Mentor Uses Rodeo to Change Lives

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TONGANOXIE, Kan. -- Starting Thursday, the Tonganoxie fairgrounds will be packed with rodeo action. One of the men in the rodeo is a respected competitor, but he's also respected for his role as a mentor.

Aaron Harvey says he's always loved horses, and this life is something he dreamed of as a kid.

"In my kindergarten yearbook I wrote that I wanted to be a football player or rodeo cowboy," says Harvey.

He actually did both, played some college ball and now he's on the rodeo circuit. And his passion has a way of rubbing off on people.

"We always saw the horses ride by and we wanted to be a part of it," says Drew Bey.

He's one of six kids from his neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan. who Harvey is grooming to follow in his cowboy boots. But Harvey says he didn't set out to be a mentor, it just happened as curious kids saw him in the neighborhood.

"One day I was riding my horse on Leavenworth Road and one of them started following me to my house and wouldn't leave," says Harvey.

"He showed us the ropes how to clean stalls, groom the horses," says Drew Bey. "Then it escalated the more we caught on and picked up the more we were able to ride horses and roping."

Harvey taught the boys about horses, but also patience, dedication and hard work.

"I couldn't stop them from working," Harvey says. "They rode their bike to my house every day rain, sleet, snow."

Harvey says most of his kids aren't kids anymore. They're growing up and heading to college, some of them with rodeo scholarships even. But there's no doubt his lessons over the years made an impact.

"It helped me grow as an individual," says Lamaas Bey. "And, take care of responsibilities."

If you want to check out the Shrine Rodeo Thursday or Friday, or the demolition Derby on Saturday, find out all about it here.

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