Mary Shaw hopes to resume her reign soon as 1998 Miss Rodeo America, after a horse riding accident during the Stampede Days Rodeo on May 1 in Bakersfield, Calif.

"There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We all need to have patience and try to endure each situation that is given to us," Shaw said in a telephone interview Thursday from her North Ogden home, where she is recovering from injuries to her right leg and ankle.Shaw, 21, a Weber State University junior who won the national title last December in Las Vegas, was injured as she was helping clear the rodeo arena during a calf roping event.

She quoted an Ogden area friend who witnessed the accident as saying that a rodeo clown "may have spooked my horse."

She said the horse she was riding started to buck. Despite her efforts to calm the animal she was thrown over its head. She underwent surgery May 2 at a Bakersfield hospital, where she spent five days after suffering several fractures to her lower right leg and ankle.

"I have eight screws and a metal plate in my ankle," Shaw said. "I'm doing much better now and trying to recover at home. Before too long, I will start my reign back with the summer rodeos. I don't have to elevate my leg as much now and am able to use crutches."

Shaw said she won't be able to ride for a while. "My first goal is to be able to walk."

In garnering the national title, Shaw won a $10,000 college scholarship that she will use at WSU, a saddle, a fur coat and a cowboy wardrobe. She was majoring in technical sales at the university, where she plans to return next winter. She may later pursue a master's degree in business administration.