Sisters Darby and Abbey Cone have polar interests, but their passions collided Wednesday at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
Darby Cone, 18, is a competitive barrel racer, and on Wednesday she rode in the rodeo’s grand entry. Abbey Cone, 16, is a budding country musician, and she sang the national anthem to start the 2 p.m. edition of the rodeo.
“The stock show is bringing my two worlds together,” the girls’ mother, Melissa Cone of Argyle, quipped just before her daughters took the stage.
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Wednesday was Cook Children’s Day and half of the ticket sales for the day’s rodeo performances will be donated to Cook Children’s Medical Center in support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
For the Cone sisters, it was a fitting day for them to perform.
Darby Cone was born prematurely and spent the first six months of her life in Cook Children’s neonatal ICU, undergoing 10 surgeries during that time, her mom said. She weighed only 1 pound, 13 ounces at birth.
And Abbey Cone is a volunteer at Cook Children’s Child Life Zone, where patients can play and record music in an actual studio in the hospital to get their minds off the reasons for their medical stays.
Their mom is also a volunteer at Cook Children’s, co-chairing the hospital’s “Pickin’ for preemies” acoustic jam benefit.
Today, both sisters are healthy and extremely active. But they are also strikingly different.
Darby Cone is a senior at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club and plans to study nursing at Tarleton State University in Stephenville. She hopes to someday work at a neonatal ICU.
Darby Cone is petite, but wears a rugged brown cowboy hat that covers much of her straight, light-brown hair. She is down-to-earth shy, and feels most at home spending time with one of her eight horses. She spends more time with her dad, Steve Cone, who runs businesses when he’s not ferrying his daughter to barrel riding competitions.
The Cone sisters are the youngest of four siblings. They have an older brother and sister.
On performing with her singing sister, Darby Cone said, “This is not everyday life. A horse is everyday life for me.”
Abbey Cone is being home-schooled while she explores her country music career. She splits time between Argyle and Nashville, usually accompanied by her mother.
Abbey Cone has curly, golden hair and is quick to flash a ready-for-Nashville smile. She shows no hint of butterflies before performing in front of a large audience, such as the one gathered Wednesday at Will Rogers Coliseum.
“For sure, it is cool,” Abbey Cone said of the limelight she shared with her sister Wednesday. “Our lives are so different. She’s going one way with my dad, and I’m going another way with my mom.”
Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796