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Stroke doesn’t hold back Granville’s Fredrickson

Teen to compete in Team Roping at National Rodeo Finals

July 9, 2010
Matt Mullally

The opportunity to compete at the National High School Rodeo Finals was the farthest thing on the mind of 15-year-old Jamie Fredrickson a little over two years ago.

The Granville teen had a bigger challenge facing him.

Complications from a virus that settled in his heart formed a blood clot that eventually reached Jamie's brain and a stroke caused the left side of his body to be paralyzed.

"It was a pretty scary thing,' Fredrickson recalls. "It all happened so fast."

However, Jamie overcame his adversity and earlier this summer won a N.D. Team Roping title and will compete later this month at nationals in Gillette, Wyo. with teammate Tyrel Fitzgerald, also of Granville.

"To think where he was and where he is now is amazing,' said Cindy Fredrickson, Jamie's mother. "He was very determined to get back to riding."

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Thorson also competing

Towner's Tyler Thorson is also heading to Gillette, Wyo. to compete at the National High School Rodeo Finals, July 18-24.

This will be Thorson's second trip to nationals taking part in the bullriding competition.

Tyler placed in the top four at the recent state rodeo finals to qualify. He will soon enter his senior year at TGU-Towner.

The ordeal started innocently enough one April day with Jamie feeling a bit under the weather, and he decided to stay home from school to rest.

"I didn't know if I was coming down with a cold, or something,' he said.

However, his health would continue to deteriorate and he remained tired and soon couldn't move his left side. He was eventually taken to a Minot hospital for an MRI and shortly there after was airlifted to a Minneapolis hospital where he would be for about three weeks.

There, Jamie spent time in intensive care before he began a slow road to recovery.

"Those first few days in physical therapy all he could do was sit on the side of the bed,' Cindy said.

Determined to make a full recovery and reach his goal of one day competing in the high school rodeo circuit, Jamie worked hard during his physical and occupational therapy sessions in Bismarck and soon was ready to get back on a horse.

And oddly enough, riding a horse was good medicine.

"Physicians said that riding a horse was one of the best things he could do to test your balance and build strength,' Cindy said.

The time spent building his strength and regaining full use of his muscles actually allowed Jamie to concentrate on the fundamentals of roping and he credits that to making him a better roper.

In the fall of 2009, Jamie was ready to compete and the work and training paid off in June with a first place showing with Fitzgerald at the state rodeo finals in Bowman, and qualifying for nationals.

"We were fourth going into state and to win it was surprising,' he said.

Jamie has three more years of high school rodeo competition ahead of him as he will be just a sophomore next school year. However, this will be his one and only opportunity to compete at nationals with Tyrel, who graduated this spring.

Team roping comes down to good communication and skill, something the two possess.

"We're looking forward to it, and hopefully we can have a good showing,' Jamie said.



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