This will be the final Old Fort Days Rodeo appearance for a Pocola teen who has overcome medical issues to earn a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.
Jacqueline Oliver says she has dealt with diabetes and other issues to fulfill some of her life’s dreams — participating in rodeos and going to college.
She credits those around her like her grandmother for her success.
“If I hadn’t moved in with her, I probably wouldn’t be alive today,” Oliver said “I wouldn’t have been taken to the hospital when I was diagnosed with diabetes and I would have died.”
Her grandmother, Jenny, is excited for her.
“She has a world of activity ahead of her and opportunities out the ‘wazoo,” she said. “I’m sad to see her go…she’s been mine for 18 years.”
With all of the success Oliver has had here at the Old Fort Days Rodeo she says she wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the support of her coaches.
“Just the person that she’s become,” said Patti Stroud, head Dandies coach. “She’s become a lot more respectful and hardworking and she’s just a great girl.”
Oliver received a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar scholarship taking her on a full ride to OU in Norman where she plans to study pre-med this fall.
“They’re paying for everything, all the way through the doctorate level and the estimated total right now is $390,000,” Oliver said.
Oliver plans to later attend Vanderbilt and work towards a cure for diabetes.
Oliver will be at Kay Rodgers Park in Fort Smith all week competing until the rodeo wraps up on Saturday.