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By JimiBeth Myers

NFRBehind the Scenes
Barrel Racers Honor Fallen Soldiers on Military Night at the WNFR
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Wrangler National Finals Rodeo barrel racers wore specially made dog tags with the name of a fallen female soldier through the Honor Tags for Heroes program.  Reigning World Champion Barrel Racer Nellie Miller said, “This is a great way to pay tribute so that their families get recognition for their loved one.  It’s good that we can do what we can because these soldiers are so important for our country.”

 

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Special dog tags representing the barrel racer and the fallen female soldier that they are riding in honor of at the WNFR
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Candian Barrel Racer Carman Pozzoban has an especially personal connection to Military Night.  “I lost a boyfriend in Afghanistan.  So I know the time and strength that it takes to get through that kind of broken heart.  I’m a spiritual person, so riding with these dog tags gives me extra strength out there.”

For Stevi Hillman from Weatherford, Texas this is the third year to ride under the Tags of Honor program at the WNFR.  However, her appreciation for the military goes back even further.  “My grandpa was a military guy and my family lived in Colorado Springs where the Air Force base is, so I feel connected to our military.  I feel so happy to be able to wear these dog tags.  Wearing them really brings it home for me and makes this so personal.  I’m so very thankful for those who serve to protect our country,” Stevi explained.

 

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Jessica Routier was decked out in camouflage and wearing her Honor Tags for Round 7, Military Appreciate Night at the WNFR
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Hailey Kinsel won Round 7, which is always Military Appreciation Night.  “I rode for Army CPL Rachel L. Hugo.  She passed away in 2007.  She was a medic in the army.  She was serving our country when she passed away.  It is nice to carry on her honor.”

Kinsel’s mother made an even more personal connection for Hailey.  “My mom actually reached out to Rachel’s mom and let her know that we were running tonight, and she said she was so excited and asked us to keep her informed.  I was so happy to get to tell her that I had a special angel with me in the arena,”  Hailey told.

 

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Ivy Conrado wore her honor tags with a vintage rodeo shirt. It was worn by Celie Whitcomb-Ray, who competed in this same shirt at the 1983 National Finals Rodeo
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