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Native Oklahoman Susie McEntire Eaton delivers heart-to-heart message in Guthrie

Susie McEntire Eaton is scheduled to appear at “Cowboy Church” on March 4 before the final round of the Timed Event Championship of the World in Guthrie.
by Bryan Painter Published: February 25, 2012

— When certain members of the congregation shuffled their feet, you could hear the jingle of spurs.

The pews were made of metal, not wood. And the pulpit was not a pulpit, but rather a flatbed trailer against a concrete wall inside the Lazy E Arena.

None of that mattered, because the message Susie McEntire Eaton shared during Cowboy Church before the fifth round of the 2011 Timed Event Championship of the World was on a direct path from her heart to the hearts of those in front of her.

It was a message of wanting more time with Clark McEntire, who is not only a three-time world champion steer roper but more importantly her daddy.

He'd already suffered one stroke, and his prognosis was not all that good.

But she couldn't let him ride out of life's arena — as her close friend, the late Clem McSpadden, often said — without getting some answers.

On March 4, Susie McEntire Eaton, the sister of Reba McEntire, again will conduct “Cowboy Church” services before the final round of the Timed Event Championship.

This year, it will be taped and shown at a later date on RFD-TV.

But the present is a good time to reflect on the past, specifically what she was going through a year ago.

That Sunday morning in Guthrie, her selection of songs included “If Today Was Your Last Day.”

A time to speak

How important was her faith at that point in her life?

“My faith was crucial,” she said. “Daddy wasn't a big churchgoer; we were so busy each day of the week. But I knew he would go now and then, and I knew his ethics of life were good. I saw him treat people fairly, but I wanted to know for sure that he had made peace with God.

“And I wanted more time with him, to tell him stuff. Even though I knew down deep that Daddy loved all of us, we were very hesitant to get close to him. He was busy, intense. He felt like the best thing to do was be busy and stay busy, and if you weren't busy, look busy.”

Susie grew up not talking a lot to her daddy, not sharing her heart, her hurts, her triumphs.

Clark suffered a few strokes in 2011, but he's made significant progress. He's living at home with wife, Jackie, and he's walking a lot without assistance.

“I asked God for more time with him,” Susie said, “and He granted that.

“I do know that he's made it square with God. That's good to know.”

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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