The beauty, Tracy Rodgers the reigning Ms. America International 2017; the beasts, a very large hunk of motorized metal on wheels they call a tour bus, a broken body from the neck down, 29 lifesaving and/or reconstructive surgeries and all odds of survival that followed a near fatal collision on I-15 near Moapa on June 23, 2011.
The tour bus made an illegal U-turn on the highway and pulled out right in front of Rodgers. The red Camaro she was driving was completely unrecognizable in the pictures Rodgers showed Mayor Al Litman and the MLN when she paid the Mayor’s office a visit on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
At the time of the accident Rodgers was the reigning Ms. Nevada United States and getting ready to compete in the Ms. America Pageant which was to be held in just one week. In one single moment this awful tragedy managed to completely smash her body, her car and her chances for the Ms. America title but it didn’t even put a dent in Rodger’s spirit, will to live, or her determination to return to the life she’d always lived.
For five long and painful years it took all this queen’s horses and all this queen’s men in the way of doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, nurses and family to help Rodger’s show the world that she was no Humpty Dumpty and could, in fact, be put together again. Rodgers isn’t a sissy and doesn’t think anyone can afford to be. “Life is hard. It’s not for sissies. What you do with challenges in life is up to you,” said Rodgers.
Rodger’s is determined not to live her life full of yesterdays which is reflected both in in her day-to-day existence and her mission statement:
“Your tomorrow starts today!” It’s time to let go of the past and look forward to a bright future. No matter what circumstances our past held, we can always become the best version of ourselves in spite of the past, and sometimes, because of the past. I’m so thankful that my mom always taught me that could do hard things. That was great advice because one thing is for sure, life isn’t always fair or easy, but it can still be wonderful and fulfilling. So here’s to living life to the fullest starting today.”
Rodgers said that she gratefully and miraculously has a full, active and fun-filled lifestyle today because her doctors told her family members that she would most likely never walk again after the accident but they never told Rodgers.
Rodgers has two active teenage sons, now in college, who, growing up always enjoyed many outdoor activities with mom. Mom, in return, enjoyed them as well. Rodgers told the MLN, “When I was recovering from the accident I would join the boys on family outings and have to sit back and watch; it was no fun watching. I wanted to do those things with my boys and that helped seal my determination to walk and be active again; to get my former life back.”
Rodgers, being a registered nurse herself, knew what challenges she would face and she knew the odds were against her many times. She didn’t care if the cards were stacked against her or not, she just knew that she always had an ace in the hole; her will.
Rodgers had the best possible support along the way. Rodgers and her family members, Eric and Erica Garrett, own and run Advanced Wound Care Consultants in Mesquite where Erica is also a R.N. and Eric is a Physical Therapist. They brought Rodgers home to heal.
Rodgers is not yet and never will be 100 percent. There were many issues involving the accident and residual effects of the surgeries she endured. Her body is covered in scars from both the accident and resulting surgeries but she doesn’t let that stop her from being in the game. Rodgers said, “Don’t let past circumstances define you.”
Five years ago Rodgers had a shattered body and a dream. She held onto the vision while the body healed and on Sept. 3 raked in the pot on stage as she was crowned Ms. Nevada International; all the while looking toward the future and refusing to be defined by her past.