By Rick White
Steve Friskup will humbly tell you he didn’t know what to do, frozen by uncertainty as a crowd gathered around a fellow calf roper who lay sprawled in the dirt, felled by an apparent heart attack.
Don West, who had just finished a run in an amateur roping event in Stephenville, Texas, showed no signs of life as several men feverishly performed CPR on the Oklahoma cowboy and horse trainer, Friskup said. A cowboy preacher from Muleshoe, Friskup remembers pacing near West’s body that September afternoon and praying.
He said he was hesitant to pray over the limp body for fear of looking silly.
And then came a nudge, as one of the dozens of cowboys gathered around the warmup roping pen put his hand in the middle of Friskup’s back and guided him to the fallen roper.
“I put my hands on his ankles and started praying,” Friskup said. “Then I felt a hand on my right shoulder, and then my left shoulder, and people began to pray. And in the middle of praying, (West) starting coughing and came around.”
Friskup said later that day West called from the hospital to say thanks and let folks know he was OK.
Friskup is sure it was a miracle, as sure as he was when he accepted Jesus Christ into his life eight years ago.
“I know one thing. I know the Lord came to me. I had guys coming up to me who I know weren’t true believers, and they had tears in their eyes. … It was pretty overwhelming.”
Johnny Johnson of Amarillo said he’s always believed in miracles but never witnessed one until that day in the roping arena.
“It was one of those things that sent a chill up your spine,” said Johnson, who added West was doing fine when he saw him about a month ago.
“I heard one of the guys working on him say he didn’t have a pulse,” said Johnson, who has known West for about 30 years. “He turned just as gray as you can turn.
“Steve got the microphone and we got to a prayin’, and when I opened my eyes (West) had his color back and was breathing.”
Johnson said he has no doubt God worked a miracle through Friskup.
After West was taken by ambulance to the hospital, Friskup said he asked God why it was necessary for him to get down and pray over the body.
“He told me that if nobody gets down and prays over the body, how will they know it was me (the Lord),” Friskup said.