Alexander City Outlook – Amy Bice
Students at Radney Elementary School listened to a program called the “Code of the West” by the Cowboys and Kids organization. Keith McCurdy from the Southeastern Livestock Expedition and Connie Sparkman, a champion barrel racer, presented a program about the rodeo and then about character traits.

“This is a reach program,” Sparkman said. “We go in and out of schools all over the United States not only talking about the rodeo but also about the code of the west.”

She said the code of the west is what it takes for the cowboys to be a winner but also what can help make the students a winner as well. First Sparkman talked to the students about the rodeo and the events that happen at a rodeo.

She showed the students a video of all the events at the rodeo that included things like bull riding and steer wrestling.

“It’s very important to pay close attention to what the cowboys are doing,” she said. “They couldn’t do what they do and win at it without character.”

She explained each event and what the rules that go along with it. She also told the students how the cowboys earn the scores.

“What we are really here to talk about is the code of the west,” Sparkman said. “We are going to talk about some things that you can use every day just like the cowboys on the video.”

She said it was very important for the students to learn certain character traits. One character trait she explained was not judging people by the way they look but by what is on the inside.

“I was a ballet teacher just a few years ago,” Sparkman said. “But you would not have known that if you judged me by what I have on today.”

She said the four important character traits for students to learn are being trustworthy, respect, responsibility and attitude. The most important trait is attitude because the students have a choice in whether to have a good attitude or a bad attitude. If the students instill these traits in their heart, then they will live by the code of the west.

“This is a message that kids need to hear no matter what age they are,” Sparkman said.

Sparkman and McCurdy were in town presenting the program this week because the rodeo begins next week in Montgomery. McCurdy said the program was a good way to advertise the rodeo but it also comes with a special message. The rodeo will be at Garrett Coliseum March 10,11 and 12.