by Johna Cravens
for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 7, 2017) – Kathy Grimes’ third trip to Fort Worth for the World’s Original Indoor Rodeo® was the proverbial charm.
Not only did she earn nearly $13,000 in prize money, she also got a $5,000 check as winner of the Jerry Ann Taylor Award. The award is given to the barrel racer deemed to be the best-dressed of the final performance of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.
“This is the third year I’ve competed here and I’ve never won a dime,” said the Medical Lake, Washington, barrel racer. “I’ve always made the progressive round, but this is the first time I’ve had any luck in Fort Worth.”
Grimes’ 2017 trip to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo started similarly to the past two years. She had a solid 16.84-second run in the first round, just finishing out of the money. It still easily put her among the 70 fastest times to advance to the second, progressive round.
When she and her 10-year-old mare Issy (registered name KG Justice Weexpected) returned to Will Rogers Coliseum, they put together a run that was more than four-tenths of a second faster than their first, moving into the second-round lead with a 16.41. Former world champion Fallon Taylor bumped Grimes to second place, Grimes still won $4,372.
“I had read about the Jerry Ann Taylor Award,” Grimes said, “but since I’d never done well in Fort Worth, I wasn’t prepared to try to win a best-dressed award.”
Enter Kendra Dickson, a two-time winner of the award from Aubrey, Texas, who has helped two other winners with their finals outfits. Dickson and her TruColors custom clothing line offered to provide an outfit for Grimes.
The two cowgirls would share the prize money with Dickson’s share going to her Rodeo For A Reason charity that raises money for childhood cancer.
“I told her that I’d love her help, but that I only wear purple,” Grimes said. “She said ‘that’s perfect’ and told me about an outfit she was working on that was purple and teal.”
Grimes, who works as an equine veterinarian, has a special bond with Izzy, a mare she raised and trained. “She was my very first embryo transfer. I fell in love with her when she was in a dish at day 8,” Grimes said. “She’s amazingly fast so my timing needs to be impeccable. Sometimes I mess up, but she’s so fast she’ll surprise me even when I don’t ride her as well as I should.”
The pair ran 11th in the finals. Grimes said she messed up her timing and broke a bit wide off the last barrel, so she was surprised when her time was announced as a 16.58. That was good enough for third in the finals and another $1,889 and gave her a three-run total of 32.99. She finished second overall and earned another $6,557.
Then, Grimes was announced as the Jerry Ann Taylor award winner, adding another $5,000 to her earnings in Fort Worth and putting her ahead of high-money winner Tuf Cooper (who won the tie-down roping) in total cash.
“It was really fun!” Grimes said, adding that her inner 12-year-old loved dressing up and glittering her horse. “When you get past 50, that kind of activity isn’t really thought of as age-appropriate,” she added with a laugh.
Grimes’ showing in Fort Worth put her second in the 2017 world championship standings and she plans to spend the next couple of months in Texas competing at rodeos.
The Jerry Ann Taylor Award is presented by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and is only given at the National Finals Rodeo and at the finals Fort Worth Stock show & Rodeo. Taylor, a 1986 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree, was a flamboyant trick rider and roper who was known for her sense of style.
Pam Minick of Fort Worth, a National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame board member and honoree and former WPRA vice president, said the award is to encourage women in professional rodeo to carry on the tradition of wearing colorful western attire in the rodeo arena.
Barrel racing has a long history with the World’s Original Indoor Rodeo®. The Fort Worth rodeo began holding an invitational ranch girls barrel race in 1955, not long after barrel racing competition started.