LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Cancer patients and survivors enjoyed a banquet with rodeo champions as part of the Golden Circle of Champions initiative.
In attendance were nearly 20 families from Las Vegas. The honorees were between six and 14 years old who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer or associated illness. The children also had the opportunity to dine with rodeo champions, receive special gifts and learn about the sport of rodeo.
Sunday's event was extra special for the Harrison-Rubio family. They have spent more than five months at hospitals and missed out on Christmas last year after learning Johnathan had leukemia. The odds of beating the cancer were nonexistent a year ago.
"It’s a blessing to see where Johnathon is at today. On, November 30th, when he got diagnosed there was no chance of my son surviving," said Lorie Harrison. Johnathan is currently in remission with no signs of leukemia.
The cowboys made every participant feel like a true champion taught them how to coil a rope, how to swing it, and most importantly how to lasso an animal (prop).
"Just [want to] show them a good time, show them the cowboy way, and put a smile in their face," said Cowboy Kaysee Feild.
10 local families are hanging out with rodeo champions! Families and those from around the country are fighting life-threatening cancer. @PRCA_ProRodeo @RedBluffRoundUp @KTNV pic.twitter.com/0ZEsRdZldp— Cinthia Maldonado (@CinthiaKtnv) December 9, 2018
"Our dream is to let these kids go to the NFR and see the whole experience and make them the true champions that they are and put a smile on their face when they're battling such a hard time," said James Miller. He’s the general manager of Red Bluff Round-Up.
Johnathan's family is grateful for Sunday’s event since they're making up for lost time.
"He wasn't in good shape last year at this time so it's good to see him standing and having fun over there," said Nicholas Rubio.
"Seeing Johnathon where he is at today, it's a miracle," said his mother.
During the evening, all honorees attended the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center. On Monday, the group will make their way to Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center for a photo shoot in the Wrangler NFR Arena, followed by live viewing of the Junior NFR presented by YETI.