Dona Kay Rule (left) & Nick Price (Right) are nearly identical in age and are legends for special reasons. Sources: Barrel Horse News & Getty Images.

“Experience Helps You Through A Lot of Surprises” — Four Athletes Prove Oklahoma Cowgirl’s Adage Couldn’t Be Truer

Two pro rodeo cowgirls, two PGA golfers & one’s Hall-of-Fame caddie: prove most recipes for success involve acceptance & being cognizant of helping others.

Penn Little
8 min readDec 7, 2020


ARLINGTON, TEXAS — On August 7th, 1991, pro golfer John Daly, now-54, of Arkansas, was likely as unknown as Dona Kay Rule, now-62, of Minco, Oklahoma, was until 2019.

On that date, Rule was likely sitting precisely in the same place she did for 28-years: greeting customers that walked into her small, historic Oklahoma business: The National Saddlery. Daly was sitting in Memphis (likely having a cigarette or sipping a beer) while anxiously clinging to a flicker of hope.

A week ago, Rule was sitting pretty at 3rd in the world standings (a ranking tabulated according to dollars won, just like the PGA tour) heading into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where she expected to be competing in barrel racing, for her second straight year.

In a 2007 Daily Oklahoman article, mostly about Rule’s role as an entrepreneur and a mentor. Rule noted she “still competes” from time-to-time. Journalist Ann Defrange, however, presciently highlighted Rule’s quote surrounding the advantage of maturity.

“Experience helps you through a lot of surprises,”

is exactly what Rule told The Oklahoman…thirteen years ago.

Of course, both Daly (in 1991) and Rule (in 2019) would become the ‘unlikely, loveable underdog.’

Rule (left) the underdog in 2019. Source:; and Daily (right) the underdog in 1991. Source: Golf Digest.

According to a report during last year’s WNFR, the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote that Rule “shifted her focus to rodeo competition this season and qualified for the NFR at age 61. The (Minco), Oklahoma, native was ranked №6 in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings with $148,392 before Sunday’s fourth go-round.”



Penn Little

Entrepreneur & Investigative Journalist | Story Tips: Email your name, phone, and 2 paragraph summary.