyder Bullbustin’, an annual rodeo that invites a group of our kids out for a hands-on bull bustin’ experience.

Thanks to a special partnership with ATB Financial and Cody Snyder, Kids Up Front Calgary was able bring a group of 12 kids from Tsuu T’ina Nation to Cody Snyder Bullbustin’ on July 6th.

When the 12 kids arrived, they were greeted with smiling ATB faces, along with many members of the rodeo community. Starting off with a juicy burger and speeches from a few of the esteemed guests, the kids then got to meet the stars of the afternoon.

As the namesake of the event, Snyder told the kids about his days as a bull rider. He was the first Canadian to become the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s (PRCA) champion. Snyder also holds the record for highest scored ride in Canadian Rodeo History at 95 points.

Scott Schiffner, a current-day bullrider, also drew in the kids. The 2014 Calgary Stampede Champion and PBR Canada National Champion received lots of questions from the eager kids, sharing his love for the sport, how he got involved and much more.

Both handed out autographed photos to the kids, who were in awe meeting their rodeo heroes.

The kids had the chance to meet former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, who played in parts of eight NHL seasons. Kennedy was on hand on behalf of his organization, the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre (SKCAC), who was the charity of choice for event proceeds.

Once lunch was scarfed down, the kids headed out to the rodeo infield for a chutes tour and got to be face-to-face with a bull (through the fence) that was going to be ridden that evening. Schiffner brought out different equipment used by bull riders and continued answering question after question the curious kids had.

Next up was a demonstration on the mechanical bull.   The kids learned the proper way to hold on, spur and ride a bull.  Of course, we did not turn the power on….!  That may best be left to those with experience!

At the end of the afternoon, each attendee left with a hat, hoodie and a copy of ‘Bull Fight Billy’, a book from author Kelly Byrne inspired by her sons who are in the rodeo industry.

This year, more than $130,000 was raised by the Cody Snyder Bullbustin’ event, with the money going to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.  Kids Up Front is pleased to call SKCAC a partner agency; we enjoy working with you and your staff throughout the year.

Special thank you to Katie from ATB who helped organize our group, plus Rhonda Snyder, Cody’s wife, who arranged the tour and giveaway bags for each child.  Kids always love a special keepsake!

A huge thanks goes to Cody, Scott and Sheldon for engaging the kids in all aspects of the event. Your energy, enthusiasm and passion was evident and infectious!

Finally, thank you Brittany from Tsuu T’ina Police for bringing such an engaged, informed and excited group for the afternoon.

At Kids Up Front, we always have a demand for tickets or experiences during this time for any types of events. Luckily, we have some tremendous community partners who give us exclusive opportunities to take children who normally would not have the chance to see something like this.

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