Village News Correspondent
A benefit barrel race for Bonsall’s Linda Stenerson will take place Saturday at the Ramona Rodeo Grounds.
The Aug. 24 Runnin’ for Linda event has been sanctioned by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. The sponsorship of Bernardo Winery allowed for $500 of added prize money in addition to the jackpot.
The barrel race which will begin at 2 p.m. will have a 4-D format, and separate side pots will provide prizes for youth, novice horse/rider, masters (age 18-49), and senior (50 and over) winners.
A Pole Bending competition will also be held following the barrel race; a dog race with winners in each of five size categories will start at 1 p.m., and a men’s “for fun” barrel race will be run towards the end of the day.
There is no admission charge for non-riders, although more than 100 items have been donated for the raffle, live auction, and silent auction and the rodeo grounds will also have two food trucks and a coffee kiosk.
Stenerson was stricken with an aneurism in early June, and plans to hold a benefit barrel race to help cover her medical expenses were in the preliminary stages at that time. She appeared to be recovering from her aneurism, but an Aug. 1 injury at her ranch was more severe.
Her colt Dyson was misbehaving, so Stenerson utilized the traditional training method of grabbing a stick and spanking his rear. Dyson kicked out immediately and hit Stenerson above the knee, sending her to the ground underneath her mare Iris. Iris jumped and landed on the right side of Stenerson’s head.
Troy Dial was at Stenerson Ranch that day, as he had intended to build Stenerson a custom saddle. Dial took action to keep Iris from landing on Stenerson again. Dial then called 911.
Stenerson’s daughter, Heather Herron, was also present.
Dial had Herron catch Iris before calling Stenerson’s husband, Bruce, at the house. While Dial stayed on the phone with 911 to ensure that the paramedics didn’t get lost on the way to Stenerson Ranch, he also used his shirt to apply pressure.
Stenerson was transported to Palomar Hospital. What Dial thought was a head wound turned out to be a skull fracture. The medical staff removed that side of her skull to prevent swelling. Stenerson was also placed in a medically-induced coma and was in a coma for a week. “She came out of it pretty fast,” said Dial’s wife, Stacy.
The injuries also included a fractured vertebrae and a broken femur. The antibiotics killed defensive bacteria and led to Stenerson developing CDES on Aug. 16, placing her in an isolation area.
“It’s going to be a tough recovery,” Stacy Dial said.
There are no signs of permanent brain damage. “The nurses have actually used the word ‘miracle’ in her recovery,” Dial said. “It’s just really miraculous.”
Stenerson moved from New Mexico to Bonsall in the mid-1980s. She was the National Barrel Horse Association district director of District 20 for more than 10 years. “District 20 wouldn’t have happened without her,” Dial said.
Herron was 36 in March 2008 when an aneurism left her with brain and body damage. Stenerson stepped down as district director, although she remains an active member of District 20, and sold her equine supplement business to help her daughter recover. “It’s all because of Linda that she’s even survived,” Dial said.
Stenerson won the NBHA District 20 championship in both 2011 and 2012. One of the horses she used during those two championships was Cody, who passed away Dec. 26. Stenerson’s father-in-law passed away unexpectedly this spring.
“It’s just been one horrific thing after another for these people,” said Vanessa Aspin, who is in charge of raffle and auction donations. “They really need everybody to come together and kind of help them out.”
Although Runnin’ for Linda entries will be taken up to the 2 p.m. starting time, pre-entries e-mailed to Selena Roberts at her email@example.com will receive consideration to be late or early in the order to accommodate other races during the weekend. The “time only” exhibition runs, which cost $5, will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The raffle draws will take place at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. The silent auction will close at 3 p.m. and the live auction will take place after the first 75 riders have competed. Those interested in donating items for the raffle or auction can contact Aspin at (760) 550-3001.
The Ramona Rodeo Grounds is located in the Ramona Outdoor Community Center at Fifth Street and Aqua Lane and is accessible from State Route 78, which is Main Street for that part of Ramona.
Stenerson, whose daughter placed third in last year’s District 20 3-D standings, has asked about being able to return to Barrel Racing. “If Heather can do it, Linda can do it,” Dial said.