Nearly 2,000 elementary school students filled a barn at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds Tuesday, with their cowboy hats on, ready to learn an important message.
"We hope that they go away knowing how to handle situations, to use the term 'cowboy up' to be tough mentally rather than physically," said Janet Lemmons, an instructor with Cowboys & Kids.
Lemmons says she teaches the students during the REACh program how to be independent and tough like a cowboy when faced with a bully. But it's also about treating others with respect.
"Some kids don't realize what they're doing," said Lemmons. "They think they're just having fun and we as adults do that too."
Kathie Schotts says her class of second graders are familiar with this message because at Donaldson Elementary School, they already have a kindness program at their school through Ben's Bells.
"The more they hear it the easier it becomes to say no and step away," said Schotts.
And as a bonus, all the students were able to catch some rodeo events too.
"We hope it gets them excited about coming to the rodeo and to share what they learned about the rodeo," said Lemmons.
The Tucson Rodeo Parade starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday. For a full list of rodeo events, click here.