By RODNEY D. BOAM
Change of direction came as quickly to Abby Shaffer as it does to her barrel racing horse does in a rodeo. When the announcement came in LDS General Conference last October that 19 year-old young women can serve missions for their church, rodeo went to the back seat and serving a mission became priority number one. In the past, women who wanted to serve missions had to be 21 years old. The young men would wait until they were 19 and now they can leave a year earlier.
Shaffer, this year’s region 6 Idaho High School Rodeo Queen, had planed on serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but when President Thomas S. Monson made the announcement last October the 18 year-old Shaffer decided she was ready for a new direction.
“She has always said she wanted to serve a mission,” said her mother, Teresa Shaffer. “She thought she would have to wait until she was 21. Now she can go this fall at 19 she is pretty excited.”
This past year the reigning rodeo queen represented District Eight, which includes all of southeast Idaho.
Besides being the queen she also competed in pole bending, cow cutting and barrel racing.
“For awhile, before I decided I wanted to go on a mission, I thought college rodeo was where I wanted to be. Now that I’m going on a mission I’ll just see what happens when I get home,” Shaffer said. “The rodeo crowd doesn’t have the same standards I’ve been raised with.”
She’s been thinking that there is more to life than rodeoing, like getting married, being a mother and getting a good education.
I enjoyed being a rodeo queen and would love to be Miss Rodeo Idaho, but I think if the mission is right thing to do, everything will work out.
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