When the 2013 Missouri State Fair Queen was announced in August, I screamed. For once, I personally knew the young lady that was about to represent our fair and agriculture across the state.
As I traversed the livestock barns on the Missouri State Fairgrounds, people would ask me where she was from. I replied with a little hometown pride “Warren County.” That question was always followed by, “What is her ag background?” My simple answer, “Horses.” Then I would proceed to get the rolling of the eyes that often comes from the more traditional agriculture community.
But it was with verve that I exclaimed, “Wait! You have to hear her story.”
I have had the pleasure of knowing Ashley Bauer ever since she was a young girl in 4-H. She is well versed at sexing rabbits, training dogs and exhibiting the occasional chicken. But her passion is horses. And it was this passion that scarred her for life.
Ashely grew up as a member of the Country Crossroads 4-H Club. She took on a horse project, which held practices at the local fairground’s arena. There she honed her skills in barrel racing. Like many other young cowgirls, Ashley came to the arena with just her horse and cowboy hat.
In May 2003, the day before Mother’s Day, she was breaking in a new horse named Barney. Ashley, then 10-years-old, recalls the horse doing well during the first couple of barrel runs.
But it took just one turn around a barrel and Ashley began to feel the saddle start to slide. She lost a stirrup and her little body quickly slid underneath the horse’s belly. The movement excited the young horse and he bolted out the end of the arena gate.