For five years, Dennis Pruitt has been organizing free rodeo shows for children and adults with special needs. The shows have taken place at the Florence Center.
Most people don’t know Pruitt by his regular name. In the rodeo world, his nickname is “Strawberry,” and he owns Double Creek Rodeo.
But, there is a humbleness to “Strawberry” that would make his past unbelieveable.
The cowboy was the 1996 Bull Riding World Champion of the World and has been involved in rodeos for over 40 years.
Strawberry said he enjoys the lifestyle but making a positive impact is what makes it all worth it.
“A lot of these kids wouldn’t never have the opportunity to come out at night to see the rodeo because of some of their conditions, so this is just a way to give back to the community,” he said.
At the show, individuals watched bull riding, calf roping and more.
There were over 41 schools and organizations who came to the free event. For some attendees, it was their first time.
“We had a really good time. The kids were excited. Matter of fact, I was excited. This was my first rodeo show,” said Tameka James from New Generation Adult Day Center in Florence.
According to Marketing Director for the Florence Center, Nick Hooker, the event was created just for those with special needs.
“It’s built and tailored just for the special needs children and adults that are here now. It’s a barrier free environment, very friendly for them and we just encourage them to come out and have a really good time,” Hooker said.
Strawberry plans to continue bringing the free event to Florence every February.