Lakeland alum donates $2,000 for rodeo team awards
“When you’re in three or more events, it takes a lot of effort to prepare and a lot of determination to do well throughout the year,” says Brittany. The 23-year-old knowswhat it’s like to compete in numerous events. For years she competed in pole bending, breakaway roping and team roping as a member of the college’s rodeo team.
She also knows a lot about determination.
In the fall of 2005, Brittany enrolled in the Animal Science Technology program at Lakeland and joined the rodeo team. That December she and her sister Patricia, a student and rodeo competitor at NAIT, were traveling back to their home in British Columbia when they were involved in a motor vehicle collision that severely injured both of them. Patricia lost a leg and Brittany’s body was crushed, leaving her with 16 broken bones. After 91 days in hospital, Brittany was released. Her sister left the hospital two weeks later and shortly afterwards the duo attended the Canadian National College Finals Rodeo in Wainwright.
“We both watched the finals in 2006 from our wheelchairs and we set a goal to get to the nationals the next year,” recalls Brittany.
Seven months later the sisters competed in the team roping event at Lakeland’s Fall Classic Rodeo. “We took Patricia’s prosthetic leg and I added a piece of pipe so she could ride. We won a team roping go-around with a time of 7.5 seconds,” says Brittany, who returned to Lakeland to take the Pre-employment Welding program in 2007 and apprenticeship technical training in 2008 and 2009.
The sisters achieved their goal of making it to the national finals in 2007, both competing in breakaway roping. That wasn’t the last appearance they’d make in the finals. Patricia competed in breakaway roping in 2008 and breakaway roping and team roping in 2009. Brittany qualified for nationals in pole bending and breakaway roping in 2008, pole bending, breakaway roping and team roping in 2009, and breakaway roping in 2010.
Now employed as a welder at Leading Manufacturing Group in Vermilion, Brittany continues to spend a lot of time at Lakeland watching her younger sister Holly rodeo. Holly, an Environmental Conservation and Reclamation student, competed in four events and for the second year in a row, advanced to the national college finals. She was also the recipient of one of the awards Brittany donated. The other award was won by Scott Guenthner.
“Another reason why I decided to give out these awards was that during the years after the accident, I received a lot of help and encouragement from the staff of Lakeland College and the community of Vermilion. I wanted to do the same for the current students so that they can follow their educational and rodeo dreams. Hopefully these awards will help them along the way,” says Brittany.
Holly was surprised but thrilled to win the award. “It’s very special to me to win Brittany’s award,” says Holly. “My sisters were both very good at rodeo and I want to be as good as them. They’re amazing people.”