By Jolee Jolee Lautaret
Redding, California — Inside the arena, Utah cowgirl Kimmie Wall has had a dream season. Competing in less than two dozen rodeos, Wall and her superstar, home-grown mare Foxy have won better than $30,000 and currently sit comfortably inside the top 15 of the WPRA World standings.
Outside the arena, the year has been a tough one for Wall and her family. In September of 2015, her mother-in-law Dawna Wall was diagnosed with glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer.
“It’s something I never really thought we’d be faced with,” Wall says.
“I’ve dedicated this whole year to her,” adds Wall, noting that she wears gray ribbons in support of brain cancer awareness and uses the very appropriate #cancersucks on all her social media postings. “The pink thing is great but there are all different kinds of cancers and we hope to create more awareness on the other cancers out there.”
In fact, May is Brain Cancer Awareness month, signified by the slogan, “Go Gray in May.”
Sadly, Dawna Wall lost her battle with the deadly disease on May 15. A memorial service was planned for May 21, the same day that Wall was set to compete in her first career Wrangler Champions Challenge (WCC) Tour presented by Justin Boots in Redding, California.
“I actually missed her funeral but I knew where I was supposed to be . . . she’d want me to be there,” said Wall, calling her mother-in-law one of her biggest supporters and a fellow horse lover.
Wall was in Las Vegas for Helldorado Days when news of Dawna’s passing hit and she relied heavily on her “rodeo family” to get through a rough week.
2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) qualifier Vickie Carter took Wall’s horse to California, allowing Wall a chance to head home for a few days to be with her family.
Once back on the road, Wall competed in the Redding Rodeo first, landing in a tie for eighth place. Kellie Collier won the rodeo, earning $3,827.
Looking for a little extra inspiration on a rain-soaked Saturday for the WCC event, Wall looked to her mother-in-law once again.
“I wore her boots at Redding,” says Wall, calling Dawna a “great mother, grandmother and role model. “I had a feeling she was with me.”
Although the final performance of the Redding Rodeo on Friday night had been very muddy and the rain continued throughout Saturday, Wall surely had confidence in the now eight-year old Foxy who is registered TKW Bullys Famous Fox. The pair already collected big wins in the mud this year, winning the Wrangler Silver Tour stop at the Clark County Fair and Rodeo in Logandale and placing high in a round at the Wrangler Gold Tour stop in Clovis, California.
“When I was warming her up, she was really unruly, just a mess,” laughs Wall. “I’m not sure if she really likes the mud and wanted to run or if she really hates it and wanted to get it over with.”
Judging by the results, it seems the former is more likely. On a night when the ground conditions slowed the rest of the field way down, Foxy seemed to fly with angel’s wings, stopping the clock in 17.87 seconds, nearly two tenths better than second placed Pam Capper.
“She’s amazing,” says Wall of Foxy, a mare she and her husband Travis bred and trained together. “She was fabulous, really a little rowboat.”
After collecting the big check worth $3,944, Wall headed south to Hayward for the Rowell Ranch Rodeo. Closing out her weekend on her daughter Brylee’s birthday, Wall and Foxy found the pay window a third time, taking fourth place.
In all, Wall earned $6,049 in the emotionally tumultuous week.
“It was a tough week for our family,” Wall says. “I wouldn’t have made it through without my family and my friends; the whole rodeo family has been great.”
Despite the trials of the week, Wall said she was thrilled to compete in the WCC event. “I was so excited just to be a part of what they’re offering to us with the Champions Challenge events.”
Now ranked seventh in the WPRA World standings, Wall has already solidified her spot in the next stop on the WCC Tour in Spanish Fork, Utah, right down the road from her home.
“June is going to be good, I’ll be close to home and family,” she notes.
For more information on the Redding Rodeo, please visit them on-line at www.reddingrodeo.com and for more information on the Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots, please visit www.prorodeo.com.
Courtesy of WPRA