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Remembering woman who died in horse-riding accident

DANVILLE -- Amy Hawker died from traumatic brain injury while barrel-racing, but her legacy lives on through her family and friends.
DANVILLE -- A woman died after a horse-riding accident this month, but her legacy lives on through her family and friends. Amy Hawker died from traumatic brain injury while barrel-racing. Hawker has been around horses since she was six weeks old. She just started barrel racing about a year and a half ago.

"It's just kind of a given," said Amy's aunt, Kris Hawker. "If you're a Hawker, you like horses."

Hawker did more that just like them. She rode and competed with them. Her family loved it.

"Somebody would videotape it on the phone and would send it to us so we'd all huddle around and look at her last run and see how she did," said Kris. "So even if we weren't there in person, we were definitely there with her all the time."

"In the last three or four months, she had really started doing awesome and was winning," said Cobie Ward, who rode with Amy.

She made an impact on people she rode with too.

"Every time I see someone who can always smile, it makes me want to be a better person," said Cobie.

And without her, they say everything will be different. Hawker has a daughter, 5-year old Suzanne. Now the whole family faces a tragedy they've seen once before.

"Amy's mom died when Amy was 15 and as Amy had been growing up, you could see so much of her mom coming out in her and I'm sure we'll see the same thing in Suzanne as she grows up," said Kris.

They're seeing some of it already, as Suzanne and her pony, Pokey, follow in mom's footsteps. And the Hawkers plan to continue that tradition while remembering the woman they'll miss so much.

Hawker came to Gordyville USA for the Turkey Run last Sunday. Her family says one of the gates that would usually be there for competition wasn't in place. Because of that, her horse got on the concrete and went down, taking her with it.

Medics took Hawker to the hospital, but she died two days later. The Champaign County Coroner says the cause was traumatic brain injury. Hawker was in the hospital for three days after the accident. Her family says friends and strangers from the barrel-racing community even came there to show support.

Her family says Hawker's mother died because she couldn't get an organ donation. So now they're rallying around the cause.

There's also going to be a barrel race in her honor this weekend. It will be held at the JDH Arena in Covington, IN. There will be a Cowboy Church service at 8 am. The main show will start at 10:15 am. The money raised will go toward a scholarship fund for Suzanne. To find out more about it, click here. To find out  more about Suzanne's memorial fund, click here.

To read more about the Artisan Arena, one of the places where Hawker rode, click here
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