LONGMONT, Colo. -- One year after Ashley Doolittle was lost forever, her memory is being honored with a rodeo at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in her name.
“Ashley loved the rodeo, she loved horses, she was a true horse woman and she wanted anything and everything to do with horses and rodeo,” said Brian Sprague, who’s the rodeo director for the Ashley Doolittle Memorial Horse Show and Rodeo. “With the rodeo, we’re able to reach people outside of our horse community and outside of our rodeo community, we’re able to reach people with a message that we wouldn’t normally be able to reach, so that’s why it’s such a great platform.”
Other rodeo queens who knew Ashley well still can’t believe she’s gone, but they say they can't think of a better way to honor her.
“When she decided to start the princess program, I was like ‘oh my gosh, I totally want to try out because to carry on her legacy and to really be a part of this program,” said Amber Nusser. “It’s really helped to kind of move on and to help kind of enjoy her because I know she’s here with us right now and it’s been pretty hard but it’s gotten a little bit easier.”
Doolittle was killed by her ex-boyfriend in June of 2016 in a case of domestic violence.
Now, the Ashley Doolittle Foundation is raising money through the rodeo and other fundraisers to raise awareness of teen domestic abuse with hopes of saving someone’s life.
“There’s still some tears to be shed for Ashley and it’s helping with the healing process as well as kind of immortalizing her in the western lifestyle,” Sprague said.
And even though she’s gone, those who knew her can’t help but remember what she gave to them and her community.
“She’s been a leader as long as I’ve known her and I’ve always looked up to her and I hope to be half of the person that she was,” Nusser said.