Unleashing My Inner Rodeo Queen: Tribute to My Nana

Top photo: My beautiful Nana, Alice O’Connor as Queen of the Rodeo in 1945 (Colorado)
My new real riding boots! I got them on ebay from a seller who wore them on a ranch in Colorado!

This past Friday, following Thanksgiving Day we celebrated my Nana’s life. “‘Grandma” made her feel too old, she said. It was a beautiful celebration of her life complete with an ocean view room, scripture reading, story sharing, singing and a moving a photo slideshow of her life. Over the past eight years as she suffered from Alzeihmers we watched our fashionable, spunky and beautiful Nana deteriorate, but she did so with kindess, beauty and grace.

Though during some of the middle and later years of her disease Nana would struggle to know who each of us were, when I asked her about her horse “Fleetfoot,” her eyes would sparkle and she would perk. For a few slight moments she would up reminisce about her younger days in the mountains of Salida, Colorado. “Oh, yes, I loved my horse Fleetfoot,” she would say. “He was such a good horse….he was a sweetheart. I just loved him.” My Nana Alice would ride Fleetfoot bareback through the canyons and mountains and in 1945 she was named Queen of the Rodeo in her home town. Her brother Jack boasted that she was the best sheep-herder in the family.

I have always loved horses and been enamored by the cowgirl lifestyle and while I’ve riden dozens and dozens of times, I have a rekindled desire to bond with and study these beautiful creatures. So I got myself some new boots (they are real boots for real riding, not fashion!) and I’ve asked the help of my friend Holly who has already been giving me lessons on the “ground” work such as brushing, feeeding, etc. I’ve also called our local Equestrian Center to see if I can become a volunteer.

So, I’m unleashing my inner rodeo queen in honor of my sweet and beautiful Nana! Wish me luck!

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