SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - 11-year-old Maddie Owens barrels through any challenge in front of her.
Like the literal barrels she guides her horse, Oscar, through at the Cal Poly Rodeo grounds.
Or her cancer diagnosis over a year ago.
“She’s the strongest person I know," said her mom Christa Owens. "We got this diagnosis and we said ok, we just gotta push through we don’t have any other options.”
“I think the only person that didn’t understand childhood cancer was Maddy,” said her father, Stephen.
Even being diagnosed with Ewing Osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer, she only cared for one thing: riding.
She walked just hours after a surgery where they took out a bone in her leg.
So if you think the barrel racing is an obstacle for her, think again.
“She really didn’t need that much coaching or teaching she pretty much had it down already,” said Cal Poly Rodeo asst. coach Sierra Spratt.
Maddie found herself in the arena Saturday morning thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, who asked Maddie to pick one thing she would want to do.
It was an easy answer.
“I was a lot excited," said Maddie. "It was really fun.”
“This is something that I think I’m going to remember for the rest of my life and it’s something that I can’t believe I got to be a part of in general and be part of her amazing story in a small way," said Spratt.
Maddie ended last year participating in the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and is now prepping for the Cal Poly Rodeo in April.