Hard Luck Strikes Rodeo Family, Benefit Jackpots Planned

Cowboys and cowgirls always come together in an effort to help one of their own.

Competition in the rodeo, jackpot and horse show arena can be “out-for-blood,” so to speak, as one does their very best to outscore every other one, their best friend   included.

At the same time, there is typically an apparent camaraderie and appreciation for a “job well done,” even when it outdoes those so intent on winning.

Thus, it is not surprising that these same Western athletes have come forward to plan a benefit for a family whose luck in the “arena of life” has run far beneath unusual good days and bad, so common in the horseman’s pen of sporting competition.

Brett and Karody Robbins and their children, Rhett and Prairie Rose, live at Brookville, Kansas, but they are known throughout the Midwest for participation in all levels of horse-related competitions. Actually, the families are fourth -generation rodeo competitors.

Their heart-rending story must be told for one to comprehend the hardships which have come on the family. Yet, their optimism, belief and forward stride have remained enduring, and participation in horse-related events continues.

In September 2008, three-year-old Rhett was kicked by a horse and airlifted to Wesley MedicalCenter in Wichita. His skull was fractured, and there was a minor bruise on the brain. Fortunately, Rhett recovered and is now an active, independent five-year-old who enjoys riding and working with horses.

The next June, Brett Robbins was mowing the yard when the riding lawn mover exploded. He was helicoptered to St. Francis Hospitalin Wichita, and diagnosed with second and third degree burns over 40 percent of his body.

Brett has undergone several invasive surgeries and skin grafts to repair the areas of his body that were badly burned.  He was recovering with rehabilitation to regain motion and motor skills in his hands and arms. However, during January Brett reinjured his left arm when working on the ranch.

The injury reopened Brett’s most-recent skin graft, requiring a second surgery and graft, as well as placement back into an airplane splint.  It is hoped that this latest
surgery will allow him to regain improved functional use of his left arm.

In September last year, Brett’s wife, Karody, was diagnosed with breast cancer, after doctors had initially failed to recognize the problem, believing it was a fibroid cyst.
Karody is the daughter of John Smith and a granddaughter of Tom Likes, both former champion rodeo cowboys who are known over a wide area.

During the summer, Karody had stayed with Brett in the hospital as they battled for his survival. When Brett was released to come home, Karody scheduled a doctor’s appointment for herself.  A mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy revealed that cancer had progressed to Grade Two. Karody was scheduled for chemotherapy and a mastectomy.

During surgery, lymph nodes were removed for further testing which revealed that the cancer had spread.  Karody underwent a second surgery for the removal of more lymph nodes and now faces radiation treatments.

Then, on February 7th of this year, Prairie Rose Robbins, Brett and Karody’s first-grade daughter, was competing at a junior rodeo in Kingman, Kansas, when she was kicked by a horse and airlifted to Wichita, with a laceration to her spleen.  Prairie Rose is recovering.

Friends indicate that the Robbins family has “kept a positive attitude despite their illnesses, and their courage and positive attitude are an inspiration to all.  There
has never been a time when friends couldn’t call on the Robbins for assistance, and they would do whatever they could to help.”

Now, friends of the Robbins family are banding together to help in their time of need. A Robbins’ Family Benefit Barrel Race and Team Roping are scheduled April 17 at Lyons.

The 4D barrel race will begin at 10 a.m., with divisions for all ages. Team roping is set for 2 p.m. There will be working-awards in both the racing and roping events, in addition to hard luck prizes.

A silent auction is also being conducted. Donations are sought for both the auction and the jackpot event awards.

Those wishing to make contributions, assist with the events or desiring information have been asked to contact Jamie Grover at 785-275-1496 or Heidi Rouse at