Kansas Professional Rodeo Association (KPRA) bull rider, Cole Bass, is looking forward to his third year within the organization and has his sights set on […]
Written by: Lily Landreth< Back to Articles
Carol Clark has been competing in the CSRA for three years. She competed in her first rodeo when she was eight years old, and today, at 49, Carol continues to enjoy the sport. The barrel racer from Fairmount, Ill. is following closely in the footsteps of her mother, Nancy Clark, who taught Carol how to barrel race. Carol grew up going to rodeos with her parents. She and her mom would compete, and her dad, Ted Clark, would be their driver. “I learned the ropes with her and my dad. We’ve seen a lot of country,” said Carol. During her 41 years of rodeoing, Carol says that what has kept her dedicated, in addition to a core love for the sport, is the goal to always improve her competition. “It’s highly sophisticated now,” she explained. “It’s changed a lot.”
Growing up, Carol stuck close to home. Following high school, she college rodeoed and competed in the IPRA, having been a member of the association since she was eight. Today, Carol works for the United States Post Office as a mail carrier, which she has been doing for 16 years. She does her route on foot Monday through Friday. “This time of year the weather makes it a challenge,” said Carol. She bundles up warm, and puts on her cleats when its icy. What Carol especially appreciates about the CSRA is that most of the rodeos are only a few hours away, allowing her to rodeo around her work schedule. Carol’s mom travels with Carol to her rodeos. She is now 73, and only just retired from barrel racing a year ago.
Carol lives on her five acre farm with her two horses and five dogs. She has an indoor and an outdoor arena, and what ground is not devoted to horse pasture she uses for growing hay. Her two barrel horses are a pair of geldings. Jinks is her main barrel horse, and she has been running the cloverleaf pattern on him for nine years. Carol says of the 15-year-old gelding, “He’s very consistent, and he’s not the fastest horse in the world but he loves his job. He’s 16.1 (hands) and people make fun of him for being so big, but he can run a 12.8 pattern like he’s 14.2 hands.” Carol’s backup horse is 9-year-old named Dancer. She is working to get him seasoned, but admits that riding him is vastly different from riding Jinks.
When she is not rodeoing, Carol loves to travel. She has been to 47 of the 50 states, with one of her favorite destinations so far being in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Ariz. Carol and her mom, as well as several other friends, have gone to Las Vegas, Nev. for the Wrangler NFR over the past several years. In addition to the rodeo, Carol enjoys a little bit of gambling as well. One of her ideas of a relaxing day would be to, “Hang around the house and relax with the horses, and just enjoy the day.”
One of Carol’s greatest dreams is to compete at the International Finals Rodeo like her mother, who competed in the IFR in 1975. She also hopes to go on an Alaskan cruise and visit New York City to top off her travelling experiences. For this year, Carol wants to qualify again for the CSFR. “I’ve never won a bunch, but I’ve had consistent horses that will place me. I’m one of the low key ones,” she said with a laugh. Carol summed up her goals with, “I want to continue to make the Central States finals and someday make it to the IFR.”