Soldiers from the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, led by the brigade commander, Col. Mark Simerly, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jessie C. Bates, marched proudly at the front of the Independence Day Parade through the streets of Belton, cheered on by about 30,000 people.

“You (the soldiers) looked great and did a fantastic job this morning. You should be proud of this moment,” Simerly said as he addressed the formation of Wrangler soldiers after the parade.

Simerly and Bates thanked their soldiers and told them how proud they were before releasing them to enjoy the rest of the parade and their holiday weekend.

But for the brigade’s command team, the weekend’s community relations were just getting started.

This past weekend, Belton also celebrated the 89th Belton Rodeo at the Bell County Expo Center. On Friday, a small group of Wrangler soldiers, along with Brig. Gen. Clark W. Lemasters Jr., commander of the 13th Sustainment Command, were afforded the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the rodeo and see exactly what it takes to pull off an event of this magnitude.

“I want to thank the guys in uniform here, we appreciate what you do every day, but also, the rest of these guys here that have come in on their day off, as well, to share what they do,” said Jay Taggart, the military support team chief at the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Taggart was joined by various members of the rodeo team, including the cowgirl chicks, the rodeo clowns, stock contractors, who provide the animals for the rodeo, and other administrators and sponsors who all come together to make the event a success.

During the day, each member of the team introduced themselves and explained what exactly they did.

Trish Lynn, the team leader for the cowgirl chicks has been part of the rodeo for about 20 years. Lynn is responsible for the safety and training of the girls before, during and after the show and she takes this seriously as two of her daughters, Sadie Lynn, 21, and Hattie Claire, 15 perform in the rodeo.

During the rodeo, the two girls perform a host of various tricks on horses. However, the cowgirl chicks insist that the perfect horse is needed to get the job done safely.

“Money is probably my prize horse. We rescued him, and during the show Hattie will be hanging off the back of him doing various tricks, and she will be depending on the horse to pull her through,” Trish Lynn said. “It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears, working together as a team just like you guys,” she said to the soldiers.

The Wranglers spent four hours with the rodeo staff and left with a better understanding of the hard work, determination, and teamwork it takes to put together a rodeo. They were treated to lunch at the Oxbow Steakhouse in Belton and given complimentary tickets to that evening’s show.

It was military appreciation night and two more Wrangler soldiers took part in the opening ceremony.

Spcs. Denisea Moore and Brian Hutton took to the arena with two members of the Belton Volunteer Fire Department and three local young children.

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