Pals with Pigs helping children, teens with disabilities show animals at Rogers County Fair

ROGERS COUNTY -- A fair that is truly inclusive. The Rogers County Fair helped get children and teens with disabilities in the show arena Thursday.

The Pals with Pigs program connects special needs children and adults with 4-H and FFA members who are already pros at showing animals.

Mentor Carson Bridgeman is in 4-H and has shown animals for nearly as long as he's been alive. Now he and others in the animal programs decided to share their passion.

"I'm going to help my friend get ready for the hog show," Carson said.

Organizer Regina Crouch got the idea after a parent of a special needs child approached her last year. She modeled Pals with Pigs after a similar program in Kansas.

"When you have a child and their sibling shows then they are sitting in a chair watching, but they want to be a part of this," Crouch said.

Participants from age six to into their fifties signed up while volunteer mentors lined up ready to meet their partners.

Nathan Willhoite is part of the Wildcats Special Olympics team and was eager to meet his mentor and animal.

"I've never done it before but I'm ready to do it," Willhoite said.

At this fair, everyone is a winner. Several businesses in the community donated items for prizes.

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