Meet the Member Abigail Lawton

by Rodeo News

story by Ruth Nicolaus

Abigail Lawton is a self-proclaimed perfectionist.
The Overton, Neb. cowgirl, a member of the Nebraska High School Rodeo, works hard to make sure her schoolwork, rodeo competition, and her extracurricular activities are all completed to the best of her ability.
She competes in the pole bending, barrel racing and goat tying, with poles as her strength, mainly because of the challenges it presents. “In poles there are so many times that a mistake can be made, and a lot of it is usually rider error, and it’s usually my fault and not my horse’s. That means I have to work on myself. I’d rather take the blame than my horse doing something wrong.”
Her pole horse is a thirteen-year-old palomino mare named Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell lives up to her name, Abby said. “She is full of personality. We call her a big dog at home. She is always in your back pocket. She’s like a big yellow dog and is a gentle giant.”
Her goat horse is a sixteen-year-old gray mare named Polly who also serves as her backup for the barrels and poles. The family has owned Polly since Abby’s junior high days.
Her barrel horse is on injured reserve right now. Jagger, a nine-year-old bay mare, had surgery for a torn ligament in her stifle. She may be out this spring, and if she is, Abby will ride Polly.
Because of surgery in December on a torn meniscus, Abby has been out of commission for a while. The injury occurred during rodeo competition. She was cleared to ride by mid-January and will be rodeoing by the spring season.
A senior at Overton Public Schools, Abby is very involved in clubs, serving as the president of the FCCLA chapter, president of student council, vice president of the FFA chapter, and an active member of the National Honor Society. “I enjoy holding leadership positions,” she said.
She’s racked up fifteen hours of college credit, including a college calculus class, which has been difficult. It’s taught online, and when she has questions, she takes the initiative to go early to school or stay late and ask a teacher for help.
Abby has a 4.0 grade point average and is ranked second in her class. She hopes to hang on to that ranking, so that she can be awarded the title of salutatorian.
In addition to school and rodeo, she works for her dad. They ranch, and she does a lot of the “minion” jobs, like checking water tanks twice a day in the winter, putting out salt and mineral, and checking for new calves. Her dad is a veterinarian so she works in his veterinary clinic too, walking dogs, vaccinating cattle, and helping with cow c-sections.
For fun, Abby loves to bake, with her specialties being pies and cookies. She can make a pie crust from scratch but sometimes resorts to boughten crusts, if she’s short on time. She likes making fruit pies, and as for cookies, snickerdoodles are her favorite. Her mom would rather not have sweets around, but she admits Abby’s baking is delicious. “My mom is like, we don’t need pie and cookies at the same time, and I say, ‘oh, yes we do.’”
This fall, Abby will attend the University of South Dakota at Vermillion to major in medical biology. At USD, she’d like to be involved in their Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program, where she will get nine months of her clinical training in rural communities. She hopes to become a pediatric neurosurgeon someday.
Abby has qualified for state finals three times, finishing as reserve state champ pole bender her sophomore year and in third place her junior year. She has competed at the National High School Finals Rodeo twice.
She has a sister, Kiley, who is thirteen and competes in junior high rodeo, and a brother, Cort, who is eleven.
She is the daughter of John and Lorna Lawton.

                © Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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