MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — On Saturday, the Piatt County Trail Blazers hosted the seventh annual Jorden Austin Memorial Fun Show. This show started for Renee Austin to honor her daughter’s legacy after she died during her reign as the rodeo queen in 2012.
In 2013 her mother, Renee, said her life was cut short after a deadly car accident. Jorden was only 20 and had just earned her spot as the Rodeo Queen, her lifelong dream.
The family made a memorial box, traveled to each rodeo the first year, and had a riderless horse to represent their daughter during shows. After the first year, Renee petitioned the Piatt Co. Trailblazers to make a memorial show. Today is the seventh show.
“This is how I keep the memory alive and things to do. This feels like to her (Jorden’s) family that we are doing something in honor,” said her mother about doing the memorial show. She said she takes the memorial box to the memorial show each year.
When the kids were younger, Renee said they were heavily involved with 4H, and Renee was a leader. She said she took the girls to the junior state each year at the State Fair and was constantly in horse shows.
The memorial show has a little bit of fun for everyone. There are pee-wee classes for the young and youth, and adults fun classes, a mystery class, egg and spoon, speed classes with poles, a ribbon race, and a barrel race. There is also a silent auction.
“She loved horses and dogs; she showed both. Jorden always had a smile; even if she had a bad day, she could make other people happy.” said her mother. “She definitely had some sass to her, but she was a great girl and was just getting her life started as she was 20 when she died.”
“It takes me a year to do it, but it is a way to keep her memory alive, and it does help,” said Renee. She added her oldest daughter is only 16 months apart from Jorden and took her death hard. “She shut down after (her sister’s death), and the show is finally helping her,” Renee said; she does the trail course to honor her sister and designed the t-shirts for this year.
Renee Austin, Angie L Pruitt McCabe, and Karen Freese organize the show each year.