West Texas Fair & Rodeo creating quieter environment for kids with special needs


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The West Texas Fair and Rodeo is implementing a new feature this year that will make sure everyone can enjoy the festivities.

The fair comes with the bright lights of rides and loud noises from the machines and the rodeo, which can be overwhelming for some.

Now, they are hosting a sensory processing event on Tuesday, Sept. 14 for those with special needs.

Hope and Ethan, both diagnosed with Down Syndrome, got to experience some of the festivities a day early.

In the Exotic Animal Sensory Room, Ethan and Hope got to get up close and personal with a kangaroo, otter, miniature goats and llamas, as well as a Texas longhorn.

They also got to try their hand at calf roping and riding a mechanical bucking bronco, all in a low-key environment.

Hope said that her favorite part of the day was being able to pet a kangaroo and feed the goats, while Ethan said his favorite part of the day would come after he got home.

“Take a nap, eat lunch, take a nap,” Ethan said.

Executive Director and Vice President of the Taylor County Expo Center Rochelle Johnson said that they have been trying to get a similar event going for nearly three years, but it just hadn’t worked out until this year.

“It’s a great exhibit for everybody, but we wanted to give a special time for the children who needed it,” Johnson said.

Along with the Exotic Animal Sensory Room, they will also shut off all of the music and lights from the rides to make a quieter environment.

This session will be open for all kids with special needs and their families from 3-5 p.m. on Tuesday.

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