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Logan woman paralyzed from the waist down to compete in national rodeo event

LOGAN — When Amberley Snyder is riding, it's as if everything else in the world fades away.

"Rodeo is just, it's my passion. I tell people it's not what I do, it's a part of who I am,” Snyder said.

So, when Snyder recently learned that fans voted her as the "Fan Exemption" to compete in a big rodeo called The American on March 1, she couldn’t believe it.

Snyder, who lives in Logan and is a student at Utah State University, appeared on RFD-TV, a national television show to talk about how shocked she was.

"That was something that isn't really within my reach,” said Snyder. “I don't have my pro card and I'm not pro-rodeoing yet, so that was a goal I had, but I didn't know when I was going to be able to accomplish that."

Snyder, 24, is paralyzed from the waist down after a truck accident in 2010. She wasn’t wearing her seat belt when she over-corrected her truck.

"I left my truck and hit a fencepost on the side of the road, which is what broke my back. I wear my seat belt all the time, and my one mistake has now cost me my life. I mean, it cost me everything,” she said.

However, it hasn't cost her a rodeo career.

After plenty of rehabilitation, Snyder got back on her horse and, using a modified seat belt to keep her on her saddle, is able to compete in barrel racing.

That's the event she'll be doing in The American at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where even professional rodeo riders are amazed at her courage.

"She’s my hero. I've seen all of her YouTube videos,” said Fallon Taylor, the world champion barrel racer. “She’s the real deal.”

For Snyder, riding in such a big event is a dream come true.

However, riding her horse is what really keeps her going — no matter where that is.

"It's the place where I get to be like everyone else,” said Snyder. “I get to leave my wheelchair at the trailer and my horse becomes my legs."

Email: acabrero@deseretnews.com