Steer for the Cause
        by David Novelo
        Excerpt from The Show Times November/December 2013

steer for the cause logo
Adrianna Novelo after leg removal surgury but before prosthetic leg fitting

Adrianna Novelo has been involved with agriculture for a majority of her life and is by far her love. She is heavily involved with 4H and FFA all the while keeping a 3.8 GPA. She has shown various animals over the years including rabbits, poultry, cutting horses and Angus Cattle but she is most notably known for her love affair with her Angus cattle that she shown throughout the west coast. In March of this year she was involved in a major car accident that by all accounts should have taken her life. She was the passenger in the front right seat of the vehicle traveling to her school to meet up with some friends. En-route the driver lost control of the vehicle and slammed into an oak tree that severed the car in half from the dash board forward. This impact caused the car to spin an unknown amount of times with such force that Adrianna was ejected from the vehicle and thrown 75+ feet where the rear of the vehicle came to rest. She was wearing her seatbelt that subsequently was severed or malfunctioned at the first impact. The rear of the car impacted another mature oak tree with enough force to topple it. The first responders called the scene devastating and actually called it a multiple fatality accident upon seeing the carnage. The debris field was over 200 feet long. Luckily all three passengers survived but all had critical injuries where they had to be air lifted via helicopter to regional class 1 trauma centers. Beyond losing her leg, which was the most traumatic injury, she also suffered a broken lower back, severed hamstring, double impact moderate/severe traumatic brain injury, and a herniated disk in her neck resulting in some minor disruptions in her spinal column. The pain she lives with every day is the type of pain that would cripple most of us, yet somehow through the pain she musters through her days with little to no complaints. From there she spent a month in ICU and another month in the hospital. She basically finished her junior year of high school in the hospital. The doctors said that her injuries were so severe that she wouldn’t be able to walk for years to come. Her goal the entire time she was in the hospital was to just be able to go home and see her animals. She was released to go home in early June, Just two weeks before out county fair. Against doctor’s orders, she spent as much time as she could with her animals mostly from a mobile bed and or a special wheel chair.Two days before the fair she was fitted with a temporary prosthetic leg so she could begin rehab and learn how to walk again.

What the doctors didn’t know was what her plans were. We ended up taking here to the fair just so she could be with her friends and see them showing her animals for her.We didn’t expect what transpired next. As the showmanship event was about to begin, she stood up and took the halter from her friend and proceeded to walk in the ring with her Angus heifer. She ended up walking out of the ring with a new buckle, being named champion showman. The icing on the cake was that because she was wearing loose fitting jeans over the leg and the judge of the event was not from the area, he had no idea of who she was let alone of her injuries. She had earned it on her own merit and the crowd gave her a standing ovation for her determination. From there the gloves were off. Over the course of the next few days she would show every one of her animals and took home awards for Champion Showman, Champion Female, Champion Cow/Calf, and Supreme Female.She then decided that if she could do this she would do the California State Fair and she did winning awards for Champion Angus Cow overall. Now she has her sights set on the Junior Grand national show in San Francisco and the National Western Stock Show in Denver. All the while she was showing she never lost sight of who she was and who had helped her achieve these great feats. You see none of these feats would have been possible without the help of the Shriners’ Hospital for Children. They had accepted her in mid-may and were responsible for a portion of her rehab and making her mobile. She spent 4-5 days a week 8- 10 hours a day there working with the doctors as outpatient instead of an inpatient as her Kaiser Doctors wanted. This allowed her to be home with her animals, which is what we believe helped her come back as quickly as she did. Shriners worked with her to get her back to what she loved most and she didn’t forget it. Subsequently, she decided to give back the only way she knew. Through ag she decided to raise a steer for them and auction it off in June with all the proceeds going to the hospital. As the plan progressed, it had evolved and now has a name, Steer for the Cause. Adrianna at Fair 2013 with prized heifer
Adrianna in the ring with prised heifer at 2013 county fair
The goal is to raise various steers over the next few years with all the proceeds from the sale going towards different charities, such as Shriners’ Children’s Hospital and other charities that support children, leadership and the community. As part of this effort she’s reached out to our local Ag community in ways we never thought possible. The Verozza Ranch of Shingle Springs generously donated this year’s steer and Associated Feed and Show Rite feed companies have donated all of the feed for the entire year. The list of companies stepping forward and supporting her has just been overwhelming.
From Adrianna’s past FFA Advisor
By Lindsey Kovach, Assistant Principal and Past FFA Advisor
steer for the cause logo

I have had the pleasure of working with Adrianna as a student, a livestock exhibitor, and an Agriculture Leadership student for the past four years. Adrianna is the bravest, most determined, and inspiring young person I have ever met. When faced with adversity that many individuals would be unable to bear, Adrianna took the challenge head on and come out the other side stronger and more resilient than ever. Adrianna has been breeding and showing cattle across the nation for many years. She has always invested the time and effort needed to take the next step with her project and learn and achieve more each year. She has developed and impressive herd which had earned noteworthy awards at the California State Fair. Such and honor stands alone as a great accomplishment, but what sets Adrianna apart from her peers is the prognosis she received a few months prior that she would not be physically able to walk in an arena for years to come. In the winter of last year Adrianna was in a life altering automobile accident that nearly took her life and resulted in the amputation of her leg. Just hours after the procedure when I visited her in the hospital, although she could hardly speak, she was more concerned about who was caring for her “cows” than her physical condition. Even in those early hours when doctors had told her family that showing cattle would be nearly impossible, Adrianna would only talk about how she would invent a show stick that doubled as a crutch and how nothing was going to stop her from showing at the fair. Through hard work on the part of Adrianna, her family, her doctors, and the fair staff, Adrianna was able to show her cattle at fair just one week after getting her first prosthetic leg. This determined young girl made certain she would reach this goal by practicing with each of her six animals at home prior to the show while on crutches even against doctor’s orders. She exhibited her stock like a true champion and came away with many breeding champion titles. While at fair she had to be told to take a break and to stop fitting her animals and cleaning her stall to reduce the swelling in her leg. Showing cattle is her passion and Adrianna proved through her actions this past year that she will let nothing stand in her way of achieving that goal. In and out of the show ring Adrianna is always very positive and is highly admired by her peers. She has volunteered at local animal shelters and had taken coursed in the Agriculture department to strengthen her knowledge of Animal Science. Adrianna is an exceptional young woman who is worth of much admiration. She has made a lasting impact on my life and I am sure she will continue to do the same for others.

Adrianna on horse back after fitting of prosthetic leg