All Blogs, In The Arena

WPRA Barrel Racer Kathy Grimes Heading to her First National Finals Rodeo


WPRA Barrel Racer Kathy Grimes will be running down the alley at the Thomas and Mack for the FIRST time ever this December. Kathy had 80K won by the end of March of 2017. She had a true Cinderella year finishing 6th in the standings. Read below to find out more about her year and her fabulous homebred horses!


Please tell us about your outstanding year! Talk us through your highs and your lows. 

We had an amazing & lucky year! Starting with winning the average at our Columbia River circuit finals which this year the money counted for year end standings.  We won 2nd at Fort Worth, San Antonio, & Houston.  We had won 80K by the end of March, we were sitting 2nd in the world and the idea that we had likely qualified for our 1st WNFR seemed surreal!  The year before we had won 32K and were 36th in the world and that was the best we had ever done by far.  I went home after the RNCFR for 2 months to breed about 85 mares. I went back out mid June for summer rodeos- some people were speculating it was going to take 100K to qualify this year so I hoped I could earn at least another 20K.  I had qualified for Calgary for the 1st time which was a thrill but also provided us with the only  “low” of the season.  In our 2nd perf, Ruby stumbled at the 1st barrel throwing me forward and then she started her turn and I became a lawn dart!  Falling off in front of thousands of people at Calgary was definitely not what we had in mind but neither of us was hurt and the next day we came back to place 3rd!  Barrel racing is definitely humbling! We ended up 6th in the world with 111K won and super excited to be competing in Vegas this December!  We also qualified for our 8th Columbia River Circuit Finals.

Please tell us about the horses you will be taking with you to Vegas and what makes them so special?!

The 2 horses I competed on this year are the product of my embryo transfer and breeding program.

They are both out of the same dam- Do It For Beau who I raised and trained also- she competed successfully at Futurities, Derbies and prorodeos before retiring to the broodmare pen.  She filled my WPRA permit in 2006.

KG Justiceweexpected- Issy- was my 1st attempt at embryo transfer and has done so much for me. She is a 10 yr old mare by Judge Cash, out of Do It For Beau and I rode her at the majority of the indoor pens.  She ran at 22 rodeos this year placing in 15 of them for $60,097.  Her LTE are $236,260.00

KG Blazin Nine Oh- Ruby- She is a 7 yr old mare by Blazin Jetolena out of Do It For Beau that has been amazing in big outdoor pens and Houston.  She ran at 23 rodeos this year, placing at 14 for $51,711.  Her LTE are $111,856.

Both mares competed successfully at Futurities & Derbies prior to running at pro rodeos.  Both are so special to me since I saw them at 8 days old and have watched them grow up -from hardly being able to lope a circle as 2 yr olds to competing at such a high level is amazing!

You will be making 10 runs in 10 days. How will you prepare your horse before the run each night and what will you do to take care of him/her after the run?

10 runs in a row in the same pen seems physically and mentally exhausting-so I  will do whatever needs to be done to keep them happy!  I am keeping them at a friends so they can be  better rested.

What are you most excited about  going in to your first NFR and what are you most nervous about?

I am excited about getting to compete at this level that I have been striving for for over 20 years!  I am most nervous about the alleyway and having good timing for the 1st barrel!

What advice would you give to someone that is wanting to make their dream of making the NFR come true?

Never give up! Have plan A, B, & C and just keep working at it- improve whatever needs to be worked on to further you towards your goal.  Ask people who have been there so you can learn from their experiences.

Thank you Kathy for talking to On The Rodeo Road and we wish you the best of luck at your first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo!

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*All photos provided by Kathy Grimes.