Note from Chelsea Shaffer
Some days, there’s so much hate, sadness, and division on the news— and it makes me feel just a little hopeless.
And then some days, I find a reason to smile–a reason to keep believing, to keep loving, and to keep pushing for more for this world we all live in.
That special day, for me, was September 29. I’d been home to Pittsburgh for a funeral. When I landed in Denver and turned my phone back on, I had a text from my friend Deborah Burt that said, “It was EPIC!! So many ropers showed up to support us.”
She was talking about her Sam’s Posse Exceptional Rodeo at the Poway (California) Rodeo, which she and her husband Buck organized in memory of their dear son Sam, who they lost in 2013 after a battle with dilated cardiomyopathy. The ropers who showed up? Derrick Begay, Ryan Motes, Coleman Proctor, Lane Santos-Karney, and Cody Mora.
In planning the event, my friend Deb sent me the trade list and asked if I knew how to reach any of the ropers. Immediately, I text Derrick, Ryan, and Coleman, because I’d seen they were on the list for the 1 p.m. performance. They all said, without hesitation, that they’d be there.
If you’d been following the bubble coverage, you might remember that Coleman and Ryan were trying like heck to have a good couple of days to crack the top 15. They were at Omaha Friday morning, drove to Kansas City Friday night, and didn’t have any luck at either place. With hope dwindling for a trip to Vegas, they hopped an early-morning flight to San Diego, jumped in a car at the airport, and headed straight to the Sam’s Posse Exceptional Rodeo at 10:30 that morning.
“Chelsea sent us, how can we help?” they told volunteers when they walked into the arena just in time.
And with that, I have never been more proud of anything I’ve done in my career—proud not that I had anything to do with them walking into that arena, but proud I had built a career in which I’ve come to know such great guys. They helped 28 participants with intellectual or physical disabilities enjoy a morning with stick horses, roping dummies, bucking machines, and even a real-life unicorn. JJ Harrison emceed the event, Smokey the Bear entertained and informed, the Poway and Valley Center Rodeo Royalty volunteered, and Miss Rodeo California greeted guests, too.
In the middle of a fight-to-the-finish, with their seasons on the line, these guys, who surely could have used a few more hours of sleep as they crisscrossed the country, showed up. They showed up for people who could do nothing for them; for those who had nothing to offer but a smile. They showed up to make someone else’s day, week, year, life.
This is a very public thank you to everyone involved in the Sam’s Posse Exceptional Rodeo, for doing what’s right and what’s good and what makes us all better as human beings.
NFR or not, Coleman, Ryan, and the rest of the crew won big for taking some time out of their day to do something they sure didn’t have to do.