Amberley Snyder

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Amberley Snyder
OccupationRodeo competitor
DisciplineBarrel racing, Roping
Born (1991-01-29) January 29, 1991 (age 28)
Significant horses
Power, Wrangler, Legacy

Amberly Snyder (born January 29, 1991) is a championship barrel racer. She also competed in pole bending and breakway roping. In 2010, Snyder suffered an accident that paralyzed her from the waist down. She overcame the injury and found a way to keep competing. In 2015, she competed at a high level when she won a fan exemption to compete at the The American Rodeo. Snyder is now a motivational speaker.

Early life[edit]

Amberley Snyder was born January 29, 1991, in California to Tina and Cory Snyder. She is the second-oldest of her five siblings, Ashley, JC, Taylor, Aubrey, and Autumn.[1] Snyder first rode a horse at 3 and began competing in rodeo barrel racing when she was 7 years old.[2] After that, she spent every weekend summer barrel racing, pole bending, and breakaway roping.[3] She won the 2009 All-Around Cowgirl World Championship in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association. She was the 2009–2010 Utah State FFA President.[4]

Accident and Recovery[edit]

January 10, 2010, she was driving from Utah to the Denver Stock Show and didn't fasten her seatbelt after a gas station stop in Rawlins, Wyoming. Less than 10 miles from the gas station, she looked down to check her map, drifted into the other lane, overcorrected, and her truck slid off the road and rolled 7 times.[5] She was thrown from the truck and slammed into a fence post, which crushed her T-12 vertebrae and left her paralyzed from the waist down.[6] With the help of physical therapy, and a seat belt on her saddle, she was later able to resume riding and competing in rodeo a year and a half later.[7] She transferred from Snow College to Utah State University where she was captain of the school's National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association team.[5] She also won the Shane Drury "Nothin' But Try" scholarship in 2014.[8]

In 2015, Amberley won a fan exemption[9] to compete in RFD-TV's The American Rodeo at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas[10][11] and made a time of 15.3 seconds with her horse Power, only 0.6 seconds slower than the winning time.[2] In 2016, she was in the top 5 for the Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo Association, and she also won her Women's Professional Rodeo Association card in 2016,[7] and now competes in the Wilderness Circuit.[12]


Snyder is now a popular motivational speaker,[6] and posts a weekly "Wheelchair Wednesday" video on social media to showcase everyday tasks that have become more challenging.[3] She has also written an illustrated children's book Walk Ride Rodeo about overcoming adversity.

Film portrayals[edit]

Amberley's story was portrayed in a Netflix biopic Walk. Ride. Rodeo., released on March 8, 2019. She performed all the post-accident horse stunts in the film, while her younger sister Autumn performed the pre-accident stunts due to the similarity of their riding styles.[13][14][15]


  1. ^ Schneider, R. (2006). Whatever Happened to "Super Joe"?: Catching Up with 45 Good Old Guys from the Bad Old Days of the Cleveland Indians. Gray & Company. p. 12. ISBN 9781598510270. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  2. ^ a b "Amberley Snyder: American Cowgirl". New Mobility. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  3. ^ a b "Amberley Snyder: A badass barrel racer you have to meet". AGDAILY. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  4. ^ "Amberley Snyder, 2009-10 Utah State FFA President". Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  5. ^ a b "Despite being paralyzed, Utah State's Snyder continues chasing rodeo dream". Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  6. ^ a b "Rodeo champion offers message of inspiration to FFA members". Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  7. ^ a b "Walk Ride Rodeo – Cowboys and Indians Magazine". Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  8. ^ "CLN congratulates Casper, WY on celebrating their Sweet 16 with the CNFR". Cowboy Lifestyle Network. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  9. ^ "And the winner is . ." 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  10. ^ "Amberley Snyder Gets the Vote". Western Horseman. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  11. ^ "Logan woman paralyzed from the waist down to compete in national rodeo event". Deseret News. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  12. ^ "WPRA". Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  13. ^ "Partially paralyzed Utah barrel racer's story to hit Netflix". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  14. ^ "The true grit of Amberley Snyder". Tri-State Livestock News. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  15. ^ "Utah woman — the only paralyzed barrel racer in the U.S. — stars as a stunt double in Netflix movie about her life". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2019-03-10.