story by Kailey Pickering After pursuing a passion for English jumping for four years, Grace Barnett turned back to her love of rodeo when her […]
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Meet the Member Katti Waters
story by Siri Stevens
Katti Waters assumed the position as secretary of the AJRA the end of January; she was in the right place at the right time. Both of her daughters, Alli, 13, and Acey, 11, compete in the association. Along with her role as secretary, Katti and her husband, Klay, produce goat tying, calf ropig, and breakaway ropings as qualifiers for Mike Johnson’s Vegs Tuffest, as well as Junior Patriot. As if that’s not enough on her plate, Katti owns an accounting firm, A1 Business Services, with offices in both Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and Abilene, Texas.
Since the AJRA season is primarily after tax season, Katti will be able to handle of secretary of AJRA. “The AJRA is one of the oldest youth association in the nation and we have had many NFR champions that started here,” said the 42-year-old. “I am excited to grow the association, and I’ll admit I’m a little bit nervous – I want to do a good job and make everyone as happy as I can. I just have to remember progress over perfection.
Katti and her family live in Abilene, Texas, which is where they got involved in the AJRA. “The association is a great place for the kids to start – the competition is tough and it’s good for them.” This year there are 16 rodeos total, with only four required to qualify for the Finals, held the third week in July in Sweetwater, Texas. The Finals prize line includes 38 world champion saddles, buckles, and lots of other goodies.
Katti was raised in southern Arizona, right on the border. “We didn’t know any different when we were little,” she said of the extreme heat in the summer. She started her college career at Cochise College, finishing at Eastern New Mexico in Portales, NM. She made the college national finals while rodeoing for Cochise and took a year off to try for the NFR. “I traveled with Charmayne James the year I tried to make it, but my horse got hurt and I had to come home.” She was close to making the finals in 2001, even ordering her ring, jacket, and all the tickets. She was sitting in the top 15 when her horse (CeCe) got hurt in July. Katti still managed to maintain the 16th spot in spite of not competing from July until the end of the season in October. She moved to New Mexico to finish school and started an accounting firm. “I wanted to be an accountant since I was in high school,” she said. She still has the office in New Mexico, driving over once a month to meet with clients. She opened an office in Abilene, finding clients through word of mouth.
Klay trains horses at their place in Abilene, selling them at the big ranch horse sales; Clovis, Ft. Worth, and Oklahoma City or turning them over to her daughters. Her husband Klay trains horses and takes care of cattle for a living. Her goal is to make the NFR with her daughter, Alli, riding horses that Klay will train.