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article by Holly Wilson
Kellie Collier is a Hereford, Texas native with an impressive rodeo resume.
She was originally introduced to the sport by her mom, Kathleen, and fell in love with the rodeo lifestyle.
As a student at Happy High School, Kellie competed in multiple events and is a four-time National High School Rodeo Association Finals qualifier. She continued the tradition during her two years at Texas Tech, where she also made the College National Rodeo Finals.
“I’ve always run barrels, but I also breakaway roped, team roped and ran poles. Last year in the college finals I won the All-Around,” Kellie said, “I got to go to the national finals in the barrels and the breakaway.”
Kellie finished the 2016 College National Finals Rodeo sitting sixth in the barrel racing with a 14.16.
Now, Kellie is pursuing a full-time position on the rodeo road. Some of her recent accolades include a win at Redding Rodeo, a third place finish at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and a 13th place overall finish in the 2016 WPRA standings. She is currently sitting 9th in the 2017 standings.
“I’m trying to take the pro rodeo circuit a little more seriously this year,” Kellie said.
This was made possible, in part, by her family. They have supported her throughout her rodeo career, and continue to do so.
“My mom has always been my coach,” Kellie said, “She’s helped me with my highs and my lows and taught me everything I know.”
And while her mom is by her side on the rodeo road, Kellie’s dad, Matt, supports her from afar.
“My dad doesn’t have a rodeo background at all, but he’s my biggest fan. He gets mad if we don’t send him videos and call him right after,” Kellie said with a laugh, “He stays home as much as he can to make it possible for me to go.”
At just 20 years old, Kellie has her sights set high with a goal of making the 2017 National Finals Rodeo.
“My biggest plan right now is to rodeo as hard as I can and make the NFR,” Kellie said.
A Hereford, Texas native, Kellie competes on the Wilderness Circuit with her horse Streakin Easy April.
Kellie admits that it’s a tough road out there, and staying mentally focused is her biggest challenge.
“That’s probably the hardest part, is staying mentally focused and staying positive. It’s very very important for me to keep my head on and keep my horse comfortable in any situation,” Kellie said, “It’s a tough, tough mental game.”
However, nine-year-old “Lolo” has plenty of experience in high-pressure situations. She’s been run at the Thomas & Mack, and has numerous other accolades under her belt. “She’s making my dreams come true, making all of this possible. Having a horse of this caliber, that can compete against the best of the best,” Kellie said. “She has made my dream real, making me believe that I really can run at the Thomas & Mack someday.”
When Kellie and her mom spotted “Lolo” almost three years ago, they knew she would be the horse to make her childhood dreams come true.
“You know it was kind of a ‘Oh my gosh we have to have her’ kind of thing,” Kellie said, “It was a known from the start, as soon as we saw her, we knew. My mom has a great eye for horses, and she’s always mounted me so well.”
One of the aspects that drew the Colliers to Lolo was her kind eye and willing nature.
“When we saw Carlee Pierce run her at the NFR, and handle the situation and the ground, we loved her style. You could tell how sweet and willing she is, especially when you look in her eye,” Kellie said, “You could just tell.”
Over the past several years, Kellie and Lolo have strengthened their bond and developed a strong relationship.
“She’s really set my goals, she’s made my dreams come true. I want to be able to repay her for that and do everything to keep her the happiest she can be,” Kellie said, “I’ve been so blessed and lucky to have a chance to own this mare.”