The event was put on by Charity Lutheran’s Charity Women in Mission for Christ. As Ashley spoke, it was quite apparent this former rodeo queen was not only beautiful on the outside but inside as well.
Ashley, originally from the small community of Bowman, was crowned Miss Rodeo North Dakota in 2006. During her reign, she was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She endured chemotherapy treatments for six months. Through it all, she vowed to remain positive– even after all of her hair fell out in a big clump in the shower one day. She ended up getting not one but three wigs to help her through her life as a rodeo queen with a serious illness.
While Ashley served as Miss Rodeo North Dakota, she had two goals in mind – to become Miss Rodeo America and to beat her cancer.
In December of 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada, it seemed there was moment destined just for Ashley. After reaching the top five during the Miss Rodeo America competition, the judge’s final question was to describe a challenge she had faced this past year and how she handled that challenge. She said her answer did not come from her, but came instead through God’s amazing grace that had accompanied her through all that she had been through. In her answer, she declared these three truths she had founded during her past year:
- Everything happens for a reason
- Something good comes from every bad situation
- God will never give you more than you can handle
After each final contestant answered their questions, Ashley found herself up against Miss Texas for the Miss Rodeo America title. After she was announced the winner, she received a phone call from former Senator Byron Dorgan, who was one of many from our state to congratulate her.
It was truly an amazing testimony about how God gave her strength and grace and was able to use Ashley’s life in such an amazing way. In sharing her story, Ashley also testified how the power of positive thinking and support from her family gave her courage to face and overcome her illness. Today Ashley resides in her hometown of Bowman with her husband and two small children. She remains cancer free.
What about you? Have you gone to an event and you still remember something that the speaker said that inspired you? Who is the most inspiring speaker you have ever gotten the chance to see in person? Feel free to share with a comment. I would love to hear from you!