Ashley Renee Virden

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SAN ANGELO Ashley Renee Virden, 17, of Ballinger, died Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, Texas. Ashley was born April 19, 1997, in San Angelo, Texas to Nicole Boyd and Lynn Virden. Ashley was an incoming senior at Ballinger High School. Ashley was an avid horse rider, trainer and barrel racer. Ashley's sister, Amy and her mother, Nicole thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Ashley and watching her accomplish any goal she set. Ashley was an excellent student, earning straight A's throughout her school career. Ashley was a member of the FCCLA, where her article about her horse "Lucky," earned her both state and national honors. Ashley was a member of the FFA, where she participated on the horse judging team. She was an active member of the National Barrel Horse Association, Districts Eight and Nine, in which she qualified for the NBHA World Championships four times. In 2010 and 2011, Ashley qualified for the championships as a youth barrel racer, which was held in Jackson, Mississippi. In 2011, Ashley was injured during training for the NBHA Youth World Championships. Her doctor restricted her from any riding activities for six weeks. For most, this would have resulted in cancelling the trip to the championships. Ashley's passion, courage and hard-headed determination prevailed, and Ashley not only continued to train, she participated in the championships and narrowly missed qualifying for the world final round by thirteen one-thousandths of a second. The only year that Ashley participated in NBHA barrel racing and did not qualify for the world championship was in 2012. In late 2011, Ashley lost her best friend and prize horse, "Lucky." Devastated by the loss of Lucky and left without a horse that could perform at a similar level, Ashley was unable to obtain enough points to qualify for the championship. In 2013, the determined, hard-headed Ashley armed with her new mount "Sherbert" and old, reliable, "Sippy" qualified in the NBHA World Championship Open Barrel Racing in Perry, Georgia, which is open to riders of any age or experience level. Three days prior to leaving for the world championships, tragedy struck again. Robert Virden, Ashley's Pa-Pa, was involved in a serious traffic accident in which he was critically injured. Ashley was torn between the desire either to stay home and support her Pa-Pa in his recovery, or participating in the world championship barrel race that she had worked all year to attend. Ashley's burning passion, courage and determination to compete told her that she needed to attend the world championship. But Ashley would not consider going until she knew her Pa-Pa would be okay. Once Ashley received confirmation that Pa-Pa would completely recover from the accident, and his blessing was given, she was determined to go and do what she does best. That year, Ashley narrowly missed qualifying for the final round by eight one-thousandths of a second. In 2014, Ashley returned to the NBHA World Championship in Perry, Georgia. For this trip, Ashley participated in the Teen Division and qualified for the prestigious final round, riding Sippy. Ashley and old faithful accomplished the goal that had eluded them in previous years. Ashley finished sixth in the fourth division of the world championships. The 2014 World Championships ended just last Sunday. Ashley was a member of the Bethel Community Church in Bethel, Texas, located in southern Runnels County. Ashley was recognized by many for her honesty, sincerity, integrity and her strong Christian faith. She was preceded in death by her maternal great-grandparents, John and Dorothy Nichols; maternal grandfather, Bill Minton, Jr.; great-grandfather Bill Minton Sr.; and her great-grandparents Rube and Naomi Virden and Roscoe Woodring. Survivors include her mother, Nicole Boyd and husband Ray of San Angelo; her father, Lynn Virden of Ballinger; one sister, Amy Lynn Virden of Indianapolis, Indiana; her maternal grandparents, Sheila and Harold Combs of Oklahoma; her paternal grandparents, Robert and Bonnie Virden of Ballinger; her maternal great-grandmother, Fern Woodring of Kokomo, Indiana; special cousins Shayne and Terri Bomar of Odessa; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. Also surviving are special friends Hadley Hatler, Ethan Langston, Emma Chapman and Danielle Holmes. Ashley and Lucky have been reunited and are turning the golden barrels across Heaven. Visitation for family and friends will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, at Lange Funeral Home in Ballinger. Funeral services for will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4, at Ballinger Community Center Show Barn with Rev. Bryan Highsmith officiating. Burial will follow in Old Runnels Cemetery. A candlelight service will be held at 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4, at Ballinger Community Center Show Barn. In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorials be made to the NBHA, District 9, the Ashley Virden Memorial Scholarship Fund, or . Arrangements are with Lange Funeral Home in Ballinger. Guests may register online at ballingerfuneralhome.com. Ashley is in heaven taking selfies of her and Lucky.



Funeral Home
Lange Funeral Home
908 8Th St Ballinger, TX 76821
(325) 365-3531
Funeral Home Details
Published in GoSanAngelo from Aug. 3 to Aug. 4, 2014
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