BROOKSVILLE, FL — A Hernando County teacher sadly passed away on Sunday following an accident suffered one week ago during a rodeo event in Mississippi, the district announced.
Lara Dewees — who is the mother of a 2-year-old boy, Layton — joined the Hernando School District 13 months ago as a teacher of middle and high school Social Studies with Hernando e-School.
Lara was a passionate and talented barrel racer and was named “Miss Rodeo” in 2012, the district says. She was competing in a rodeo event in Forest Hills, Mississippi on Saturday, February 20 when the fatal accident took place.
According to a Go Fund Me page set up for her, Lara’s horse “Ginny” fell during the event, causing the reins to become unreachable and her to lose control of the horse. Lara fell face-first onto asphalt when the horse began to run out of the arena at an uncontrollable speed. Lara suffered a head injury and several broken bones and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
She was a cancer survivor, and recently became engaged to her fiance, Corey.
Also known for her beautiful singing voice, Lara often performed in her community of Lacoochee, Florida.
“I am extremely saddened by the loss of our teacher, Lara Dewees. Staff and students loved Lara and we looked forward to seeing her every day. She was always upbeat and cheerful and brightened her students’ lives. Lara touched many and will be remembered as a teacher with a passion for history and for teaching,” Principal Debra Harris said.
Funeral arrangements are unknown at this time.
Lara’s horse “Ginny” was taken to a nearby vet after the accident and is doing well.