Taking the reins and whizzing through the cloverleaf pattern, Sherri Odell dominated the barrel racing competition in the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association (KPRA) and won […]
Written by: Lily Landreth< Back to Articles
Kelsey Lutjen is a cowgirl with big dreams. Those dreams are in the form of her futurity horses, and her hope is that someday, one of those horses will take her to the Wrangler NFR. The GCPRA has given Kelsey an array of opportunities to expose her up and coming horses to rodeo, and she earned the added bonus of 2013 All-Around Women’s Champion at the GCPRA finals in the fall. “This is the first year I’ve entered the finals,” Kelsey explained. “It was awesome! I won second in the breakaway roping and placed in the barrel racing.”
Kelsey, 20, was born and raised in Arizona. Both of her parents rodeoed, and they gave her a solid start in the sport. “My mom is the one who got me going. She was always out there practicing with me every night, and she kept good horses under me and taught me how to train my own horses.” As a result, Kelsey won the goat tying in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in 2008, and captured first place in goat tying again in 2012, this time at the National High School Finals Rodeo. “My goal now is to win the goat tying at the college national finals and win all three levels.” In 2008, her horse won Horse of the Year, as well as Reserve Horse of the Year in 2012.
Much of Kelsey’s success in high school rodeo was combined with her talent and that of her horse, Frenchman’s Fabulous, a palomino stud owned by Kenny Nichols. Nichols sent “Fab” to his dad to rope off of, and Kelsey, friends with Nichols’s dad, was offered a chance to head some steers off the stud. Following a series of events, Kelsey was given the opportunity to compete on the Fab. Today, she is competing on several of Fab’s babies and entering them in futurities. “They are all really solid and consistent,” says Kelsey. “I have about 15 barrel horses. Some of them are mine but most of them belong to Kenny Nichols and Teri Murphy. They are the main people I ride for, but I also train outside horses.”
In the midst of her horse training, Kelsey is a sophomore at Central Arizona College. She competes on the school’s rodeo team in breakaway roping, goat tying, barrel racing, and team roping as a header. She won the goat tying in the second round of the College National Finals Rodeo in 2013. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ag. Business. While Kelsey ultimately wants to breed and train horses, she decided to have a degree to fall back on. In January, Kelsey won over $10,000 in futurity shows on Nichols’s horse KN Fabs Gift Of Fame. “I wake up in the morning, go ride all day, go to bed, wake up and do it all over again. It’s not like work to me – there’s nothing else I’d want to do!”
Kelsey says of the GCPRA, “They’re a really great association and their rodeos are somewhere fun for me to get my colts seasoned.” She takes every opportunity she can to further her chances of competing in the Wrangler NFR someday, hopefully on one of her horses. Many people have lent her a helping hand along the way, and in closing, Kelsey expressed her thanks to JoLynn and Patsy Alexander, Kenny Nichols, and Teri Murphy. “Those four people have always been there for anything I’ve ever needed.”
Kelsey also gratefully acknowledged her sponsors: Flair Nasal Strips, Silver Lining Herbs, Panhandle Slim, RES sport boots, Usher Brand and Formula 1 Noni.