New, 'inspiring' rodeo attraction showcases hats created by children

HOUSTON – “Hats off to Houston” is a colorful, new attraction at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, displaying ten cowboy hats created by children from nonprofit organizations.

“They’re so inspiring when they get so excited. They’re hooked up to an IV pole and they’re coloring,” said Trish Kline, executive director of the Snowdrop Foundation - one of the participating organizations. 

Founded by Kevin and Trish Kline, the Snowdrop Foundation was inspired by a special teenage girl named Chelsey and supports patients and survivors of childhood cancer.

“They gave (Chelsey) a 10 percent chance to see the age of 16,” Trish Kline said. “Here’s this beautiful, young girl, and (Kevin) and her just clicked. We’ve donated - between scholarships and research money at Texas Children’s - over $3 million."

Chelsey’s mission lives on, and this year, there was a new opportunity.

“(We) threw our name in there, put our application in (to design a hat) and we get the email, ‘Your hat will be delivered on Monday,’” Kline said. “We’re like, ‘OK, now we have to figure out what we’re gonna do.’”

Kline went straight to Texas Children’s Hospital, where the children were in the cowboy spirit.

“(We) went there a couple of days for craft day, covered artwork. Oh, they loved it,” said Kline. “I think every Texas flag we had on the table, everybody colored. They had a great time.”

They spent nearly 50 hours designing, planning and creating the hat.

“Our hat is divided into two hats, the Texas flag, the American flag and on the bottom is all the children’s artwork,” Kline said.

Their red, white and blue masterpiece is displayed in NRG Center. Rodeo-goers even voted it the favorite, and the organization will be awarded a $10,000 prize.

“We’re still on cloud nine,” Kline said. “It’s gonna be a good year for our scholarship, kids and research.”

Reliant Energy will present the Snowdrop Foundation with the check Saturday.

About the Author:

Reporter, family-oriented, sports fanatic, proud Houstonian.