I Love Life: Blindness hasn’t stopped Dave Lord from competing in rodeos.
While researching a book featuring stories of people that have turned their dreams into reality, I met a man who did just that! His name: David Lord.
David was at the wrong place at the wrong time! David, who hails from Alabama, lost his sight when a friend accidentally detonated dynamite in front of him. “After I was blinded, the first two or three years were really tough. I questioned everything. But, no matter how much we obsess about our problems, you can’t undue what’s been done. You need to let go of the past. Sure, I never dreamed something like this would happen to me. But, it did and I had to accept it.”
Initially, David didn’t know what to do with the rest of his life. “You know that’s something you ask yourself a lot. I was so independent and all of a sudden, I had to ask others to help me. It was really stressful. I was an action person and loved to take risks, including competing in rodeos. I always wanted to do it full time. But, at the time, I was obligated to my job in the iron fields. Then, one day I asked myself, ‘why can’t I?’ The rest, they said, is history!”
What David started was a career as a competitive bareback rodeo rider who couldn’t see. “Oh ya, I got that gut feeling about the unknown. But, everything worked out. I had a lot of good people around me who kept their eyes on me. I had everything prepared and had good equipment. Sure, things are going to happen like this past weekend…a horse fell with me and skinned my face up. But, that’s part of the job.”
Despite the risk of injury, the 40-year-old rider isn’t about to give up. “There’s always risk. No doubt about it. But, there is no better thrill when you ride that animal. It’s the best natural high you can get. I just love it!”
So far, David’s efforts have paid off on the rodeo circuit. “I’ve made it to the finals in my rodeo association. That’s success. There’s a lot of tough competition, but I’m having fun and I’m just don’t worry about things anymore. If I make it, that’s fine. If I don’t, at least, I’ve tried. I just won’t sit on the sidelines of life. That’s not what it’s all about.”
What’s the reaction to his blindness from David’s fellow rodeo competitors? “I don’t get no special favors and I accept it. I get on whatever I draw...These people have worked with me enough that they know I can handle myself. Sure, at first, they were standing back and didn’t know what to expect. They thought ‘this is going to be a short sweet ride on a runaway train. Then, they found out I had a lot of heart and jumped in to help me.”
David is a believer in perseverance in spite of the obstacles he’s encountered since the accident. “You got to grab yourself up by the seat of the pants and do it! What I’m doing is helping a lot of people. I’m grateful for that. If I can help somebody and push them along in their lives, I’ll do it. I tell them, ‘do the best with what you’ve got. Carry on ‘cause life is short so you’d better live it to the fullest.”
And, that’s what a young friend of David is doing every day of the week. “I know a little girl who is blind and she barrel races. Angie inspires me! Her daddy talks her around the barrels with a walkie-talkie. She does great and, despite the blindness, she is really good.”
Lee Iacocca describes Perseverance this way:
“Boys, there ain’t no free lunches in the country. And don’t go spending your whole life commiserating that you got the raw deals. You’ve got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough, I can have it. It’s called Perseverance.” David Lord, in spite of his blindness, is integrating those words into his life---and is definitely getting results!