Kelly Blanton, Taylorsville, N.C. was bucked off her horse as she practiced breakaway roping before Monday night’s performance of the IFYR. She landed on her head, and was life flighted to the Oklahoma University Medical Center immediately.

“She broke vertebra in her neck and back,” said family friend Vanessa Beamer. Doctors “are saying she has a Christopher Reeves type of injury. She can’t move or feel anything below the chest line.”

Beamer, whose daughter Anna is competing at the IFYR, said the North Carolina rodeo family is distraught. “The problem with most of us from North Carolina is that we’re headed to Gillette (Wyoming, for the National High School Finals Rodeo), and we hate to leave” the family. But people have been helpful. “Everybody’s been nice, pitching in to help with their horses.”

Mike Jackson, operations manager of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, said, “My heart goes out to the Blanton family. The IFYR family is praying for Kelly and we will continue to reach out to the Blantons for however long Kelly’s recovery may take.”

Donations for the family are being accepted by the North Carolina High School Rodeo Association treasurer, Jackie Davis. They can be sent to 2827 Lake Front Drive, Belmont, NC 28012. Davis can also be contacted by phone at 980-522-1865.

Kelly graduated from Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville, N.C. She is the daughter of Geri Blanton and Michael Blanton.

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