story by Lindsay Humphrey Last summer, Emily changed her last name from Vinton to Finney when she married Doug. It was a match made at […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member: Michelle Stobbe
story by Terry Rhodes
The mythical Phoenix rising from ashes has nothing on Michelle Stobbe. She has risen from her own adversities in an incredible way. Four years ago Michelle broke her back and doctors said that she would never ride again. “The doctors didn’t realize how bad it was until they got in there and saw the damage. During surgery they hit a nerve and now my left leg is half paralyzed. I didn’t walk for a year.” With the lengthy recovery, Michelle went through months of extensive rehabilitation. “We had to travel to Kearney (Nebraska) everyday for about seven months where I did a lot of water therapy. I still have to make monthly doctor appointments for checkups.”
As if the back injury was not enough to deal with, her competition horse, Flaming For Cash, broke her coffin bone and underwent extensive treatment. “She was going to make the Badlands Circuit Finals when she broke her coffin bone. We brought her back from that, and so this is the first year back for both of us running together. She is just a phenomenal little horse. I started in the WPRA in 2009 and she filled my permit in a weekend.” Between the injuries to both Michelle and her horse, the pair has been down for four years.
Being able to even ride again is a credible comeback story, but Michelle has topped that with a successful rodeo season that has her qualified for the Finals. As she prepares for the Mid-States Finals she is sitting in sixth place in the barrel racing. “My goal was to make the Mid-States Finals and so it is really a blessing. I am just so excited that I even get to go.” Michelle appreciates her circumstances now more than ever and doesn’t take any day as a given. “When people talk about having a bad day, they have no idea how really bad it could be.”
Adapting to competitive barrel racing, Michelle uses a custom saddle that secures her in place. “I have to be strapped in pretty well because my leg is numb. I’m at about 85% of use of the leg and they don’t expect that to change.”
Michelle has been in the Mid-States association for three years, not counting her involvement back in the ‘90s. “I did make it to the Finals one time back then. I took a break, raised my family, got my life together and have started back 20 years later.” She is also a member of the NSRA, WPRA, and a director for the Nebraska 4D barrel racing.
Michelle says that June Holman has been the one to really get her going in barrel racing. “She has taught me everything I know and I have just followed her around. I would go to her house and ride and I bought my first horse from June in ’87 or ’88 and I’ve gone on from there. Now I’m breeding and training my own horses and hopefully will be running them someday. I really like the Cash Not Credit line of horses and Flaming Jet horses.” Goals are to build a line of barrel horses that have Michelle’s name associated with them.
She lives in North Loup, Neb. with her husband, Joe and they have three children at home, Bryce, 24, Courtney 17, and Zach, 11.Their oldest son, Brock and his wife, Kassy have two daughters, Kessyn and Kadisyn. Michelle and Joe own a hay company that specializes in hay and corn grinding and Michelle is secretary and bookkeeper for the business. Her day includes lots of functions, from mom to barrel racer. “My life is full and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”