I was first out in the barrel racing at Loveland, Colorado, in the Monday night perf. That’s about as close as my husband, Tory, and I get to a hometown ProRodeo, and he was the next-to-last team out in the team roping, which ran immediately before the barrel race there.
That’s a building rodeo, so I couldn’t really get close enough to watch. I was afoot, walking my horse in a few circles before I pulled his cinch and swung back on. I’d already heard Tanner Baldwin and Nano Garza go 4.0 and Tate Kirchenschlager and Buddy Hawkins be 4.5, so I figured Tory would be bringing it, and it would either be fast or no good. Then I heard the announcer, a friend of ours named Bob Edmonds, say no time.
“This team couldn’t get their horses facing each other to get their ropes tight, so the flagger couldn’t drop the flag,” Bob explained to the crowd.
I shrugged my shoulders, bummed that Tory and his partner weren’t going to place at a rodeo that paid them so well last year, and I went back to staring at the ground as I walked.
It was almost totally dark by that time, as Tory’s roan horse bounced toward me across the pavement.
“I cut my fingers off,” he said, holding his bloody hand up just for me to catch a glimpse. And in an instant, the world started spinning.
You’d think, working in this industry, I’d know how to handle this. Wrong. I threw my reins to someone as I fought with my husband to get to the ambulance. (He wanted to just go back to the trailer.) The guys had realized what happened and split themselves between taking care of Tory and me.
Tanner insisted I run, and Buddy stuck around to make sure I got down the alley, then unsaddled my horse after. Trey Yates took my little girl on his NFR-average-winning horse and said a prayer for her daddy with her. Wade Kreutzer took Tory’s and his partner’s horses back to the trailer. Tory’s partner, Jason DeVore, drove me to the hospital, and Kaitlin Gustave (our assistant editor) took my daughter and our horses home. Everyone called throughout the night and over the next few days to check on us.
Ultimately, Tory’s hand will be fine (minus the tip of his ring finger), and the roping community is rock solid. I’ve always been pretty grateful for what I get to do for a living, but I’m even more so now, thanks to the people I’m surrounded by.