Pete and I’ve recently begun to ask Cassidy if we can come along in her suitcase to China. We’re envious!
Recently selected to participate in the inaugural educational program called, Rodeo China, she will spend ten days in Beijing, China in early October with a contingent of five 4-H Youth Agents and approximately sixty Colorado youth representing 4-H, FFA, and Little Britches Rodeo.
The Rodeo China program was created by Richard Tucker and his wife, Carrie. Both from South Carolina, they’ve had a long-term interest in China both through Carrie’s work as head of the Asian Studies Task Force at Furman University and Richard’s support of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s rodeos for the past ten years. Knowing that the Chinese love the West and value cultural history, Carrie and Richard felt they had an exciting concept.
Once the idea began taking shape, Richard contacted a number of individuals to help in organizing, what would become, a very ambitious event. One of those individuals was Jeff Goodwin, the head of CSU’s 4-H Extension program. Jeff was then charged with selecting the representatives from Colorado’s agricultural youth programs.
Cassidy attended her first training this past weekend in Pueblo, Colorado and reported that she would have to work a bit at mastering the pronunciation of not only her name, but, “Hello,” “Please,” and “Thank you.” It didn’t take Cassidy and the others long to figure out there was a translating application on their I-Phones and Smart Phones for Chinese, providing both print and audio translations.
When the Rodeo China contingent arrives in China, Cassidy and the other ambassadors will spend their days teaching 3000 rural Chinese youth, 300-400 each day, the intricacies and fun of roping, mutton busting, pole bending, and calf scrambles. They will also discuss basic livestock and agricultural practices with youth and Chinese representatives. At night the Bird's Nest will come alive with eight nights of professional rodeo in the Bird's Nest in Beijing. The 85,000 seat arena, built for the 2008 Olympics, will showcase the top rodeo talent in each rodeo event competing for a purse of over $8 million dollars. Cowboys and cowgirls from the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and Canada will participate.
Richard and Carrie hope Rodeo China will launch a five-year program to improve understanding of the American West in China in addition to creating more educational opportunities for both American and Chinese youth.
For more information on Rodeo China, visit: http://www.rodeochina.com/
For more information on Jeff Goodwin & CSU 4-H Extension, visit: http://www.colorado4h.org/