Kids! of the Month
Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!
month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things.
We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids
to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
Amazing Kids! of the Month for October, 2002: Amazing Young Rodeo Champs, U.S.A.!
Quotes of the Month:
"My diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing the sport that I love.”
“I hope that others learn they can take on such responsibilities and challenges like becoming a youth director.”
Courage. Determination. These are two words that help describe this month's Amazing Kids! of the Month winners. Cashe Mesmith and Kristal Brown are both teenage girls who have some health challenges that might have gotten in their way from participating in a sport that they love, if they weren't so courageous and determined.
Do you know what it's like to try and be your best at something, even though you might have some challenges to overcome? Read about these amazing young rodeo riders below to see two great examples of courage and determination. Who knows? You just might be inspired to take on a new challenge yourself!
And if you do, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it too, by nominating yourself for an Amazing Kid! of the Month award!
Rodeo cowboys and
cowgirls have to face challenges like most athletes. They have to spend
a lot of time traveling, and have long days full of practices, sometimes
in bad weather. Cashe Nesmith, a teenager from Dodge City, Kansas
and Kristal Brown, a seventh grader from Carbon, Texas, know a lot
about tackling tough challenges. Cashe and Kristal are both amazing
young rodeo competitors and International Finals Youth Rodeo youth directors.
They not only face these typical obstacles of rodeo athletes; they have
extra challenges to take on. Both girls also battle physical challenges.
Cashe was diagnosed
with type II diabetes five days before her 13th birthday. “I was hungry
all the time and really thirsty,” she says of her first clue of the disease.
After losing weight and a visit to the ICU her mom says, “the nurse told
us life would never be the same again. We just cried.”
Cashe explains diabetes has had to work around her schedule – but to do that she follows the rules of a type II diabetic. Cashe checks her blood sugar four times a day and takes insulin shots anytime during the day, and again at bedtime.
Cashe says: “I make my diabetes work around my schedule. My diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing the sport that I love.”
In between riding horses, homework, and school clubs, Cashe has a full load and sometimes reaches a point of overload. “I get shaky if my blood sugar gets too low. Then I have to drink a grape juice or eat something with a high sugar content to bring my blood sugar back up to where it needs to be.” She adds quickly, “But diabetes still doesn’t stop me from doing the thing I love best – rodeo.”
As long as Cashe takes care of herself and follows some basic rules, she lives a pretty normal life like any other teenager. Amazing Cashe has even adjusted well to knowing that she must take her shots several times a day everyday for the rest of her life. She says, “It doesn’t affect my life – the diabetes or the shots.”
As an IFYR youth directors, Cashe gets to demonstrate her special qualities that all good leaders have, such as concentration and focus. The Dodge City High School Junior applied for the youth director position because she wanted to show other high school rodeo athletes what the IFYR was all about. “The IFYR is a great place to meet new friends and compete in some tough competition. Everyone needs an outlet for their ideas or concerns and they can come to me or any other youth director and voice their opinions.”
With her parents’ encouragement and support Cashe also has the occasion to let others in her sport know about women athletes with diabetes. “My parents stand behind me with a lot of encouragement.” She uses the IFYR and the sport of rodeo to let others know that just because she has this disease it doesn’t have to stop her.
People who see Cashe perform in and out of the rodeo arena will recognize what it is that keeps her going. She explains, “[It's] the rush as you go in the arena, knowing that it all depends on you, whether you will change the standings.” With such focus and determination, Cashe is sure to go far. Way to go, Cashe!
Kristal Brown, IFYR youth director from Carbon, Texas like a lot of seventh graders was at home on the basketball court. She had one disadvantage – what started out as a rapid heart rate and ended up as fainting episodes on the gymnasium floor.
Kristal has a rare heart disease in which too many cells formed on both sides of her heart. The disease causes Kristal to experience tachycardia from time to time. Tachycardia is an abnormally rapid heartbeat. After numerous tests and unsuccessful treatments the Brown family went to Cook’s Children’s Hospital in Texas. Kristal underwent heart surgery to remove the bad cells. “They got a lot of the cells but nothing significant changed. I had to find another sport.” Which was a good thing for the world of rodeo.
The Living Heritage Academy Senior is home schooled and the only high school student in the entire Eastland County, Texas that rodeos. “I came from a roping and rodeo family but all I ever wanted to do was play basketball.” Basketball didn’t happen but it was for the best.
Kristal’s freshman year she took up her family’s favorite pastime – rodeo. “Believe it or not I think the Lord had a plan for me, because I love rodeo!”
Rodeo is not an easy sport – it is hard on the body with long hours and hot afternoons on horseback. It also requires a lot of strength and stamina. But rodeo is different from basketball because it’s a sport the athlete can control. When Kristal feels herself getting weak she doesn’t have to call time-out. “I’m aware of an oncoming attack. Now that I expect it I can control it by relaxing myself.”
The attacks come on like an asthma attack. Her mom helps her breathing to calm her and her heart. Sounds nerve-wracking but this teenager gets more nervous about talking in front of a crowd. “I used to be pretty shy about talking in front of people I didn’t know. But being an IFYR youth director has given me a lot of courage.”
Kristal gets support not only from her family but also from the extended family that evolves from rodeo. “I hope that others learn they can take on such responsibilities and challenges like becoming a youth director.”
Kristal's positive spirit and "go for it" attitude make her an ideal example of what you can do if you put your mind to it. Way to go, Kristal!
Youth rodeo is increasing in popularity through high school rodeo associations across the country as well as the International Finals Youth Rodeo. Each year, the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Oklahoma calls on high schools across the U.S. to enter their best rodeo cowboys and cowgirls in the competition. High school students from 15 to 19 years old enter the youth finals for a chance to win money and to help them prepare to enter the International Professional Rodeo Association circuit.
The International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) website:www.iprarodeo.com/champions/Default.htm
Article by Kim Watkins about the 2002 IFYR finals: www.iprarodeo.com/news/arch2002/IFYR2002Finals.htm
Article by Kim Watkins: "A Decade of Youth Rodeo in Shawnee - The IFYR is Something to Celebrate": www.iprarodeo.com/news/arch2002/ifyr.htm
Article by Todd Newville: "10th Annual International Finals Youth
Rodeo Completes Another Stellar Run in Shawnee": www.iprarodeo.com/news/arch2002/ifyr10results.htm
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