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Meet the Member Kayla Keith
story by Lindsay Welchel
Kayla Keith, 23, didn’t come from a rodeo family, but she had horses in her blood and got on the back of one as fast as she could.
Kayla’s great-grandfather raised racehorses, no doubt passing on his love of fast equine athletes through Kayla’s DNA.
Kayla’s parents Earl and Donna got Kayla her first horse at the age of 6, and her mom put her in lessons with the daughter of a family friend, veterinarian Dr. Debbie Guillory.
Like all young riding students, Kayla started with the basics of horsemanship, but she caught on quickly.
“One day she told my mom there’s nothing more [basic] she could teach me, and she put me on the barrels,” Kayla said of her riding instructor.
Those early days set Kayla on a path toward making barrel racing a profession.
She did a youth rodeo association prior to focusing on large barrel races throughout high school.
By the time she was 18 the sport of rodeo was calling again. And though she’s a member of many associations, Kayla has a special place in her heart for the Tri State Rodeo Association.
“The people, they’re close to home. It’s a really good association. I love doing it,” Kayla describes.
She’s got a young horse right now that she’s seasoning and is showing promise.
“She’s doing really good. She’s really gritty, so I think she’s going to be a good rodeo horse.”
In addition, Kayla has begun her first foray into starting a breeding program with plans to get more mares next year.
“You can never stop learning new things,” Kayla says. She credits her family for all of their support.
“My parents are behind me 100 percent. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.”
Another constant force in Kayla’s life with horses is Dr. Guillory, her vet whose daughter helped her get her start.
“She is actually now my hauling partner to some of these rodeos, and she is the best woman you could ask for,” Kayla says and adds, “I really look up to her, and I always ask her questions. You can learn a lot from her.”
Being in the horse business is not always easy Kayla admits. Often times, she has had a horse going well and something happens to the horse and then the situation changes, but it’s important to keep going even if you get knocked down and not let things stress you out, Kayla assures.
“I just try not to be negative. You’ve got to find positives. It’s just God’s plan. You can’t worry and be stressed about it.”