HOUSTON – Rick Burgess watched kids straddle a horse for the first time and smile at the 14th Annual Fall Fun and Games day the Chickasaw County Agri-Center.
And that made him smile.
“I’ve been doing it for that reason since this started,” said Burgess. “It’s not a real big thing in the world of things, but it sure means a lot to me.”
More than 100 special needs kids from Houston and Houlka gathered at the Agri-Center Friday for fun and games and a chance to climb atop a real-live horse and ride around the pasture.
Kids also visited a magnetic fishing booth, tossed rings and did a cake walk to win prizes donated by local businesses and industry. The Houston Fire Department brought a fire engine and of course there were pony and buggy rides.
Burgess said he got started in 1999 with Fall Fun and Games when he was approached by Jo Cross about doing a field day with special needs children in Houlka.
“My kids were involved in 4-H and I was involved in 4-H and we just sort of kept it simple and pulled it all together,” said Burgess. “My children helped us put it together and volunteered to work the first one. Once my kids got grown and were no longer in 4-H, I just couldn’t stop.
“People who have never come out here and seen this don’t know what they are missing,” he added. “It’s all about these kids.”
And Burgess said a lot of volunteers show up every fall to do their part.
Jason Aron of Calhoun County, Cecil Williams, Doug Abrams, Tony Brashier and a lot of other folks bring there wagons and stock out here,” said Burgess. “I tell folks if you do it one time, you will do it again.”
Chickasaw County Extension Service personnel cooked lunch for the kids and volunteers.
“I really want to thank all the businesses and people who donated items and supported this financially,” said Cross. “This day gives these kids the opportunity to participate in activities, lunch and be a part of something special. And thanks to our donors we offer it free to the kids.”
More than 200 teachers, volunteers, parents and kids took part in Fun and Games 2014.