10/3 Drew Horner: Uncoiled. Best Week, part 10
The Wounded Warrior Project got together with National Ropers Supply and did a clinic for a 12 wounded warriors. I was given the chance to come hang out with them and teach them how to rope, along with Krece Harris and the NRS staff at the arena. It was so much fun! I really had a great time with these guys, getting to rope and ride with them and just hang out at the NRS arena. These guys are one of a kind! We had a few ups and downs of roping throughout the three days, but the wounded warriors never quit. A few fell off, but got right back on. Some had trouble holding reins with their prosthetics and roping with the other, but they still figured out how to catch the dummy. It was pretty incredible seeing these guys’ attitudes. I’ve never seen anything like it! They had so much heart. I have been with first-time ropers who had fallen off their horse and would not get back on and try again. The few that fell off would laugh, hop right back on, back in the box and try it again. One guy, who has a prosthetic leg, fell off his horse and said that he “broke his leg, but it’s ok. I’ll just put it back on right quick.”
Nothing holds these guys back. They move through any obstacle life puts in front of them. One of them, Bobby, is a stand up comedian now building his career (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o15xI2ldOXk). He travels all over the country doing stand up shows! Another, Mike, does mud runs and Tough Mudders. These races are anywhere from 3 to 13 miles long with crazy obstacles like crawling through mud and hopping over tall walls! I have done a short one before and had fun doing it, but I can’t imagine doing it without an arm! This guy is tough… Some of their stories get me a little emotional. Their ages ranged from around 23 up to about mid 30s. These guys are MY AGE!!! They have FAMILIES!!! Hearing their stories, what they go through and talking to them about their families was difficult for me. These are their lives. They offered their lives for my freedom. They put their families behind my freedom. They are the reason I get to rodeo professionally. They are the reason I get to go to church and worship in freedom. I get to live my life the way I choose to live it because these guys were willing to die for it. No greater love is there than someone to lay their own life down for another. That is the ultimate sacrifice. These guys may not have died for me, but they dang sure changed their lives for me. Freedom is NOT free. I have always heard that, but I saw it these past few days.
I had an amazing opportunity to hang out with these guys. I loved getting to know them. I made relationships that I hope I get to keep for a long time. These guys changed my life and I don’t know how to thank them enough. We are blessed to have men and women, and their families, who are willing to sacrifice what they do for our lives to be as “simple” as they are.