Carrie Broussard with her horse Mocha – Carrie’s story is one of perseverance and never giving up on your dreams. She’s the embodiment of the true American west. Her dedication to her family, friends and sport is unparalleled.
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAWK BUCKMAN
||| THE STRONG CARRIE BROUSSARD
| COMMUNITY |
When Carrie Broussard, and her husband, Joe, arrived at the Morrill County Fairgrounds in Bridgeport, Nebraska, on Sept. 15, 2019, they had no idea by the end of the day they would have to begin to meet themselves on personal levels they had never considered, or encountered, before.
BY HAWK BUCKMAN
PUBLISHED MAR 03, 2020
Joe and Carrie arrived in the early morning that day in preparation of their participation in “Barrels for Briar,” a charity event for Tyler and Christina Stuart’s baby girl who had passed away.
Carrie and Joe met with friends shortly after arriving at the fairgrounds. They unpacked their tack and horses from their trailer and looked forward to a good time with friends, neighbors and other competitors. After saddling her three horses in bright, September sun, she took the horses to warm them up and slowly pace them through the course.
As a young girl in Gering, Nebraska, Carrie often dreamed of being a competitive Barrel racer. Carrie’s parents were avid Cowboy polo players and introduced her to horses and riding at an early age. “I had no choice in the matter,” she said. “I was destined to love, ride and be around horses.”
Motherhood, being a wife, and her job as a hair stylist more than 30 years in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, made that dream unfeasible. She put her dream on hold, but still found time, a little bit everyday, to make it a reality.
Her dreams began to take shape in 2005. Her husband’s trucking company in Minatare, Nebraska expanded. In 2016, she left her job as a hair stylist to begin focusing on her managerial duties at Broussard Trucking, allowing more time to spend with her husband and work on manifesting her dream. Since 2005, Carrie has been a well-known competitor and sponsor in National Barrel Horse Association (Nebraska) and Mile Hi Barrel Horse (Colorado), promoting Barrel racing in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska.
The competition began at noon. Carrie and the other competitors turned in good times. The riders weren’t pushing themselves, or their horses, as they normally would. It was a friendly competition for charity. Carrie was confident in her abilities. After two rounds, she was looking forward to riding Mocha, her 9 ½ year old female Bay.
Sure-footed and fast, Mocha was one of her most experienced horses. Mocha had been running barrels for four years and was no stranger to consistently producing fast times. The course was raked for the third round and competitors entered the arena once again. Carrie and Mocha gained speed as they approached the time barrier. Carrie swung Mocha out to the left of the barrel to line up for the turn. Halfway through the turn, Mocha went wide and into softer dirt. The ground gave way. As her hind legs collapsed, Mocha and Carrie began to go down on their right sides. Carrie’s right boot dug into the dirt as Mocha rolled to the right, pushing Carrie’s foot and leg into the ground.
Carrie Broussard and Mocha September 15, 2019. One second after this image was taken Mocha hit the ground snapping both bones in Carrie’s right leg and spiral fracturing the bones into her ankle.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GERALDINE REUTER
Carrie heard the bones in her ankle and leg break as she reached for the ground to brace herself and stay on Mocha. Mocha instinctively struggled to get her legs back under her. As she began to stand up, Carrie voluntarily bailed. She knew she didn’t have the leg strength to stay on Mocha. Falling to the ground onto her back, Carrie grasped her leg in pain. Spooked but back on her feet, Mocha attempted to continue through the course running to the opposite side of the arena. In less than 10 seconds Carrie’s dream of becoming a barrel racer was threatened.
The guys setting barrels were there immediately after Carrie bailed from Mocha. She had them remove her boot before her foot began to swell and they had to cut the boot off.
Carrie laid in the middle of the arena waiting for the on-site ambulance. She was transported to Morrill County Hospital in Bridgeport for x-rays. Upon seeing the results, doctors recommended she be transported to Regional West Hospital in Scottsbluff for further care. She learned she had broken both bones in her leg above the ankle. Much worst was a spiral fracture into the ankle. Surgery to repair the damage was scheduled the following morning. Surgeons attached a 13-inch stainless steal rod from her knee to her ankle, and a smaller plate near her ankle, using 14 screws.
While in the hospital her orthopedic surgeon said Carrie would not be able to mount or ride a horse for at least a year while her bones mended. In the best case scenario, she might be able to ride in six months. More importantly, she would have to adhere to a strict regimen of care to heal correctly. She would not be able to apply any pressure to her leg for at least two months. Carrie would have to remain seated with her leg propped up while recovering at home.
Carrie Broussard competing on Mocha in her first competition in Torrington Wyoming after recovering from injuries sustained in September 2019.
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAWK BUCKMAN
||| A Best Friend, Coach & Cheerleader
Carrie credits Joe for her speedy recovery. Though they owned a trucking company and were in high demand to keep the business profitable and running, Joe waited on Carrie “hand-and-foot” for the first two months of her recovery. He carried her everywhere – the shower, their bed and back to the couch for her to rest and heal each night. Neither were going to let Carrie’s injuries slow them down. They worked to help Carrie grow stronger each day. Joe recalls that time as being stressful but said, “That’s what you do for the love of your life.”
Terry Latta, Carrie’s best friend, coach and cheerleader, was instrumental in supporting Carrie while she was confined to her home. Terry texted and called daily. Carrie, frustrated at being confined and not able to put any weight on her leg, suffered through bouts of irritation and depression. One week, when she was feeling especially down, Joe and her children, arranged for a surprise visit from Terry, who lives in Azle, Texas. Carrie’s spirits soared. She was back on her feet and in physical therapy soon after.
VIDEO – Carrie is surprised by her best friend, Coach and cheerleader Terry Latta as she arrives from Azle, TX. Carrie’s husband Joe and her daughter Dustin arranged for her surprise visit.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DUSTIN JOHNSON
||| Carrie’s Return to Barrel Racing
The air was frigid on the morning of Feb. 9, 2020, at the Torrington Arena in Torrington, Wyoming. Carrie invited a group of people to witness her return to Barrel racing. Visitors marveled at Carrie as she effortlessly guided Mocha through the course, making turns around each barrel and racing back to the time barrier.
After being struck down with a potentially carrier ending injury, Carrie was back, living her dream only 4 ½ months after her accident. Applause echoed through the arena as each rider present cheered Carrie on, knowing the comeback she had worked so hard to make.
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAWK BUCKMAN
Carrie and Joe Broussard represents the strength, tenacity, devotion and loyalty to each other for which Wyobraska is known. Through the decades, the people of Wyobraska continually exhibit confidence in their endeavors and each other as a community. You won’t find quitters here. We’re special in the great American experiment. It’s the way of the American west. Carrie, Joe and her family are the epitome of the standards which make us Wyobraskans.