Lufkin High School senior Mackenzie Foley talks to Journalism 101 students about her two passions: rodeo and cheerleading.


By Cherrelle Richards/Lufkin High School Journalism 101

Many would think, “How could a toddler possibly get involved in rodeo? They can barely run!” A Lufkin High School senior has proved that it’s possible.

Born in Nacogdoches, Mackenzie Foley moved to Lufkin at a very young age. At age 2, she was already riding a horse. Her uncle gave her her first horse, Shorty. Since then, rodeo has been her passion.

“I do barrel racing, goat tying, pole bending and breakaway,” she said in a press conference with LHS Journalism 101 students. “Rodeo is very expensive, but very fun.”

Lufkin High School cheerleader Mackenzie Foley dances in the Panther Pride’s 2018 Spring Show, “Live A Great Story,” in April.

She didn’t stop there, though. She became a cheerleader, which made her more agile. Not only was it fun for her, it aided her mentally and physically.

“Cheer has helped me with rodeo,” Mackenzie said. “It helps me stay fit for it.”

Despite her enjoyment in these activities, it has been pretty exhausting. From school work to daily chores at home, time was unforgiving.

“Managing time was hard,” McKenzie said. “I had four to five horses to ride every day, school work, then feed the horses.”

Mackenzie never did it all alone, though. Her parents, Todd and Kelley Foley,  guided her along the way.

“My dad used to leadline,” she said. “My mom pays for everything and helps take care of the horses.”

Mackenzie’s younger sister, Lexie Foley, follows in her footsteps.

“She’s in cheer in eighth grade,” she said. “She also goat ties, barrel races and pole bends in the rodeo.”

Now 18, Mackenzie continues to rodeo and hopes to carry it with her in the future — as a career, if possible. However, it may be tough for her.

“After college, I may go into nursing, but I want to rodeo, too,” she said. “I hope to do both. Choosing will be a tricky decision.”

Despite the challenges ahead, Mackenzie is ready for anything the future has to throw at her.

“I’m really ready to graduate,” she said. “I’m ready to go somewhere else.”

After graduation, Mackenzie will compete in the state finals in Abilene in June. She needs to be in the top four in any of her events to make it to nationals in Wyoming.

“Texas is the toughest competition,” she said.

Foley had a simple piece of advice for others: “Push yourself to the best you can be.”

Lufkin High School senior Mackenzie Foley stands with her yearling filly, Wednesday, after competing in horse showmanship at the Angelina County Fair at the George H. Henderson Jr. Exposition Center in April.