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10 Things to Know About Amberley Snyder

This inspiring barrel racer is the keynote speaker at the 2020 Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar. Here’s how she inspires us all.

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“Cowgirl Up” is a phrase often used for stern encouragement. It has helped many women in the equine world dust off and get back on the horse that made them hit the dirt. But Amberley Snyder’s will to cowgirl up is stronger than most.

That can-do spirit is why Amberley has been invited to AQHYA’s 2020 Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar June 30 in Amarillo, Texas. The seminar welcomes AQHYA members and nonmembers, ages 10 to 18, to three days of fun, valuable leadership sessions and inspiring speakers, including Amberley.

Amberley’s Story

It had just been a few days into 2010 when Amberley Snyder’s life changed forever. While driving to the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Amberley looked down to check her map, and in the few seconds her eyes were off the road, she drifted into the other lane. She tried to correct her truck but slid from the road, causing her vehicle to roll and her to be ejected from the driver’s seat. She was paralyzed from the waist down but emerged from the experience with a fighting spirit and a desire to help inspire others.  

Want to learn more about this courageous cowgirl? Here are 10 things to know about Amberley Snyder.

  1. Before Amberley’s accident, she won the all-around cowgirl title for the National Little Britches Rodeo Association, qualified for the National High School Rodeo Association Finals and was elected FFA president for the state of Utah.
  2. After hours on the operating table and extensive reconstructive surgery, Amberley was fortunate to be alive but was paralyzed from the waist down. While in the hospital, Amberley said, “Mom, promise me we will figure out a way for me to ride again.”
  3. Just four months after the wreck and even before she was released from her back brace, Amberley was back on a horse.
  4. A seat belt and Velcro are the secrets to keeping her secure in the saddle. After some trial and error, Amberley and her family figured out they could use a seat belt around her lap and Velcro with an additional leg strap to keep her legs still to avoid miscuing her horses and keep her secure in the saddle.
  5. Only a year and a half after her accident, Amberley competed in her first barrel race since her surgery.
  6. Not only did Amberley jump back into competition, but she did it aboard her 17-hand black American Quarter Horse gelding, ATP Power aka “Power,” who gets his name from his speed and strength.
  7. At age 23, she was a member of the Utah State University rodeo team and represented her school in barrel racing and breakaway roping. After her first college rodeo season, she finished in the top 10 for her region in barrel racing.
  8. In May of 2015, Amberley graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education. In 2018, she earned her master’s degree in school counseling from Utah State University.
  9. Her first step to inspiring others was starting a Wheelchair Wednesday video segment on social media. She performs everyday tasks that have now become more challenging, but not impossible, after her accident. These range from how she gets on her horse to how she fills her truck up with fuel, and her short videos have become a fan favorite on social media, resulting in nearly 200,000 followers on Facebook.
  10. She was voted the fan exemption contestant at the world’s richest one-day rodeo, comparable to the Super Bowl: RFD-TV’s The American. She competed with the best in the industry and received a standing ovation from more than 40,000 fans in AT&T Stadium and won over the hearts of America.
  11. Amberley’s story is chronicled in the Netflix movie “Walk. Ride. Rodeo.” You’ll be impressed by the authenticity of the barrel-racing scenes. That’s because in the scenes depicting Amberley riding after her car wreck, it’s Amberley herself in the arena, aboard her own superstar Quarter Horse, “Power.”
  12. She’s giving an inspirational speech in June at AQHYA’s 2020 Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar! Learn more at www.aqha.com/yes. 

Amberley says, “The feeling I get when I am horseback is what motivates me to keep chasing my dreams. When times are discouraging, my horses and rodeo lift me back up.” Amberley has turned her tragedy into triumph and is inspiring all of America to “get back on the horse.”

This is just a glimpse of this inspiring cowgirl’s story. If you or someone you know is age 10 to 18, register for the 2020 Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar, June 29-July 1 in Amarillo to listen to this inspiring keynote speech. YES is a three-day leadership conference for horse-loving youth from across the world. We hope to see you in Amarillo.