story by BreAnne Benson Muldrow, Oklahoma, is home to the talented cowgirl, Hazlee Mckenzie. The 16-year-old junior is a standout member of the Oklahoma High […]
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Meet the Member: Taylor Williams
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Taylor Williams can thank the Lord that she is alive.
The seventeen-year-old cowgirl, a resident of McAlester, Okla., and a member of the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association, was injured in a car crash in July.
She and her friends were coming home from a rodeo when a drunk driver hit the truck, causing it to swerve into the guardrail and flip three times.
Taylor fractured her pelvis in three places, her back in four places, broke all the ribs on the right side, collapsed both lungs, and bruised her liver. She was unconscious for 48 hours.
After she regained consciousness, the doctors had planned to do surgery to repair the pelvis, which was displaced, but after it was determined she could tolerate the pain, they decided not to.
She was in bed for three weeks, and used a walker for another week. The doctor told her she should use the walker for two more weeks, but she told him she was ready to walk. “He said, if the pain isn’t horrible, you can start walking,” Taylor remembered. “So I started walking two weeks earlier than they expected.”
The car wreck is just a bump in her rodeoing; she continues to compete in the barrel racing, pole bending and cutting. Of her three events, barrels are her strength, in part due to a new horse. Pyro, a seven year old sorrel, is a new purchase for Taylor and “has that extra speed that you need at that level.”
Taylor is one of 21 seniors in this year’s class at Kiowa High School. She loves history class, FFA, and her small school size. There are more girls than boys in her class, which means for homecoming and prom dates, there are a lot of underclass boys going with seniors.
Taylor was the catcher on the high school softball team (except for this year, due to the accident), and played basketball for three years. She is president of her school’s FFA chapter, is on the superintendent’s honor roll, and is student vice-president of the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association. She loves her role in high school rodeo, which includes attending meetings, taking comments from contestants, and putting up and taking down banners at every high school rodeo.
After high school, she will attend college and work on a pre-medicine degree. Her goal is to go on to medical school and be a doctor of radiology. When she was six, a horse stepped on her skull, giving her a severely depressed skull fracture. Surgeons inserted three plates and twelve screws. Her time in the hospital then is what made her want to be a doctor. “I think that was the time in my life that made me decide to be in the medical field, because those people helped me.”
The accident has made her enjoy life more. “I realized you should cherish every moment you get to wake up. Even the bad times are good times, because you’re still breathing.”
She competed at state finals in the barrels and poles this past summer.
Taylor has an older brother, Jeff, who is finishing his last year of veterinary medicine school.
She is the daughter of Hoot and Tara Williams.