Bridger Elementary School partakes in stick horse rodeo

Photo by JMG and FCCLA advisor, Vicki Kaufman

Bridger Elementary students participate in annual stick horse rodeo

On Fri. Feb. 14, grades K-5 from Bridger Schools participated the second annual stick horse rodeo in connection with Cole’s Western Wishes. The school set up a few of barrels, poles, and a bronco riding area where elementary students could ride around and try their hand at rodeo fun. Jobs for Montana Graduates (JMG) advisor and organizer of the event, Vicki Kaufman said the donations from parents went towards Cole’s Western Wishes Pantry program, a JMG program that puts together and distributes healthy snack bags once a week for families in need. 

With all the Valentine’s Day sweets and candy, the rodeo event and pantry program were both ways to promote healthy living. 

“It’s a fun thing we do to encourage exercise. The Elementary kids get to come in to exercise and run and play. We also set up a station where they will be making Valentine cards and sending them to various veteran groups” Kaufman said.

According to the Cole Western Wishes website, after a tragic horse accident took the life of 8-year old Cole Pelican, the family has since started a non-profit ‘…for the sole purpose of providing help to agricultural youth in the Montana and Wyoming region.’

JMG advisor and organizer of the event Vicki Kaufman said Cole’s sister wanted to introduce the organization to Bridger Schools by holding various fundraising events. 

“They do all kinds of really great things, and it really shows they are doing a lot of good in our community. The kids get the buzz about that and it makes them willing to take part if we have an activity,” Kaufman stated. 

The stick horse rodeo donations will allow JMG students to buy supplies from Valley Foods in Bridger for the snack bags. Currently, the program provides healthy snacks to 10 families and 23 students. 

“We try to have something from each of the food groups. We put in granola bars, fresh fruit, rolls or a loaf of bread. Once a month we put in peanut butter and jelly in the bags. Valley Foods sometimes donates foods and we really appreciate that,” Kaufman said.