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Meet the Member: Jana Griemsman
By Lindsay Whelchel
Jana Griemsman didn’t come from a ranching or equine background, but that didn’t stop her from becoming a professional barrel racer along with her sister, NFR qualifier, Jill Moody.
“My grandpa and dad were in highway construction, and my sister was the horse-crazed kid in our family. She kind of got the family started in the horse stuff, and obviously her success has kind of helped me a little bit too,” Jana laughs modestly. Despite her humility, Jana’s success as a trainer has no doubt been of her own making.
She grew up in Pierre, S.D. and credits her parents for hauling her around to every 4-H rodeo she could get to. When Jana got older and attended college in Wyoming, rodeo stayed with her as she college rodeoed and found love.
“I met my husband at college. He was a successful horse trainer and team roper himself,” Jana says of husband Paul. They’ve been together for the past 20 years, married for 13 years and now have a 20-month-old son, Laken.
Now, the Griemsman family lives outside of Rapid City. Jana attended radiology school there after college and was a radiologist technologist and supervisor at a women’s imaging clinic for many years, until her passion for molding young horses pulled Jana into full-time training alongside Paul.
“One day I came home, and I just told Paul ‘I’m burnt out. I’ve got too many outside horses to ride. This is what I want to do. I go to work every day, I’m there for 12 hours or more, I come home tired and stressed. He said, ‘you know what, just quit,” Jana recalls fondly. She can always go back to the medical profession later, but for now Jana has her hands full with the horses and barrel racing in the Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association, and prorodeo, not to mention being a mother.
“We had our little one, so he keeps me fairly occupied. I get to ride maybe a couple a day if I’m lucky. Rope a pen of steers if he happens to sleep at the right time,” Jana laughs and adds, “but it’s all worth it.”
She enjoys the easy access to rodeos like those provided by the NRCA. “They are fun local competitions where the whole family can compete. [The rodeos] are a great place to season young horses and young athletes as well.”
Barrel racing is a sport that takes a solid partnership between horse and rider, and for Jana, competing actively depends on when her horse-power is well-suited. “For a long time I didn’t enter, and I didn’t go anywhere because I didn’t have a horse I felt I could have success with. We always kind of wait for that good one to come along, and they’re not easy to find, so I’ve been fortunate enough to have some nice horses these last few years,” she says and adds, “when I have a good one I go, and when I don’t, I stay home and try to make another one.”
The other part of the equation is confidence, something Jana admits she has had to work hard on over the years.
“That’s kind of the main thing; have confidence in yourself. Have confidence in your abilities, and it will show in what you do. It might not happen tomorrow, and it might not happen the next day, but if you give it enough time everything will fall into place, and it’ll work out.”