The Oelwein School District begins its fall season with Meet The Huskies Night on Friday, Aug. 16. It begins at 5 p.m. with a free spaghetti meal at the high school, which will be followed by a guest speaker at the Williams Center from 6-7 p.m. At 7 p.m. the night wraps up at the high school gym and football field.
All the events are free and open to the public.
Organizers invited champion rodeo rider Amberly Synder to be the speaker because of her story of faith and determination.
“We all agreed it needed to be someone with a great story,” said Oelwein Activities Director Steven Lueck, “and even a better message for our students. We ran across Amberley Snyder’s story though her Netflix movie and word of mouth.”
Snyder had found her passion for riding horses early, taking lessons at the age of 3. As a high schooler in Utah in 2009, she qualified for the National High School Finals in pole bending and won the National Little Britches Rodeo Association All-Around Cowgirl World Championship, according to her website. Then in January 2010, she was driving to a rodeo in Wyoming when she was ejected from her truck as it slid and rolled off the road. She hit a post, breaking her back.
Despite emergency surgery, she would never regain the use of her legs. Walking, however, was not as much a priority to her as riding again. which she was doing again four months later. Since then she has graduated college in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education and then earned her master’s degree in 2018 in school counseling.
These days she is an inspirational speaker and again competes in rodeos. She authored a book, “Walk. Ride. Rodeo,” which has been made into a Netflix movie. She is portrayed by Spencer Locke in the movie.
Snyder has also posted videos on her website doing tasks that have become more challenging, but not impossible because of her paralysis, such as getting onto her horse.
Synder will speak about how her future hopes seemed to be dimmed after the crash and how she overcame those obstacles.