The words risk and rodeo go hand-in-hand in the Allen family's vocabulary. They know if you're going to ride, there is a possibility for pain. Nevertheless, each weekend they pack up their children, their bags and their horses and head to the nearest rodeo.
This is their life, their ministry and their passion. Each of the Allen children, Laramie, Dakota and Chisum, is an accomplished rider. They each have dreams of a world championship title. They may be small, but their dreams are big.
About a year ago, the Allen family was scrambling to get their oldest daughter, Laramie, to the high school rodeo championships. After dropping her off, they raced home to finish up chores before returning to see her compete.
It was a normal Sunday morning. Following church, they had returned to the farm to change clothes and get some hay baled before they headed out again. Rusty took their son, Chisum, and daughter out to the field to finish the hay, while Carmen stayed behind to make some snacks.
Rusty shares, "I was in the middle of trying to figure out what I should be doing and I asked Chisum if we should stop holding church services on Sunday. Chisum paused and said, 'I ain't no quitter!'" Little did Rusty realize that those could easily have been the last words he would hear Chisum speak.
"We were out in the field, and Chisum and Dakota were aligning the hay to go into the tractor," Rusty says. "With kids in the field, we are especially careful to make sure everyone is clear and safe. I saw Dakota in front of me, and Chisum was behind me. Within seconds, all I could see was Dakota screaming at me. I followed my instincts and backed up the tractor and turned it off."
What Rusty hadn't seen was that Chisum had jumped up onto the accumulator and lost his balance. Within seconds he fell under the tractor and had been run over not once, but twice.
While Rusty turned off the tractor, Dakota ran to Chisum. Rusty was in shock but aware enough to know that Chisum needed a helicopter, and he told Dakota to call her mom, who was at the house across the street, and have her call 911.
Carmen recalls, "I got the phone call from Dakota, and I did as she asked, but what I realized when I called to report a farming accident was that I didn't know who was hurt. I turned off the stove and rushed to my car. I didn't know if it was Rusty or Chisum. When I saw Rusty stand up I knew my little boy had been injured."
While they were waiting for the ambulance, Dakota ran to the truck screaming for help from God. Rusty admits, "I honestly didn't see any life in Chisum. I just started praying and talking and screaming at him. I knew we had to keep talking to him."
An ambulance took Chisum to Eden, and the helicopter met him there. Rusty recalls, "The last thing I heard someone say was, 'don't expect a live child when we arrive.'"
But miracles happened for Chisum when he arrived at Shannon. He was evaluated by Dr. Buddy Flynn, an incredible trauma surgeon, who confirmed the severity of his injuries. While the ER team took care of Chisum, friends of the Allen family flooded the hospital. So many arrived that a conference room had to be opened to accommodate them all.
When Chisum was finally moved out to the room, Dr. Flynn announced that there wouldn't be any need for an additional surgery. The tractor had run over Chisum's head, broken his collarbone and his pelvis, and punctured his lungs, but he was now on the road to recovery.
After two days of induced sleep, Chisum was ready for action. This rodeo cowboy was biting at the bit to get back into the game. Within 10 days of his tragic accident, Chisum was on his way to see his friends at the rodeo. Within 30 days he miraculously got up on his horse. The Allens had discussed with their physician when he could ride again, Carmen remembers. "They told us we'd know when he was ready to ride again," she says. When he got back up to ride, we realized it was way too early." The Allen family took a few steps back and insisted that Chisum take it a little slower.
Today, the Allen family is thankful for the Shannon medical team and the Children's Miracle Network. They fully understand that Chisum is a miracle. Rusty says it best, "Chisum is a miracle kid because he was dead and now he's alive."