story by Lindsay Humphrey “I like that the people in the KPRA are good, hard-working folks who generally compete as a hobby,” said Scott Vander […]
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Meet the Members: Delores Toole and Kylie Parks
By Siri Stevens
Kylie Parks started competing when she was little. The formula for where she competes is simple. “She can’t compete if I can’t compete,” said her grandmother, Delores Toole, a three time WNFR qualifier (2001, 2002, and 2004). “I’m not too old to quit, so she goes where I go,” said the 58 year old who is still going strong. Delores got her start in high school with National Little Britches and High School rodeo. She started with the KPRA years ago, but when Paa (Rocket) came along, she knew she had a winner, and made a run for the WNFR. “His breeding goes back to Easy Jet and Rocket Wrangler and even though he’s getting older, he still is all business. When the crowd cheers, he runs harder.”
Delores found Paa just down the road from her house. “He was a four year old and had been run on bush track. I asked if I could ride him, I took him across a plowed field and fell in love with him. He’s part of the family. I trained him and he went right on. He’s always loved his job and never not tried to do it.” Now that he’s aging, he is getting Nutrena Senior Feed and Wind Aide to help with coughing. At 23, Paa is still running barrels … with Kylie on his back.
“I’ve been riding him for three years,” said the 13-year-old from Springfield, Colo. Kylie spends her summers with Delores in Manter, Kan. “Once school starts, we meet on the weekends to rodeo.” She goes to school four days a week, so it works. Kylie started riding when she was in diapers. “I trotted her around with us a lot,” said Delores, who made three trips to Vegas as well as a trip to Odgen, Utah, as an Olympic athlete. “We were guests at the Winter Olympics in Ogden, Utah.”
My husband (Ronald) farms and I’ve always trained horses and help farm. She drove a school bus for 17 years, and has done a little bit of everything, but the horses have always been her way of keeping her sanity. The couple has one daughter, Britt, and four grandchildren.
Delores grew up just 8 miles from where she lives now. She started running barrels when she was little, going to play days. “My dad belonged to the saddle club and was the president – they roped steers at night and after they were done, we could run barrels. We would go to round robins – we had three or four towns around that had saddle clubs and we would compete with them. Now you either belong to National Little Britches or high school rodeo.”
Delores is currently on break from riding. “I was in a hurry on a colt and he wanted to play, so it’s my own fault,” she said of her recent spill on October 16. “I got my shoulder broke and had to have some hardware put in and I’m not sure how long it will take to heal.” She plans to be off until January, which will work for Kylie as she is now in basketball.
Kylie likes going to the rodeos, but she is also involved in every sport in her school, including cheerleading, volleyball, basketball, track, and softball in the summer when she’s not with her grandmother. She helps her grandparents on the farm, moving vehicles from field to field and riding horses. “Whatever I’ve got to ride, she rides,” said Delores.
Kylie is in 8th grade at Springfield High School. Her schedule includes basketball and cheerleading right now. “I do basketball practice during school and cheerleading practice and knowledge bowl after school,” she said. She studies for the Knowledge Bowl every other Wednesday by going through questions with the group. “The hardest thing I’ve had to learn is Greek Mythology – I don’t understand that very well.” She will still head to the farm on the weekends there are no games, but school takes most of her time for now.
Kylie enjoys her time with her grandmother. “We bond and talk about school , sports and friends,” she said of the windshield. “We sometimes make bets to see who is going to win, so that makes competing against each other fun.”
Kylie lives with her parents, Eddie and Samantha Parks, and three siblings, Kurt, 10; Hali, 13, and Ali, 16. Her mom is going to bring another brother and sister into the family in April. The family lives 5 miles north of Springfield on a farm. When she has any spare time, Kylie likes to play with her siblings on the farm. In addition to the three siblings that still live on the farm, Kylie has two additional sisters, Haley, 17, and Kenzie, 6.
Kylie plans to rodeo and be a dental hygienist. “I was going to be a vet, but now I want to be a dental hygienist because I can make more money and rodeo on the weekends.