Accidents are often part of the cowboy and cowgirl way of life.
In most cases, the harm is minimal. However, when injury is serious, fellow cowboys and cowgirls join efforts to help one of their own in any way they can.
Such has been the case since Alexandra Umphenour of Pleasanton was knocked unconscious during a horse accident on February 13.
She has been hospitalized in a coma. Consequently, medical bills for her family have escalated.
Thousands have offered prayers while fund raising efforts are being conducted in a variety of ways.
Among those is a Alexandra Umphenour Benefit Auction scheduled by Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association roper Marty Read, an auctioneer at Mound City.
His wife, Beverly Read explained that the auction to help the Umphenour family defray expenses is set May 1, 1:30 p.m., at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Mound City.
Donations of all kinds are being sought for the auction.
In relating the background of Alexandra Umphenour, Mrs. Read said, “She is our neighbor girl, and my riding buddy. A sophomore on the Fort Hays State University Rodeo Team, Alex was at college in Hays exercising her horse, just as she always did, when he suddenly died.
“After the horse collaped, Alexandra hit her head on the ground, knocking her unconscious with severe brain trauma,” Mrs. Read continued. “Alex is just now coming out of a coma.”
A barrel racer, Alexandra was initially taken to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, according to Bronc Rumford, rodeo team coach. She is currently at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“We are praying for the best,” Rumford said. “It was such a terribly unfortunate accident.”
Alexandra’s parents, Kevin and Debi Umphenour of Pleasanton, have stayed by her side the entire time. Her six siblings have traveled from Texas, Virgina and Kansas to be with her.
Monty and Beverly Read’s daughter, Naomi Read, is instrumental in organizing the auction.
She emphasized: “Everyone has something to offer. In the words of Edmund Burke: ‘Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing, because he could do only a little.'”
“Let’s all come together to make this fund raiser happen. None of us are as strong as all of us” Naomi challenged. “We need donations of items to sell in order to make this auction a success.”
Among things suggested that people can give to be sold include gift cards, jewelry, antiques, farm equipment, livestock, household items, oil changes, hair cuts, lessons, artwork, quilts, toys, furniture, tack or farm supplies.
“It’s time for spring cleaning. Look in your closets, barns and storage areas,” Naomi encouraged. “Every one of us has something to give. Even the smallest donation will make a difference. The sky is the limit.”
Already, two horses, a new trailer and custom-made cowboy hats valued at more than $800 each have been donated.
“There will be something for everybody” insisted Naomi.
Marty Read Auction Service is handling all of the auctioneering duties at no charge.
Other money-making efforts include the sale of bracelets and t-shirts.
“Team Alexandra” bracelets can be ordered for $1 each from Traci Doty, 601 Rolling View Drive, Valley Center, Kan., 67147.
The t-shirts are available in all sizes with two different designs. Both say “Team Alex,” but each has a different Bible scripture: Romans 15:13, or James 5:15a.
On Saturday morning, Bev Read pointed out, “These last three days have been miraculous improvement for Alex, although it’s still a very long and steep road.
“Alex has started holding her head up on her own for short periods. She is reaching for things, but she has to have assistance to find the object
“Then, Alex recognized her parents and even smiled when her dad acted silly. Her family wept with joy,” Mrs. Read related.
More than 3,400 people have signed on Facebook to pray for Alex. “She is from a very strong Christian family that has had their share of tragedy,” Mrs. Read recognized.
“Prayer warriors are still needed. Please advise your prayer chain. This family is quite deep in their faith, and they are praying to God to heal their child,” added Kate Rumford, wife of the rodeo team coach and an official of the Kansas High School Rodeo Association of which Alex is a former member.
Those wishing to make financial contributions are urged to send them to the Labette Bank, POB 778, Pleasanton, Kan., 66075.
Auction consignments are posted on the Marty Read Auction Service website.
Naomi Read quoted Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
“Thank you so much. Your kindness will really make a difference,” Naomi challenged.
Updates on Alexandra’s condition are available at http://www.facebook..com/TeamAlexandra.