“Look for the Helpers”
Derrick Begay, Ryan Motes, Coleman Proctor, and Lane Santos and other cowboys step up to help at Sam's Posse's Exceptional Rodeo at the Poway's Rodeo during the last weekend of rodeo's regular season.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Fred Rogers

Some days, it feels like we’re living in a time with so little hope. So much hate, sadness, and division on the news. 

And then some days, we find a reason to smile–a reason to keep believing, to keep loving, and to keep pushing for more for this world we all live in. 

That day, for me, was yesterday. I’d been home to Pittsburgh for a funeral–cancer, again, took someone dear to so many. When I landed back in Denver and turned my phone back on, I had a text from my friend Deborah Burt that said, “It was EPIC!! So many ropers showed up to support us.”

She was talking about her Sam’s Posse Exceptional Rodeo at the Poway Rodeo, which she and her husband Buck organized in memory of her dear son Sam, who they lost in 2013 after a battle with dilated cardiomyopathy. The ropers who showed up? Derrick Begay, Ryan Motes, Coleman Proctor, Lane Santos-Karney, and Cody Mora. 

I’d shared their event on our Facebook page the day before, and immediately after text Derrick, Ryan, and Coleman, because I’d seen they were on the trade list for the 1 p.m. performance. They all said, without hesitation, that they’d be there. 

Coleman Proctor helping a roper.

If you’ve been following the bubble coverage, you might remember that Coleman and Ryan were trying like heck to have a good couple of days to crack the top 15. They were at Omaha Friday morning, drove to Kansas City Friday night, and didn’t have any luck at either place. They hopped an early-morning flight to San Diego, jumped in a car at the airport, and headed straight to the Sam’s Posse Exceptional Rodeo at 10:30 that morning. 

“Chelsea sent us, how can we help?” they told volunteers when they walked into the arena just in time. 

And with that, I have never been more proud of anything I’ve done in my career. They helped 28 participants with intellectual or physical disabilities enjoy a morning with stick horses, roping dummies, bucking machines, and even a real-life unicorn. JJ Harrison emceed the event, Smokey the Bear entertained and informed, the Poway and Valley Center Rodeo Royalty volunteered, and Miss Rodeo California greeted guests, too. 

The Poway Rodeo Committee embraced and supported the event, Deb told me, and the Poway Chamber of Commerce presented Sam’s Posse with a $2,000 check from money raised at its recent mixer. Plus, the Rancho Minerva Middle School in Vista, California, sent its national-award-winning video production team to shoot a documentary that will be entered in a national event sponsored by Panasonic.

Derrick Begay knocking the edge off a bronc.

In the middle of a fight-to-the-finish, with their seasons on the line, these guys, who surely could have used a few more hours of sleep as they criss-crossed the country, showed up. They showed up for people who could do nothing for them; for those who had nothing to offer but a smile. They showed up to make someone else’s day, week, year, life. 

This is a very public thank you everyone involved in the Sam’s Posse Exceptional Rodeo, for doing what’s right and what’s good and what makes us all better as human beings. 

Whether or not Coleman and Ryan make the cut come tomorrow, this weekend was a big WIN for them and the rest of the guys who took some time out of their day to do something they sure didn’t have to do. 


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