I’d like to tell you today about a young woman who is one of my heros. Her name is Amberley Snyder, and she’s as tough as they come.
Amberley started riding horses when she was three and has been rodeoing since she was seven. She worked hard and became good at it, really good. She’s qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo as well as the National Little Britches Finals where she won the Finals and World All-Around titles as well as finishing in the top 6 in Pole Bending, Goat Tying and Breakaway Roping.
Becoming the best in your sport, not to mention three sports is something to be proud of, but that wasn't enough for Amberley. She had her sights set on the National Finals Rodeo.
Her dreams changed in an instant. January of 2010, on the way to Denver for the rodeo, she looked down at her map, lost control and was involved in an accident.
She'd unfastened her seatbelt because her stomach was upset. With nothing holding her in, she was thrown out out window and hit a fence post breaking her back and paralyzing her from the waist down.
After a five-hour surgery, the doctors broke the bad news. She’d never walk again, and she’d never rodeo again. Apparently, they didn’t convince her. Using a seat belt, Velcro and other straps, she’s figured out how to ride, rope and barrel race and she’s winning again.
Sharing her positive attitude has become Amberley's new career. When asked how she keeps a positive attitude when things get challenging, she explains, "Even on hard days, look for one thing that is positive. It can be anything-like your favorite song-and if you appreciate that, your mood will change."
Last year came another challenge. Amberley’s horse fell on the second barrel at a Utah rodeo and broke her leg right below the knee. Not just broke it, but shattered it. Not a year later, just a couple of weeks ago, I met Amberley at the Rancho Rio barrel race in Wickenburg, Arizona. When I asked her how she'd done, she smiled. She didn't win, but her time was respectable and it was the first time she'd ever been on the horse.
She hasn't given up on her dream of making it to the National Finals Rodeo and I, for one, am not betting against her.
This young woman epitomizes the words Try, Tenacious, and Tough.
Who’s your tough hero?
Who encourages you to try harder and not give up?