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Meet the Member Molly Hermelbracht
story by Lindsay King
Molly Hermelbracht from Rosalie, Nebraska, places her heel loop between her index and middle fingers, swings, throws, two feet pulled tight and she lets the dally loose. In September 2014, Molly was roping behind her college partner, Sadie Stec, when a coil dropped around her right thumb and pulled tight, severing it off. “I do not remember it step-by-step, all I remember is pulling my glove back to a nub and screaming.” Overnight surgery followed by heat and leech therapy could not save her thumb, the circulation was not reaching it. On October first, they took her thumb off and sent her home the next day.
“I just have a nub now. A week after the last surgery I had a rope in my hands. I knew I did not have a choice but to re-learn to rope, it almost came naturally because there was no other way.” She had to re-learn how to do more than just rope, simple everyday tasks were a challenge for some time. “My doctor told me that a thumb is used for about 90 percent or more of your daily functions. I would not wish this on anyone. But, it has given me the opportunity to push myself and others past set backs. It could always be worse, but it is still a challenge.”
Molly started her rodeo career in 4-H by showing in western pleasure and horsemanship. “My grandpa Hermelbracht showed horses and wanted me to also. I am thankful for the horsemanship because I know it transferred. It has helped me rope and ride my rodeo horses better.” Molly teethed on the rails of a roping arena. “Mom likes to tell the story that whenever dad left for a roping without us that I would just scream and bawl at the front door. Rodeo was in my blood from the start.” In junior high she started rodeoing in the M-SRA and IRA. Two years later, she went to Iowa High School rodeos in team roping, eventually adding goat tying and breakaway, competing in all three through college.
Molly completed her associates degree in elementary education at Iowa Central Community College before transferring to Hastings College where she graduated this past May with her bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education. “I am a little nervous but very excited to be teaching fifth grade at Wisner-Pilger Public Schools this year.” Though she loves to rope, Molly also likes to do anything that is different from her normal routine. Any trip she takes she looks for new restaurants and experiences to give a try. “I also like to run, just to get my mind off things. Of course one of my hobbies is spending time with my family and friends relaxing.”
Growing up in rodeo has allowed Molly to “double-dip” when it comes to family time. “It is a blessing to have the ones you love enjoying the things that you do.” Molly started in the M-SRA in junior high and has continued ever since. “Everyone in the M-SRA becomes family. Everywhere I turn there is someone who can help with anything anyone needs.” Many people in her family have shaped Molly as a roper but none as much as her dad. “I am a life-long learner, I want to continue to grow as a person, teacher and roper. I plan to get my master’s degree and buy my own place eventually. I want to continue to train horses in any way that I can. It has been a learning curve the last two years without my thumb but it could always be worse, I can still rope and that is what I was determined to do after my accident.”