If you'd like to share a favorite memory of Chalee, or write a post dedicated in her memory, please click the SUBMIT AN ENTRY button below, and we'll make sure to get it posted to our Dedications page!
Chalee Lucille Gilliland, a very sweet and happy girl was born on Feb 16, 2001 with Cystic Fibrosis. She had to fight the first 2 years of her life. She was in and out of Riley Hospital – which meant being hooked up to many tubes and undergoing several surgeries. But she never gave up..
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that effects 30,000 children in the United States. CF causes a thickening of the mucus membranes which usually effects the lungs and intestines. When Chalee was born the average life span was 35 years.
When Chalee was 7, we started competing in the Indiana Junior Rodeo Association. She competed in Barrels, pole bending, goat tying, and mutton busting…and she loved every event and had the drive to win.
In 2009, when Chalee was 8, she was named the IJRA All Around Cowgirl. Chalee’s favorite part of IJRA was being able to carry the American Flag in the Grand Entry…or Grand Opening as she called it.
After that we got into NBHA and the IBRA. Chalee qualified all 4 years for the NBHA youth world. And in 2012 she was the 1D points champion in both the youth and open in our district. Chalee cheered on every competitor and made a friend wherever she went.
If she wasn’t on the back of a horse going around barrels, she was doing them on foot or her scooter.
Chalee lived life to the fullest and NEVER gave up. Our Granny says that once her feet hit the ground, they never stopped. And like Papaw says, she lived life like she played poker….ALL IN!
Well, Chalee left us with a lot of great memories…but some of my favorites are
Playing rodeo in Granny and Papaw’s front yard while Papaw was the announcer and he would sing the National Anthem while we ran around on foot with flags.
Also, Chalee always thought of the most random, funny and greatest gifts. I never really knew what I was going to open up!
We only got 11 short years with her, but our memories will last a life time until I ride again with her in Heaven. Chalee you will forever be my hero!!
Love you Snowflake.
A flash of pink, that's all I saw
as she went running by
that was her favorite color, you know
almost blinding to the eye
Into the arena she flies
to run a barrel race
that's what she loved to do the most
it put a smile on her face
She turns three hard and heads for home
without an ounce of fear
the time, it is a good one
we smile from ear to ear
But her saddle now is empty
her horses, they’re turned out
even through the harshest pain
I know without a doubt
Someday we'll meet again in heaven
oh what a look will be on our face
when once again we'll get to see
Chalee barrel race
-Written with love by Bob McKnight