Clay Smith grew up in Broken Bow, Okla. “That’s where I’ve always been,” said the 24-year-old who will make his first trip to the WNFR, […]
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Abigale Barks is proud to be a rodeo cowgirl, but she’s just as proud of being a Lady Panther for Starks (La.) High School. The fourteen year old cowgirl who lives in Starks, a small town close to Lake Charles where “everybody here is family,” competes in the Louisiana Junior High Rodeo Association in the barrel racing and pole bending, with poles being her favorite event.
And in school, as an eighth grade student, she competes in junior high basketball, high school softball and track. Because of her school’s small size, she is allowed to compete with the high schoolers in two of her sports. Abigale would love to play volleyball, too, but again, because the school is small, there is no program. In track, she does the pole vault, long jump, mile relay, and 400m dash.
The best part of school, she says, is her friends. The worst part is all the work, including science, which is not her favorite. “It’s not my thing,” she says. “I don’t get into that type of thing.” However, she loves math class and has always been a math whiz.
Abigale is involved in more than sports at school. She’s a member of Junior Beta, 4-H, the Fellowship of Christian Students, LYFE, and the youth group at the First Baptist Church of Starks. She’s been on the honor roll pretty consistently, too.
When Abigale’s not on the court, on the track, or in the arena, she likes to mud ride, chill while she rides her horse, hunt, fish, and hang out with friends. She loves to catch bass or catfish, but thank heavens for Paw-paw, R.T. Barnes, who cleans her catch, because she does not clean her own fish. “It grosses me out.”
She and her friends also like to go to the movie theater, but because Starks is so small, they drive thirty miles to Orange, Texas, to the Orange Cinema. Her favorite movie is Ride Along, her favorite movie star is Kevin Costner, and her favorite comedian is Kevin Hart.
When Abigale is out of high school, she plans on going to college, becoming a veterinarian, and continuing rodeo. After her junior high years are over, she won’t high school rodeo, so she can concentrate on her other sports. She competed at state junior high finals her sixth and seventh grade years in both events.
Abigale has a younger brother, Cutter, who is ten and “a pest,” she says. He’s always bugging her, but she claims she does nothing to bother him! She looks up to her her parents, Patrick and Georgann Barks, because “they’re both hard working and I admire the way they encourage me and support me in my activities.”