By JimiBeth Myers
Behind the Scenes
Barrel Racers Honor Fallen Soldiers on Military Night at the WNFR
For the second year, individual women who gave their lives for the service of their country will be honored at the WNFR by the professional barrel racers who plan to wear specially made dog tags with the name of a female soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country through the Honor Tags for Heroes program.
To these rodeo athletes, sacrifice is personal, and the ultimate sacrifice is sacred. Barrel Racer Stevie Hillman, Weatherford, Texas strongly supports Honor Tags for Heroes saying, “My freedom wasn’t free and I will honor those who paid the way for me to enjoy my sport. Wearing the tags of a Fallen Hero is the smallest act I can perform to honor them." Barrel Racing Finalist, Dr. Kathy Grimes, DVM plans on sending a shoe from her horse back to the family as a memento from the world finals.
Each barrel racer will wear a specially made dog tag with the name of a female soldier who gave her life for the service of our country. The dog tags are a way to honor The Fallen, keep the memory of the soldier alive and serve as a reminder of the high cost of freedom.
Honor Tags for Heroes proudly worn by Stevie Hillman and KellieCollier
Rodeo is America's true patriot event and the women wearing Honor Tags will be standing tall and running hard to honor those who keep us free and have given the ultimate sacrifice.
TACI BETTIS IS RUNNING FOR ARMY LT. COL. JAIMIE E. LEONARD
Jaimie E. Leonard, 39, of Warrick, New York, died in Sharana, Afghanistan, of injuries she suffered from small arms fire received at Zarghun Shahr, Afghanistan.
SYDNI BLANCHARD IS RUNNING FOR AIR FORCE CAPT. VICTORIA A. PINCKNEY
Air Force Captain Victoria "Tory" Pinckney died May 3, near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, in the crash of a KC-135 aircraft. She was assigned to the 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.
KELLIE COLLIER IS RUNNING FOR ARMY CAPT. SARA M. KNUTSON
Capt. Sara Marie Knutson Cullen, 27, of Savannah, Ga., formerly of Eldersburg, died Monday, March 11, 2013, while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan in a Black Hawk helicopter crash.
IVY CONRADO IS RUNNING FOR ARMY SPC. MIKAYLA A. BRAGG
Mikayla, 21, of Longview, Washington, was killed Dec, 21, 2011, by a self-inflicted gunshot wound while on duty alone in a guard tower in Khowst province, Afghanistan.
KATHY GRIMES IS RUNNING FOR AIR FORCE MAJ. PHYLLIS J. PELKY
Phyllis Pelky, 45, was killed in the line of duty in Kabul, Afghanistan in support of NATO-led Operation Freedom's Sentinel.
STEVI HILLMAN IS RUNNING FOR NAVY LT. FLORENCE B. CHOE
Florence Choe, 35, died March 27, 2009 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. She was killed when an Afghan Army soldier fatally shot her and another officer, and wounded a third.
HAILEY KINSEL IS RUNNING FOR AIR FORCE STAFF SGT. ALEXANDRIA M. MORROW
At 25, Staff Sgt. Alexandria Morrow, a weapons loader from Dansville, New York, was killed during non-combat operations while performing maintenance duties in Jordan.
LISA LOCKHART IS RUNNING FOR ARMY STAFF SGT. ARACELY GONZALEZ O'MALLEY
Aracely was a 31-year-old mother from Brawley, Calif, who died Oct. 21 in Homburg, Germany. She suffered a brain aneurysm while serving in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan.
NELLIE MILLER IS RUNNING FOR AIR FORCE 1ST LT.TAMARA ARCHULETA
Tamara "Tammy" Long-Archuleta, 23, Captain Select USAF, was killed in a helicopter crash on March 23, 2003, in Afghanistan, while evacuating wounded Afghan children.
AMBERLEIGH MOORE IS RUNNING FOR ARMY PFC. PATRICIA L. HORNE
Army Pfc. Patricia Horne, 20, died Aug. 24 in Bagram, Afghanistan, of unspecified causes. Patricia had been in Bagram for about a month when she was killed.
KASSIE MOWRY IS RUNNING FOR ARMY SGT. ZAINAH C. CREAMER
Zainah, 28, of Texarkana, Ark. died Jan. 12 in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan when her unit was attacked with homemade bombs.
TILLAR MURRY IS RUNNING FOR ARMY SPC. KRYSTAL M. FITTS
Krystal Fitts, age 26, of Houston, Texas, died on July 17, 2012, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered from indirect fire.
BRITTANY POZZI IS RUNNING FOR ARMY SGT. SIMONE A. ROBINSON
21-year-old Spc. Simone Robinson died March 1, 2009 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, of wounds sustained when an IED detonated near her security post
TIANY SCHUSTER IS RUNNING FOR AIR FORCE SENIOR AIRMAN ALECIA S. GOOD
Alecia Sabrina Good, 23, of Broadview Heights, OH was killed Feb. 17 when two helicopters crashed into the Gulf of Aden while flying a training mission.
KIMMIE WALL IS RUNNING FOR ARMY SGT. DONNA R. JOHNSON
Donna Johnson, 29, of Raeford, NC. died Oct.1, when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in Khost, Afghanistan.