MANHATTAN – The 64th annual K-State rodeo, which is expected to draw more than 500 contestants and 10,000 spectators, is slated for Feb. 14-16 in Kansas State University’s Weber Arena.
The contestants will come from 19 colleges and universities in the Central Plains region.
“Our rodeo draws one of the biggest crowds of any National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association event across the country,” said K-State rodeo coach Casy Winn. “The great attendance highlights the hard work that current and past K-State rodeo club members and team leaders put in to make this a successful showing.”
Tickets cost $10 in advance or $15 at the door for adults; $8 in advance or $10 at the door for children, K-State students with ID, or military with ID; or $30 at the door for a weekend pass. Children 4 and under are free.
In Manhattan, advance tickets are available at the Call Hall dairy bar, Orscheln’s, Yeehaw, Outpost Western Store and K-State Union Bookstore. Tickets are also available at Orscheln’s in Junction City, R Bar B in Topeka and Vanderbilt’s in Wamego.
Advance tickets are available through Feb. 13.
The 2020 rodeo schedule includes:
7:30 p.m. — “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Night
1 p.m. — Children 12 and under are free with a donation of one canned good for the Flint Hills Breadbasket with the purchase of an adult ticket
4-6 p.m. — Rodeo Alumni and Friends Social at the Stanley Stout Center
7 p.m. — Miss Rodeo K-State Coronation
7:30 p.m. — Pack Weber with Purple Night
10 a.m. — Cowboy Church
1 p.m. — Military Appreciation Day and finals performance
For more information and ticket locations visit asi.ksu.edu and select ‘K-State Rodeo’ under ‘Events.’
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kansas — Nikki Heiman was
excited to learn that the state was sending a job counselor to work with
her son, Trenton, a high school student with Down syndrome.
that excitement fizzled when Heiman learned the specialist could only
meet with Trenton once a month — and only for 15 minutes. That’s all the
time the counselor could squeeze into her schedule while handling a
large caseload that forces her to shuttle between multiple counties.
were very disappointed,” Heiman said. “When you cover five counties,
you spend so much of your workweek driving and not nearly enough
providing services to people who need support.”
want Kansans with disabilities in the workforce. Even earning a modest
wage can bring added purpose and pride to their lives, and stability.
But landing and keeping a job, especially for people with cognitive
challenges, can prove daunting.
To make that happen, counties
across the state turn to the private Project Search program. The
national program pairs disabled workers with employers and gives workers
some of the special tools they need to keep things humming in an office
or on a shop floor.
Coleman’s long legs made for an awkward fit in a chair made for someone
half his size. But he read to the 1-year-old sitting next to him. The
day’s book: “Teeth Are Not For Biting.”
After graduating from Derby Public Schools, Coleman signed up for a
year-long internship at McConnell Air Force Base’s child care center
through Project Search.
hopes to earn a job working with children, possibly as a teacher’s
aide. He has autism and he’s learning at McConnell how to deal with
kids. That includes adapting to their heightened emotions, especially
“I ask them what’s wrong,” Coleman said. “I sometimes
just let them just stay with me. And, you know, just tell them it’s
Project Search works with 13 Kansas job sites, including hospitals, universities and hotels. Instructors try to keep a light touch on supporting the interns on the job.
have high expectations because we don’t want them to fail when they get
their full-time, paying job,” said Vicki Rierson, a Project Search
instructor for Derby Public Schools.
Besides the work experience,
interns spend part of their day in class. The lessons range from
financial literacy to self-care — topics meant to help students in their
life during and after work.
Search helps about 100 interns a year in Kansas. The Kansas Department
for Children and Families estimates that more than 16,000 students 16
and older have a disability.
Kansas offers job counseling for
students and graduates with disabilities, but the state doesn’t have
enough counselors for everyone.
Kansas struggles to hire the counselors it needs because they can make more in other states. Counselors in Nebraska make $20,000 more than those in Kansas.
the tight Kansas labor market could also make it easier to convince
employers to hire more workers with disabilities, their advocates say.
They say that with workers scarce, businesses can’t afford to ignore any
“Any employer you talk to will tell you how
hard it is to hire good help these days,” said Rocky Nichols, head of
the Disability Rights Center of Kansas. “Well, guess what? There are
tons and tons of people with disabilities who have talents, who have
abilities and skills, who are being unutilized in our Kansas economy.”
after getting hired, Kansans with disabilities still need ongoing
support, So do their employers. Advocates say businesses need training
in how to accommodate someone with a disability.
minimal support, like having an advocate check in at work every few
months, 70% of workers with cognitive disabilities stay successful, said
Craig Knutson, a policy analyst with the Kansas Council on
Developmental Disabilities. He said that without the support, most lose
their job after five years.
Employers may need lessons on how to
communicate with someone who doesn’t speak. A worker with Down syndrome
may need more supervision and direct instructions to stay on task.
And as a task changes — like a filing system going from physical to digital — more training has to happen.
Search approached Jennifer Jull-Sullivan about taking on an intern at
her veterinary practice a few years ago. She previously had one employee
with a disability work at Blair Doon Veterinary Hospital for about a
decade. But the employee’s condition eventually worsened until she could
no longer work. Jull-Sullivan eventually did take on the intern and
eventually hired him as a kennel assistant. That’s a choice she likely
wouldn’t have made without support before and after the internship.
“I really did feel like I’d had my hand held all the way through,” Jull-Sullivan said. “It worked very nicely.”
Stephan Bisaha reports on education and young adult life for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @stevebisaha.