Aguilera barrel racing pic.jpg

Athens senior Cari Aguilera is seen during last year's show running around barrels. Aguilera will be competing at the Henderson County Livestock Show next week as a member of the East Texas Young Riders.

Winning another buckle and the Sonny Pickens award.

Those are two goals that Athens senior Cari Aguilera is striving for as she gets ready for her final Henderson County Livestock next week at the Henderson County Fairpark Complex.

Aguilera has been showing at the livestock show for half of her life and said she will be having a busy week.

“I am going to be showing my mare and a gelding and a younger mare — that is 1-to-5 years old,” Aguilera said. “I will also be doing all of the speed events and roping events.”

She has proven her success in the arena just like she has on the basketball court or volleyball court at Athens High School.

She is the three time defending champion of the Sonny Pickens award — which is given to the overall cowboy or cowgirl at the livestock show.

“I would like to win the Sonny Pickens award for a fourth year in a row,” Aguilera said. “That award is based on points and goes to the overall Cowboy or Cowgirl and you have to place pretty high in all of your events in the roping and the English and Western events wins it.”

She said during her time at the livestock show, she has won two buckles in the team roping event and the barrel racing event.

She said making the transition from an athletic event to a livestock show event is different when it comes to the preparation.

“For an athletic event, you only have to worry about yourself,” Aguilera said. “For a livestock show event, you have to worry about the animal by getting them and then riding them. You have to make sure that they will behave on the day that you show.”

After she does all of that work, she has to find a way to deal with her school studies — which she is a member of the Pinnacle program at Athens High School — and prepare for the show.

“You also have to practice and you have to wash them and clean them and make sure that they do not look ugly on the day that you show them,” Aguilera said.

With this being her final show, Aguilera said she is headed in a different path once the semester ends at Athens.

Aguilera will be making her way to the University of Texas at Tyler  and will be working on a degree in Health and Kinesiology.

“I look forward to this every year because I get to get out of school and hang out with friends from other schools,” Aguilera said. “I get to have a lot of fun and since this is the last year it kind of bums me out.”

The winner of the Sonny Pickens award will be announced at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 11.

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