Riding Against Child Abuse Gets an Unexpected Gift

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Dakota Eldridge recently donated rodeo earnings to the Walla Walla Exchange Club for their work with child abuse prevention. The Walla Walla Exchange Club has partnered with the Walla Walla Community College rodeo for 43 years to help prevent child abuse.

Eldridge is a timed event cowboy attending the Northwest Region’s Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon. Eldridge, from Elko, Nevada, won the all-around, tie-down roping, and team roping events at the Walla Walla rodeo March 10-11. Eldridge is also a two-time qualifier to the College National Finals Rodeo.

“I have led such a blessed and fortunate life, with rodeo bringing me some of the greatest opportunities, friends, memories and experiences. I thought it would be neat to see my winnings go towards helping someone achieve such opportunities, experiences and memories as well,” said Eldridge. He added, “My parents and family members have given my rodeo career tremendous support, and I will be forever grateful for that. I want to give back to others who might not have the amount of support that I do.”

Walla Walla Community College Rodeo Coach, Buster Barton, said, “It’s great to see young adults give back to a community. Dakota couldn’t have picked a better cause, we are very happy to have the support.”

The proceeds from the rodeo will go to the Walla Walla Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

Eldridge said, “I actually want to start helping good causes such as the ‘Riding Against Child Abuse’ much more throughout my rodeo career. I really admire Buster Barton and Ted Milgard, assistant rodeo coach, for the work they put into the cause and rodeo, they are great role models for young rodeo cowboys, such as myself.”

Last summer Eldridge was able to spend time with a local boy who had not been fortunate enough to attend rodeos. “This boy doesn’t really have the opportunity to go to rodeos like I do and I could not believe how much it meant to that little guy to be able to go to a rodeo and get a hot dog, it was like he as in 7th heaven, and those types of experiences are something I took for granted all my life. Looking back, I can’t believe how fortunate I was to have had rodeo, family and friends so strongly in my life. He was one of the biggest influences for me to start giving back to others as much as I can. I really want to help others who aren’t as fortunate to create memories, and achieve their dreams, like I have.”