Rodeo people often talk about their "Rodeo Family". I know that people on the outside probably do not really know what that means. What it means for me, is that there are people out there that are not part of my immediate family, but I can count on no matter what. Here is a story that demonstrates exactly what "Rodeo Family" is.
This last week, I took off from Henryetta, OK on a trip to Mineral Wells, TX. I was supposed to go down to help with the pilot program of the Champion In You ranch program, a combined effort of Chris Cox Horsemanship, Western Harvest Ministries, and Western Wishes. This program is being created to armor kids with the knowledge to intelligently face an increasingly anti-Christian, anti-American world. Because I am the Western Wishes Communication Director, I made the trip down; even though I had some doubts about my car.
The trip started much later than I had anticipated. Of course, there are always "extra" things to do. I had Western Wishes computer work and communication to finish up; I had to move our old mares; work out a calvey cow and bring her up to the corrals; pick up grain, mineral, and lick tubs from the feed store; feed and grain everything; and get cleaned up and packed! By the time I was ready to leave Henryetta - it was nearly 5 pm and Rex could not believe that I wasn't on the road yet! But I was thinking - only 4 or 5 hours - and everything was going to be alright.
I pulled into Gainesville, TX, about 100 miles from my destination, around 9:00 pm. I could not stand the smell of sulfurous fumes in the car any longer, and chose the parking lot of my favorite burger place - Whataburger - for some supper.
I opened the hood of the car to see what was going on. The battery was smoking; and battery acid all over the top. I gingerly unhooked the positive cable - and knew that the car wasn't going anywhere. "Oh well! I need to get a burger and think about this a little", I thought to myself. I called the Western Wishes staff to let them know I was going to stay in Gainesville for the night. There was an O'Reilly parts store within two blocks. I walked down and talked with the manager about the car. I learned that I was going to have to find a good shop. He gave me a couple of names and a list of things for them to check. I walked back to the car and called my husband, Rex. My phone was about dead - and without a good battery in the car, I could not charge it! I asked him if Shona and Ed Duffurena were still in Gainesville. He had our son Google them - and sure enough! They had a Gainesville address and phone number.
When we lived in Nevada and Rex was still rodeoing for a living, we saw Ed and Shona all the time - and consider them a part of our "Rodeo Family" but it had been 15 years since I had seen either one of them. I called the number listed on the internet. Shona answered. I told her my predicament. By now, it was nearly 10:30 at night - but Shona never hesitated. "We'll be right there!", she said. And, within 10 minutes, she and Ed pulled in. They took me to their beautiful home, fed me homemade chorizo, and gave me a hot shower and bed for the night. Then, the next morning, they took me to another one of my favorite places - STARBUCKS!!!
They found me a mechanic, and made sure the car would be fixed within the day.
Then, Shona drove me all over town trying to find me a new car charger for my phone - because when the battery went, it took my charger with it! She took me back to their training facility, fed me lunch, and let me hang around with them all day - even though it was a very busy day for them with clients, feed deliveries, etc.
Ed and Shona Duffurena have really made a name for themselves in the elite world of cutting horses and have worked very hard at success. I remember when Ed was thinking of retiring from rodeo - and started training horses. Ed was a talented saddle bronc rider - and even more talented trainer - and that's where our trails branched out in different directions.
Left: Ed at the 1998 Dodge National Circuit Finals. Right: Ed won 3rd on "Auspicious Cat" at the AQHA World Show.
They have built a state-of-the-art training facility, have a barn full of well-bred horses, and a long list of happy clients.
I left Gainesville too late to participate in many of the Champion In You ranch program activities, but I did get to reconnect with some dear friends and "Rodeo Family" Ed and Shona Duffurena. I got to see first-hand what they have built from the ground up since I last saw them. I got to see their two fine children, Brandon and Rieta, who have grown into even finer adults. My car is fixed, my soul uplifted. Thank you "Rodeo Family"!!!
Duffurena Cutting Horses: http://dufurrenacuttinghorses.com/index.htm
Western Wishes Champion In You ranch program: http://www.westernwishes.org/ranchprogram.htm