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Rodeo Killeen kicks off with Military Appreciation Night

Posted at 8:23 PM, May 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-18 21:23:36-04

KILLEEN, Texas — The annual Rodeo Killeen is back and keeping with tradition, they are kicking things off with a salute to the heroes in uniform.

”What’s great about Fort Cavazos is that we have people from all over the world stationed here and for a lot of these people, this will be their first rodeo,” said Brett Gordon, Veteran and Co-Chairman of Rodeo Killeen.

“We want to give them a great experience.”

Gordon is excited to team up with Big Hoss BBQ for Military Appreciation Night.

”They host a free BBQ for active-duty military and their family members,” Gordon said.

“They come out and get a free meal and then we hand them a free ticket to come over and watch the rodeo.”

This is a simple act of kindness that means the world to Sergeant First Class Paul Martinez who has been serving for 19 years.

”It means a lot to me,” SFC Martinez said.

“To know that the community supports us, supports Camp Cowboy, to be out here with these guys and to see your local veterans come out and have a great night.”

SFC Martinez volunteered at the Camp Cowboy booth providing information on the organization that introduced him to western culture and helped him cope with the effects of PTSD.

”It actually helped me out a lot, dealing with my everyday struggles with PTSD, nightmares, anxiety, and depression” SFC Martinez said.

“Getting out here around these horses is a blessing to be around, and also knowing that they’re looking for a leader just like we’re taught to be in the Army.”

Statements like this contribute to why military appreciation night at Rodeo Killeen is so important.

”I know they have a lot of programs going on for military and I think it’s awesome,” SFC Martinez said.

“I think it’s phenomenal. I know my family will be out here tonight.”

The show started at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and active-duty military or family members that brought a military ID received free food from Big Hoss BBQ and ticket to the rodeo.