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It’s April, and Kelsey Garrison is on vacation. The Channing, Texas cowboy doesn’t get away often from his business, but when he does, it usually involves rodeo. He’s spending much of the month of April in California, tie-down roping at several pro rodeos and enjoying the warm sunshine. When he returns to his home in Channing, Texas, it’ll be back to the day-to-day operations for the Texas Cowboys Rodeo Association man.
Kelsey began his rodeo career as a youngster in Oklahoma and Texas, and in high school, competed in the Tri-State Rodeo Association in Texas. After graduating from Channing High in 2003, he went to South Plains College in Levelland, representing them at the College National Finals in 2006. After that, he attended West Texas A&M in Canyon, and graduated with his bachelor’s in general studies in 2008.
His dream was to be a full time rodeo cowboy, but after eight months, he realized something had to change. “I planned to rope (full time professionally) but reality set in,” he said. “I want to have a successful business and be able to take care of my family real well.”
So he began his own business. He sold a tie-down roping horse and bought a semi-truck. After driving for a while, he earned enough money to buy a second truck. Then he bought some manure spreaders, and got into the manure spreading business. The dairies he worked for asked him to cut silage for them, so he bought silage cutters, then more semis, and his business was growing.
Now, his business has morphed into highway transport and silage cutting. He owns four trucks that make a round trip to California each week, hauling meat from the Texas panhandle to Salinas, and bringing produce back to San Antonio, Houston or Amarillo. In May and September, he’s busy in the wheat fields and corn fields, cutting wheatlage and silage. Kelsey’s business, KGMS, Inc., employs seven people, with his dad helping and his mom doing the books.
In his spare time, Kelsey competes at TCRA rodeos, and this year, hopes to go to a few PRCA rodeos as well. He’s qualified for the TCRA Finals four times, finishing last year in third place.
Being a successful entrepreneur can be a double-edged sword, he says. Now that he has more money, he has less time to rodeo. “I try to do more rodeoing, but it doesn’t work,” he said. “You have to be home every day, making sure your business is going right. Either you’re going to be a rodeo cowboy, or an entrepreneur. Whatever you do, you have to do it every day.”
Kelsey enjoys playing basketball. He cheers for the Dallas Mavericks and loves to attend Texas Tech games. He has a younger sister, Haley, who is 24 and is training barrel horses. He is the son of Jed and Kelly Garrison.