“Side by side or miles apart, we are sisters connected by the heart.”
The saying goes, as we grow older we realize it is less important to have a ton of friends and more important to have real ones. That statement could not be more true as lifelong besties Whitney Holmen Barnett and Chelsea Mick Davis have discovered over their years as real ones.
We, the Accidental Country Girls, grew up just down the road in Wiley, Colorado where laughter, love, and our friendship began. Whitney grew up in town to school-teacher, administrator and coaching parents whose lighthearted yet serious demeanor with her older sister and brother kept them on their toes. Meanwhile just down the dirt road, Chelsea was raised by a farming/ranching family and was the eldest of her two siblings. We attended Wiley Consolidated Schools from Kindergarten to the day we walked across the stage as high school graduates. Along the way, we participated in everything together...literally EVERYTHING! Where there was the tall slim blonde, the short petite brunette was by her side at slumber parties, most recesses and even church on Sunday. As we participated in countless volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, the dreaded track season (but only for one year because our competitive dads made us), Denim & Lace Square Dance revues and convention trips, band (once again only one year because our moms have Artsy interests). And who could forget the dances?! Oh the prom prepping, shopping, decorating, and finally dancing. We both served as co-editors of our high school newspaper, acted in the school plays, and became lifeguards during the summer months between Chels driving the occasional swather. Whether it was a planned event or just bumming around Whit’s house, we were inseparable and made our own fun everywhere we went!
That tearful day in August 2001, Barbie & Mary Kay, as our high school volleyball coach called us for years, parted ways for college. Chelsea moved to Oklahoma to study at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, while Whit enrolled in LCC’s nursing program. We traveled back and forth on numerous occasions and corresponded through silly cards. Keep in mind cell phones were only for emergency use only and to be kept in the glove box, so texting did not occur. Sure some unforgettable college friends stepped in and out of the picture, but nobody was able to replace each other.
Before we knew it, college graduations occurred and Whitney moved north to Wyoming to pursue her nursing career as Chelsea remained in Oklahoma as a teacher. While in Wyoming, Whitney met and wed Kyle Barnett moving her to Eads where they ranch, run a construction business and are busy raising their three blonde babies. Even though hours parted us, we have remained tight as we assisted planning each other’s weddings, hosted baby showers for one another and were even in the hospital to welcome our children into the world.
The summer of 2016, what seemed impossible became reality for our friendship as Chelsea married local rancher, Kevin Davis, and moved her and her two boys to Kiowa County. Now Thelma & Louise have been reunited as our families make memories together and “Accidental Country Girls” will share ranching wife, working mommy life, and friendship with our readers. This is just the first of many articles that we will have published in our local Kiowa County Independent paper, or check out our blog at kiowacountyindependent.com.