Brooke’s Round Up – “The Next Chapter” Part 1

A Story Begins…

Welcome to the first post of our 10-part blog series leading up to the Brooke’s Round Up event on September 21, 2024.  As you may already know, the first Brooke’s Round Up was held in 2017.  If you have read the history of how Brooke’s Round Up began, you know that a little girl with special needs named Brooklyn (“Brooke”) Cockerline inspired the community at Blazin’ Trails Cowboy Church to start this event.  A simple hayride, accompanied by her boundless laughter, led the people at Blazin’ Trails Cowboy Church to a profound realization: they had been missing out on an opportunity to reach out and minister to the Special Needs members of our area. 

Eight years later, this year, 2024, has been a banner year for Blazin’ Trails Cowboy Church.  There have been births, graduations, young people giving their life to Christ, many new members and attendees, and a sense of community and camaraderie like never before.  Earlier this year in April, Blazin’ Trails had its most successful “Rodeo At The Ponderosa” ever.  It’s important to mention that because 100% of the profits from that event go to funding Brooke’s Round Up, our Special Needs Rodeo and Carnival.

 Initially the general consensus was, “God has given our little church so many big wins this year–so many reasons to praise God and rejoice in.  How have we been so blessed? And now, what do we do to share that?!” With all of those funds from the Rodeo, BTCC is once again excited to host Brookes Round Up! The enthusiasm is off the charts–more fun, more rides, more special events and booths, more dancing, more laughter, more LOVE!  We are going to do all of those things and more–so you won’t want your Special Needs individual to miss out!  But…..

Turning The Page…

As far as the Rodeo, we’ve been there–we’ve done that—and we will continue to do that because we have a desire to serve the special needs community.  But what does it say about our church if we get complacent–if we stop growing, stop pushing, stop pursuing our only real goal which is “to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world?” 

In that same spirit of moving forward and reaching out–we knew that this year had to be about more than just making the event bigger and better.  So we kept talking and listening to one another and praying.  We knew that just throwing money at the event wasn’t going to fix the issue at heart. We knew there is more work to be done. We need to rekindle our passion for service. We need to go further.

Then one day God planted another seed, (eight years after that first hayride with Brooke) and it finally clicked.  At that point the real questions, the necessary questions were asked, “Who are the other people that Blazin’ Trails has been missing in ministry outreach?”, “How can we tell them that they are not alone?”, and most importantly, “How can we show them the love of Jesus?”.

That brings all of us here together, readers.  On one hand, yes, this series is dedicated to honoring the life of Brooke and sharing her inspiring story with you.  But now is the time to turn the page that started Brooke’s Round Up and start a new chapter in her story.   This new chapter will be told through her parents’ perspective and is aimed at reaching the families of special needs individuals.   

Relating to Families of Special Needs Children

We understand that many of you readers may have a special needs person in your life, whether a family member, friend, or even someone you know from your community. Through Brooke’s story, we hope to create a space for empathy, understanding, and connection. 

In the upcoming posts, we aim delve into Brooklyn’s life and her incredible family. Her parents, Alicia and Jason, will be sharing their experiences, shedding light on the trials and triumphs they have faced.. Their story is not just about Brooklyn but about the universal experiences of families with special needs children.

Alicia and Jason’s candid reflections will offer insights, bringing both laughter and tears, and hopefully fostering a sense of fellowship for others who have been there and experienced the ups and downs but didn’t necessarily have a place they could talk and people they could relate to.  We ask that you read and share these posts with kindness and love.  It is a deeply personal and emotional experience that Jason and Alicia are sharing with you, our readers. They want to open up in order to help other parents who have not been able to do so themselves.

A Raw and Honest Journey

Even though the slogan at BTCC is “you don’t have to be a cowboy to attend”, we like to think we demonstrate a little bit of that cowboy boldness.  Though there might not be physical frontiers to explore–that doesn’t mean we can’t explore the untapped frontiers of hearts and minds. In a time where propaganda news and societal divisions are rampant, we hope this series will stand out for its raw honesty and heartfelt message.  

Every family with a special needs child has a journey filled with valuable lessons and profound moments.  Sometimes a family may feel incredible excitement from the simplest moments of connection they share with their special needs child.   Also however, some may feel shame from their frustration, worry and doubt.  The latter is a conversation that no one wants to have but is important to have.  Similarly, every special needs child creates  poignant memories for their family and teaches them lessons–they enable us to be introspective and appreciate many things that “normal” people take for granted.  On the flip-side they present us with challenges that we do not always feel ready to meet.  

This is one family’s story that we are eager to share with you. Through faith in God, trust in His plan and unwavering love, Alicia and Jason navigated their journey with Brooke from her early birth to her early death. Their experience is unique to them of course, but many other families we hope can relate to their similarities.  And perhaps you too have experienced the same joy and the struggles they have, but lacked the ability to express your journey or wondered if anyone else really understood what it was like. 

Will You Join Us On This Ride?

Stay tuned in the following weeks as we continue to explore Brooke’s life in upcoming posts every Monday. Brooklyn and her family’s journey is one of love, challenges, and faith, and we hope to touch your hearts and minds through these posts.  Please join us on that journey down memory lane. We firmly believe in the everlasting love of God and that He really is all we need.  Yet it is often difficult living in this world where everyone seems disconnected. Therefore, He has given us the opportunity for fellowship. We want you to know you are not alone and we are ready to walk your journey into understanding and faith.

When you boil it down, the lesson we have learned as a church in the past year — keep doing what we initially set out to do—reach more people! Each year we have parents and family members who come up to the volunteers and say, “Thank you for doing this for my child.” By adding this blog and starting the conversation—our church has become revitalized as this year’s event approaches. Families, of course this event is aimed at your Special Needs family member; but it is also about you.

In closing, this year Brooke would have turned 16.  She can’t apply for a learners permit or ask to borrow the car.  That doesn’t mean she can’t take us on an adventure though. So strap in and buckle up because in the next 9 posts, we invite you to be a passenger on this road trip with Brooke behind the wheel. Remember though, her parents are in the passenger seat, finally getting their chance to tell it like it really is.


  1. Joy Whitesides says

    Thankful for Alicia, Jason & Nate sharing their story and also for Blazin Trails for their support and honoring Brook. She was truly a special angel on this earth during her short life. Her smile was beautiful and infectious…it gave you hope and the feeling that no matter what you were going to be ok with Jesus in control! She may never have spoken words but her life story spoke (and still speaks) volumes, giving us ALL some truly amazing life lessons!
    There’s no doubt that her wonderful family made great sacrifices and faced many challenges that would have made many just choose to give up, but their love for her (and Christ) was far greater.
    That love was surely returned every time they looked upon Brook’s precious face.
    MANY others were touched by her life and now in her honor, others with special needs can also know that same special love and have support from a family that truly knows how to stand strong with Faith in Christ! I suppose I’m a bit partial because they’re my family but I witnessed this all so I know it’s real! Brook is greatly missed but her legacy lives on…thanks again BTCC for standing alongside the family…may God continue His great blessings upon your ministry! And to Alicia, Jason, Nate, Jonathan and all the other dear family, our love and prayers are with you as you share your story in the weeks ahead! We love you all… Joy & Scott Whitesides ❤️🙏

  2. Susan Hoffman says

    Touching tribute to a precious little girl. God places angels among us and she surely was an angel. I would love to have met her💕

Post a comment

Print your tickets