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Amberley Snyder Inspirational Event


Photos by Claire Hill, Tennessee Farmers CoOp

On November 9, 2021, folks got to hear a positive, inspirational speech from famed barrel racer Amberley Snyder at the Williamson County Ag Expo Park in Franklin, Tenn. Speaking from her wheelchair, Amberley told the audience, “You never realized how close you were to success when you gave up.”

Organizer Lauren Wells with Purina wrote: “The event was wonderful. We had over 300 folks attend. Amberley’s talk was inspiring and uplifting. Her key take-home message was ‘there is no future in giving up.’ A meet and greet was provided after the event to take pictures with Amberley and receive her autograph. The line to meet Amberley was a long one!

“I think the audience really enjoyed the Saddle Up demonstration and the kids really loved showing off their riding skills!

“In total, over $9,000 was raised in ticket sales and donations for Saddle Up and Williamson County 4-H. This included a $2,500 donation from First Farmer’s Bank. The event would not have been possible without the support of United Farm and Home Co-Op (title sponsor) and Purina Animal Nutrition.”

The event enabled making donations of $4,307 each to Saddle Up!, accepted by Audrey Kidd Executive Director, and to Williamson County 4-H, accepted by Christie Beattie of the Williamson County UT Extension.

Amberley has been riding horses since she was three years old and competing in rodeos since she was seven. Life was good for Amberley Snyder and she recalled 2009 as the favorite year of her life. That year she was elected Utah state FFA President and got to travel around to a lot of high schools.

Her senior year in high school she made the National High School Rodeo finals and won all-around cowgirl. She graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. At age 18, life just couldn’t get any better than that!

But life changed drastically in 2010. On her way to the Denver Stock Show and Rodeo, Snyder was involved in a truck accident near Sinclair, Wyoming. “Her truck slid off the road and rolled and she was ejected from the vehicle. She was slammed into a fence post that broke her back and immediately she lost feeling in her legs.” Even after five hours of emergency surgery, “the doctor’s prognosis was that she would never regain use or feeling below her waist. He told her if she had worn her seatbelt, she would still have use of her legs.”

But she did usually wear her seatbelt. Only on this morning, having a stomach ache, she took it off for just a little bit. She went on to recall her wreck experience, traveling in the ambulance and the Life Flight helicopter, and the five-hour surgery in Casper, Wyoming. She recalled the long process of rehabilitation and figuring out how to get back on her horse – along with her frustration at not being able to train and ride like she used to. She illustrated her life’s story with photos from each episode.

Summarizing, she said: “I will tell you there will be moments in all of our lives where maybe we don't understand the reason for the challenge that we’re facing, or a loved one is facing. Those are the moments when we have trust that there’s a purpose that needs to be served. Sometimes a challenge isn’t about you at all. But the next time you have that moment of fear or doubt or weakness, ask someone for help. Lean on those people. Always find the light in that darkness because it will be there. And continue to move forward no matter what it is because there is no future in giving up.”

While that day changed her life forever, it did not defeat her spirit or her work ethic. “Amberley is now inspiring thousands across America by telling her inspirational story and competing in rodeos across the western United States. She has let the challenges she faces refine her, not define her.” She has even written a book, Walk. Ride. Rodeo and her story is out in a Netflix film with the same title.

At her last barrel race of the 2021 season, the Wilderness Circuit in early November, she won the 2021 WPRA Divisional Circuit Champion. Amberley is so grateful to her horse Legacy, who truly is her legs, and to her backup horse Princess Penny.

Amberley is at the NFR in Las Vegas December 4-6, 2021 at Stetson Country Christmas and Cowboy Christmas.

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