SHAWNEE, OKLAHOMA -- It somehow figures that Whitney Hall would injure herself with a rope since she handles one so much. But it wasn't a cowboy rope that cost her the tip of her left index finger. It was a tent rope she grabbed at the wrong time while just horseing around on the 4th of July. "We were at a gathering in a little town called Loco," she explains, telling the story for the hundredth time. "You knew something was wrong right away?" asks a listener. "Yes sir. I looked up and said, 'guys, my finger is gone."
The accident took place less than two weeks ago. Less than 24 hours later she was practicing with a rope against both her doctor's and her mother's advice. "My husband and daughter assured me that nothing would happen," says Rhonda Hall. Whitney responds, "I just focused on God and said, 'it's all you,' and I haven't had any pain."
The day after testing it she won a calf roping event in Texas and set her sights on the International Finals Rodeo in Shawnee. Whitney had to alter her style. She explains, "I have to use fewer fingers to hold the rope coil." But on Monday's firs go-round she roped a calf in less than 3 seconds. "You don't need that finger after all do you?" jokes a reporter. "No sir," she grins. "Not at all."
The stands may be empty on a Tuesday afternoon but the practicing continues. Whitney Hall is one tough cowgirl still gunning for Number 1, whether she can raise a finger high or not. Whitney's next go-round is scheduled for Thursday.
If she performs well she'll be in the finals on Friday night. Hall is a resident of Comanche, Oklahoma. She's dedicating her inspired performance to a school mate who was murdered earlier this summer.
For up to the minute IFYR results go to http://www.shawneeexpo.org/ifyr/