Cowgirl Up!

  Amberley Snyder ran her last college rodeo this past week.  Seven years ago, she was a national rodeo champion.  Six years ago, she was in an accident that has left her legs paralyzed. The doctors said she'd never walk again, certainly never ride. 
  But this is the daughter of Cory Snyder, Olympic medalist, former pro baseball player and current hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners franchise. His work ethic is simple: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." Amberley certainly inherited that drive. 
  Although it's easy to see that Amberley got her mother's beauty, what you don't see is that Tina is another source of Amberley's inner strength. She's tough - whether tossing hay bales into a loft or facing down doctors who think they can tell her what her daughter can't do, she is a force to be reckoned with. 
  But the ultimate source of strength for Amberley has been her faith. Her favorite verse is Phillipians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". And she puts that into practice every day. I am reminded of another verse, Matthew 5:14: "You are the light of the world", for Amberley's bright smile is reflected even more by those she comes in contact with - from the little girl battling cancer to the adult confined to a wheelchair. Amberley shines a light on everyone she meets, and that light gets reflected and carried on by others.
  I got to know the Snyder family through an assignment to write the screenplay for Amberley's story. For the first month, I watched hours of videotape taken at the Snyder home. Then I went to work writing the screenplay. One thing I learned, Amberley is never still. At that time, she was finishing out her degree in college, giving motivational speeches, and riding the rodeo circuit (after finding a way to conquer her disability). We had to go over the script in scattered moments, utilizing phone calls and emails to fit into Amberley's busy schedule. The script was finished before we all would finally meet - when she ran at The American rodeo and proved she could compete with the best. Like I said, I knew the whole family by name at this point, and I'm sure they were a little taken aback by this large, loud stranger who seemed to know them all as we sat down to dinner the night before the event. But the next day, Cory was watching out for us (I had brought several of my kids along), calling to make sure we were settled into our seats and that we knew where to find them.
  As I said at the start, Amberley finished fifth for her entire region. Which is impressive. But it wan't enough to get her into the College National Finals Rodeo. Some people would have let this get them down. Amberley is not one of them: "I'll admit this is a goal I've wanted probably above all others in the rodeo world since my wreck. It definitely breaks my heart to know I won't make the CNFR, but as one door closes, another one opens. I am not sure what that next door is, but I'll be ready for it! Thanks for all the support I have received during this season and hope to have made you all proud!"
  I think I can safely say that anyone who has met this amazing young lady is proud not just of what she's accomplished, but of who she is. 


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