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Corey’s annual event brings smiles

Glenda Carr of Bremerton’s Dreamcater Carriage Service takes a group of Corey’s Day on the Farm participants for a horse-drawn hay ride Monday morning at the Fairgrounds. - Photo by Kent Soule/Hoot Creek Photography
Glenda Carr of Bremerton’s Dreamcater Carriage Service takes a group of Corey’s Day on the Farm participants for a horse-drawn hay ride Monday morning at the Fairgrounds.
— image credit: Photo by Kent Soule/Hoot Creek Photography

There was nothing but smiles at the 38th annual Corey’s Day on the Farm for Special Needs Children on Monday and Tuesday.

More than 850 children with special needs came from near and far to spend a day of fun, riding horses, going on hay rides, indulging in snow cones and practicing their roping skills.

“It’s stimulating for them and they feel like they accomplish something,” said Shelley Stoulil of Bainbridge Island who brought her 6-year-old daughter on Monday. “She usually doesn’t want to leave.”

Stoulil has been bringing her daughter to the event for the past four years and says her favorite event this year was the horse riding because it was the first year her daughter wanted to do it.

A large arena was set up so the kids, with the help of volunteers, could ride the horses. Each child then received a ribbon. The ribbon were donated to the Corey’s by Cow Palace in San Francisco. Besides a special picture memento, each child also went home with a cowboy poster, courtesy of Ariat boot company.

For organizer and founder Coleta Corey, she finds the greatest joy in watching the children have a good time and seeing their happy faces.

“My favorite part is the kids, I like seeing them happy,” she said. “They’re having a good time.”

She adds that another favorite of hers is watching the children volunteers practice their roping skills for those attending.

“It is so cute and so neat the way they do that,” Corey said.

The young ropers demonstrated their skills and then let the participants give it their best. For those who needed help, volunteers walked them through it and the end result for all — a big smile.

“We’ve been roping since we could walk,” said 13-year-old Bo Segerman of Bremerton. “I like seeing the kids when they rope and accomplish something.”

Each child who practiced roping was given a pin that read, “I ‘roped’ at Corey’s Day on the Farm.”

Local country singer Katie Webster also volunteered at the event and provided entertainment throughout the day on Monday.

“I love having the kids around, I want to be a special ed teacher when I get older,” said the 16-year-old North Kitsap High School junior. “It’s great to see the kids’ reactions and have them try something new. It’s amazing.”

She especially enjoys seeing the smiles on their faces when she’s performing and says the kids know all the songs and will sing along to many of them including her rendition of Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman.”

“I encourage people with special ed. children to come out next year,” Webster said. “It’s an amazing experience, it really opens and broadens their horizons.”

Nick and Coleta Corey first started the event at their farm in Silverdale. Coleta says they plan to continue it as long as they can keep it going. Coleta assures that when they can’t, their sons and daughters-in-law will keep the tradition alive.

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