Ranching family feels ‘blessed’ after daughter’s accident

A 7-year-old helping turn out horses isn’t rare on a ranch. But this past July, the task changed the lives of Crowell ranchers and Working Ranch Cowboys Association World Championship Ranch Rodeo participant Skyler Flake forever.


“We were turning out horses for the night, and I was on the other side of the barn when I heard a thud from the gate,” Flake said. “I called for my daughter (7-year-old Casey Jay), but she didn’t respond.”

Skyler came around to find his only child crumpled on the ground and unconscious after a horse had run through, swinging the gate into the young rancher.

“The gate hit her in the head,” Skyler said. “I knew it was bad.”

Skyler and wife Kassie loaded up the girl and the ambulance met them on the road. A helicopter was dispatched from Childress and Casey Jay was flown by helicopter to University Medical Center in Lubbock.

“They (doctors) told us to plan for a month stay,” Kassie said.

Doctors performed surgery for skull fractures and multiple head injuries.

“The gate had gone all around her head,” Kassie said.

“But we are blessed we had so many people praying for us and we were only there five days,” Kassie said. “It was just five days and it was supposed to be a month. We had people praying for us all the way in Brazil.”

The Flakes also experienced financial and work help as the ranching community came together.

“The Working Ranch Cowboys Foundation sent us a check immediately,” Skyler said. “We didn’t even have to ask. It didn’t cover everything, but it was enough to cover a month if we couldn’t work.”

The purpose of this week’s Ranch Rodeo at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex is to raise money for ranchers in need of its crisis fund as well as scholarships.

“This fundraiser raises money for these types of things,” Skyler said. “Somebody notified the foundation and we had a check immediately.”

The Flakes also found non-monetary help in the form of labor and spiritual support.

“We feel so blessed,” Kassie said. “We had so many people praying for us. I feel like this shows there are so many good people in the world.”

As Casey Jay fidgeted while sitting across from her parents, the couple explained that what happened to their daughter is an experience you never wish on anyone, but they feel incredibly blessed.

“She doesn’t remember anything and that’s best,” Skyler said.

Her long blonde pigtails cover the scar that runs from her left ear across the top of her head to almost her right ear. Other than that, it’s apparent one of this year’s recipients of the WRCA’s cowboy crisis fund is a normal 7-year-old.

“I’m going to the Happy Toymaker,” Casey Jay said as she ran off with her friends to play with ranch toys Friday afternoon at a booth in the Civic Center.

“It’s a miracle,” Kassie said. “She’s a miracle.”

Rodeo schedule

At Amarillo Civic Center Complex


8 a.m. - 11 a.m. Ranch Horse Show: Cowboy – coliseum

9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Sanctioned rodeo meeting – Grand Plaza

9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Cowboy Trade & Trappings Show – South Exhibit Hall; Ranch Equipment Expo – North Exhibit Hall; Heritage Trade Show – Heritage Room

10 a.m. - noon. Crisis & Scholarship Brunch & Auction – Glass Room/East Concourse

1:30 p.m. WCRR Team Captains Meeting – Grand Plaza

2:30 - 4:00 p.m. WRCA Sr. Youth Cow Horse Championship – coliseum

7 p.m. Third performance – coliseum


10 a.m. - noon Cowboy Church & Christian Cowboy Gathering – Auditorium

11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Cowboy Trade & Trappings Show – South Exhibit Hall;Ranch Equipment Expo – North Exhibit Hall; Heritage Trade Show – Heritage Room

11 a.m. WCRR Team Captains Meeting – Grand Plaza

2 p.m. Fourth performance – coliseum

6 p.m. WCRR Awards & Contestants Party – Grand Plaza


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