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Happy Trails with Dawni O’Bryan: Goodbye, My Faithful Friend


By Dawni O'Bryan

April 12, 2024

I have recently experienced one of life’s difficult inevitables. Animal lovers, of any kind, can relate to my story of heart hurt. If you have ever lost a close family pet, there is a pain that is hard to describe. I had raised him from a puppy but on Tuesday night I found my 14-year-old dog dead next to the railroad tracks by my house. “Rascal” had been missing for three days and I just never had the feeling that he was going off to die. He had gotten hard of hearing and would wander over the tracks with our younger dog. I found him and called my husband. He and our hired man were kind enough to take him to the ranch and give him a proper burial that evening in the dark.

Sparky and Rascal

He was a beautiful blue merle purebred Australian Shepherd out of “Sparky” and “Moony” (Richard and Rhonda Wollert’s tri-color Aussie). Rascal traveled to many barrel races with me and loved being around people, especially kids. Harper and Stealy would often be my dog sitters. What he truly loved was going to school with me and hanging out on the playground with all 133 students. They would pet on him, love on him, sit on his paw, and ruffle his ears with never even a snip at them in return. Upon his passing, my students wrote me the nicest notes and drew me pictures of Rascal. Some kids even brought me dark chocolate to comfort me. I know he was a dog, but it is different when it is “your” dog. My other dog, “Nala” is very lonely, and I look for Rascal every time I pull into the yard after work. Ouch. Our furry friends become like family to us and often we like them better than some of our relatives. There was a joke that went around about the difference between your wife and your dog. If you locked them both in the trunk of your car, when you opened it, one of them would be glad to see you. My dog was always glad to see me. Rascal, goodbye, my faithful friend.

Results in the rodeo world: The college rodeo of the Central Rocky Mountain Region was in action April 5-7 in Ft. Collins hosted by the Colorado State University. The team ropers from Lamar Community College had another good showing. In the long go round, Joe Autry and Gavin Wash were 2nd with a time of 6.2 seconds for $285 each. In the short go round, they suffered a “no time” and only four teams caught their short round steers, so Autry and Wash received points but no money. Former LCC cowboy, YD Deschany (CSU) and Brayden Fillmore (Otero) were 3rd in the long round with 7.4 seconds, 3rd in the short round with 11.5 seconds, and split 2nd and 3rd in the average for another $238 each.

The Southeast Colorado Can Chasers kicked off their season of barrel racing at the Sand and Sage Fairgrounds in Lamar on April 7th.

The open division saw 39 runners vying for a spot in one of the four divisions. Setting the pace of the 1D and taking the top time was Kelly Yates on” Lipstick” (17.795 seconds) and she ran the second fastest time on “Fabio” (17.803 seconds). Rounding out third and fourth was Shali Lord and Leslie Morris. Winning the 2D was LeeAnn Ridley (18.31 seconds) followed by Lord on her second horse. Winning the 3D was Dawni O’Bryan (18.834 seconds) followed by Maci Jackson (2nd), Julie Dorenkamp (3rd) and Karisa Brookshire (4th). Winning the 4D was Dawni O’Bryan on her second horse (19.335 seconds) followed by Megan Zion, ShiAnn Patton, and Jaelin Parker.

The youth division had 13 riders and was broken into three divisions. The 1D was won by Kaycee Ortiz (18.262 seconds), the 2D was won by Charli Wait (19.76 seconds) with Taelyn Seufer winning 2nd and 3rd in this division, and the 3D was won by Stormie Lubbers (23.158 seconds), followed by Hailey Pearson. The peewee division was won by Stealy Lord (21.034 seconds), followed by Brooklyn Jackson (25.473 seconds), and Haper Hawkins (29.890 seconds).

No animal I know of can consistently be more of a friend and companion that a dog. S. L.

Happy Trails.