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Working with the Snowball Express (SBE) is always an emotional experience. They are a non-profit group whose mission is to “Provide hope and new memories to the children of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty since 9/11.”  We had the honor of doing it last year and we were invited again this year.  Our participation started last Friday night activities at the Resistol Arena, home of the Mequite Championship Rodeo.  The evening started with 1300 SBE family members arriving on a multitude of buses to standing ovations, a local high school band drum corps and the Mesquite Police passing out Hot Wheel cars.  There was a mechanical bull for the kids, Cowboy Hats for everyone (thanks to a very generous donation by Resistol) and Gary Sinese was out front doing a meet and greet and signing hats.  Gary Sinese is the most amazing guy, he has to be dragged away from the kids and did not leave until the rodeo had started and line was gone.  He did the same thing last year.

Every year I seem to add a new sport to my repertoire, and this year it was the Rodeo.  It is a fun sport to shoot.  You kind of can tell where the action will be but it is a great challenge.  It was a full rodeo with team roping then a calf scramble.  There were so many kids they needed 4 rounds.  For the calf scramble, they lined up the kids, released to calves with a bandana tied to the tail and whoever got a bandana received $20.  Next was saddle bronc riding, then barrel racing and the rodeo finished off with bull riding.  Then grand finale was a concert from Gary Sinese and the Lt. Dan Band.  They do an excellent job covering well known songs and this year two of my favorites were “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “Purple Haze”.

Gary Sinese surrounded by fans as he signs autographs on the hats donated by Resistol.

Kids participate in one of the four calf scrambles

Mike Snyder from NBC KXAS 5 was one of hte MCs of the event and interviewed the kids after the calf scramble

Holding on tight during a saddle bronc ride

The final stretch in the second to last barrel race for the evening

A bull in full leap (with a giant drool trail) tries to remove the rider off his back

Neal Boyd, 2008 Winner of America’s Got Talent, takes a photo of Gary Sinese

Fans watch the Lt. Dan Band perform

Kimo Williams, Ernie Denov and Gary Sinese jam to “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix

Gary Sinese plays his bass

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