Dreams come true at Tucson rodeo for 8-year-old boy
Dreams come true at Tucson rodeo for 8-year-old boy Video by kgun9.comvideo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - As 8-year-old Tallen takes his first steps on the rodeo's boot-stomped floor today, his mother, Whitney, says she is emotional.
"It's pretty fun that he can be here and celebrate it, because they said he wouldn't be this far," said Whitney Welch.
Almost three years ago, Tallen was preparing to be a junior rodeo roper in Prescott when his dreams were suddenly halted.
"He was struck by a horse," she says. "He suffered a traumatic brain injury. We did about six months in the hospital."
But this horrible accident sparked a beautiful idea.
"I received a phone call from Donna Lynn Quterro who is the founder of Western Wishes last February, and asked if we would be willing to go down and meet a little boy down in Tucson rodeo," she says.
That's when Mary and her husband met Tallen and started an Arizona chapter of Western Wishes-- An organization that gives kids like Tallen a chance to be a cowboy.
"Some of these kids get the opportunity to attend rodeos like this, go to a concert, meet their favorite country music star," says Western Wishes Co-Director Mary Rainwater.
Tallen is Mary's first Western Wisher, but days like today show her the impact the organization can have.
"They come in places like this with the cowboys and the cowgirls...and they just treat him like he's one of there own," she says.
As for Tallen...
"He's on cloud nine," says Welch. "They just make him feel so special."
He fits right in with the cowboys behind the scenes, and as he continues to recover, his mom hopes he can join them some day.
"He's doing amazing," she says. "He's walking with a walker, we got him a saddle, he's riding his own horse."
Preparing for what will be an inspirational rodeo debut.