Miss Rodeo Utah hopefuls broken but not downtrodden

Jul 21 2013 - 7:35am

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Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst (in blue on right), 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2012, Bailey Woolsey, 19, of Morgan, sits in the stands during a Miss Ogden Rodeo event on Friday, july 19, 2013. Her back was broken in a car accident three weeks ago, so Woolsey has put her Miss Rodeo Utah dream on hold — for now. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2012, Bailey Woolsey, 19, of Morgan, sits in the stands during a Miss Ogden Rodeo event on Friday, july 19, 2013. Her back was broken in a car accident three weeks ago, so Woolsey has put her Miss Rodeo Utah dream on hold — for now. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst (in blue on right), 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, 22, of Hoytsville, seen here Friday, July 19, 2013, with a broken jaw, is still riding in this year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2012, Bailey Woolsey, 19, of Morgan, sits in the stands during a Miss Ogden Rodeo event on Friday, july 19, 2013. Her back was broken in a car accident three weeks ago, so Woolsey has put her Miss Rodeo Utah dream on hold — for now. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Miss Rodeo Ogden 2012, Bailey Woolsey, 19, of Morgan, sits in the stands during a Miss Ogden Rodeo event on Friday, july 19, 2013. Her back was broken in a car accident three weeks ago, so Woolsey has put her Miss Rodeo Utah dream on hold — for now. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- Their bones may be breakable, but their dreams aren't. That seems to be the consensus of two Miss Rodeo Ogdens who are Miss Rodeo Utah hopefuls.

One of them is competing this week during the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo for the title of the first lady of Utah rodeo, but the other one has temporarily put her pursuit on hold.

Miss Rodeo Ogden 2013, Morgan Bo Blackhurst, of Hoytsville, has a broken jaw, and Miss Rodeo Ogden 2012, Bailey Woolsey, of Morgan, has a broken back.

"I have always said, 'Live your life now, because you may not get the chance to tomorrow,' and this saying has never meant more to me," said Woolsey, 19, noting the personal growth she has experienced since breaking her back and her goal to use this as a steppingstone to help others.

Woolsey will wait until next year for the Miss Rodeo Utah pageant when she is out of her wheelchair and able to ride a horse.

But Blackhurst, 22, is competing despite the fact that her challenge is obvious to all who see her.

"Both emotionally and physically, I have discovered that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be," she said. "Everything happens for a reason. I can definitely show who I am on the inside as well as on the outside."

The reigning Miss Rodeo Ogden broke her jaw two weeks ago while representing Ogden Pioneer Days at the Oakley PRCA rodeo.

The horse she was riding had just exited the arena when he fell. Blackhurst's left cheekbone was fractured, and the impact drove some teeth through her lip.

Soon after the spill, announcer Wayne Wise paid tribute to a sport that produces queens who are as tough as their cowboy counterparts.

"If any of you think these rodeo queens aren't tough, one just took a bad spill, and she's already up and walking," Blackhurst was told Wise said after her fall.

But the rodeo queen can't remember anything of that night beyond entering the arena for her presentation ride.

Blackhurst believes she was lucky that her accident occurred right in front of the Justin Sports Medicine Team, who jumped immediately to her aid.

She was rushed to a Park City hospital and then on to the University of Utah trauma unit, where she begged doctors to not wire her jaw shut until after this week's Miss Rodeo Utah pageant in Ogden.

Woolsey broke her back three weeks ago in a car crash on her way to watch the Strawberry Days rodeo in Pleasant Grove. She made new friends when strangers pulled her from a burning vehicle.

And she now is happy to be alive and sidelined from horseback riding for only six months.

"At that very moment, lying on the pavement on I-15 with cars zipping past us, I knew that I was very lucky and blessed to be alive and capable of moving all of my limbs," Woolsey said.

"I told the ambulance crew I needed to be on a horse in three weeks. Well, it was only a short time later the neurosurgeon informed me that absolutely wouldn't be happening."

But she said once she realized her dreams of becoming Miss Rodeo Utah were on hold, her life started to gain perspective.

"As I continue to get stronger with each and every day, I think of so many ways that I can use this experience and time on my hands to help others -- give back to everyone that has given to me," Woolsey said.

"Sometimes, it takes a tragedy to put your life on hold and give you the time to understand truly how to prioritize what is important."

Woolsey is not new to physical challenges.

During surgery in January 2012, she received a cadaver elbow joint to replace a joint that died as a result of an earlier cheerleading accident.

Last year, the Miss Rodeo Ogden pageant was pushed back a few weeks from its usual April date, giving her time to heal and helping her achieve her goal of becoming the Ogden rodeo ambassador.

But, Woolsey said, her weak arm resulted in her missing one of her jump mounts in the Miss Rodeo Utah contest last year.

"It seems that obstacle doesn't have as much importance as I had given it during my preparation," she said.

"As I think back, that is true with so many things in life. We focus on the tasks with the least importance until we have lived and learned enough wisdom to prioritize."

Blackhurst also realizes she has changed her priorities.

Before her accident, she said, she was worried about every little detail of her clothing and other preparations for this week's Miss Rodeo Utah pageant. But now, she is feeling totally calm about the contest.

"I feel very, very fortunate to be able to compete no matter what the outcome is at the end of the week. It happened for a reason," Blackhurst said of her accident.

"It will only make me stronger. ... I am so happy and at peace because I am able to be here this weekend."

The new Miss Rodeo Utah will be named midway through the performance at the July 24 Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo at Ogden Pioneer Stadium, 668 17th St.

Public portions of the contest that remain include 9 a.m. Monday speeches at the Summit Hotel, 247 24th St.

The contestants will perform in freestyle horsemanship at 6 p.m. Tuesday during the pre-rodeo performance at the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo.

The contestants also will be featured at the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo beginning about 6 p.m. each night, except Tuesday, as they offer autographs to the public.

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