Kellie Collier’s NFR Experience & More

National Finals Rodeo Barrel Racing qualifier Kellie Collier comes from Hereford, Texas. A small town in the panhandle of Texas known for beef cattle and feedlots but the one time a year when they all become fans of rodeo is during the Spicer Gripp Memorial. However, when Collier made the NFR, knowing the whole town followed that journey, it gave her the feeling of a hometown hero.

“It’s not that Hereford is rodeo fans, it’s that they support their people, they support who goes, they support who they look up to or who their kids will look up to,” Collier said.

Collier bought a horse named Eagle two weeks before her 2017 NFR run and they made their first rodeo run together during Round 6. Eagle was a horse that knew what it was like to make it to the short go and bring home a win.

“He was a once in a lifetime horse. He made my dreams come true, he was so easy. He was thoroughbred, he was crazy, craziest horse to warm up. He would just run around… and he would prance to the arena and he would walk down the alley and just drop his head. It’s what he was born to do,” Collier said.

Eagle tripped at a rodeo and he severed the ligaments in his ankle. Collier had the option of surgery but Eagle would have had a plate from his knee to his ankle and been on stall rest for the rest of his life. That was not the quality of life that Collier was going to give Eagle, that was not enough. Ultimately, this injury was the end for Eagle. Collier says that for the small amount of time that she had Eagle, he made a huge impact on her life.

“They become your family. They’re not just tools, they’re not just horses. You spend so much time and so many miles with them on the road that they become your family and you get this bond,” she said.

Now, Collier is running Salty, a horse that she got from Ivy Saebens two years ago. She said it’s been a learning curve but a lot of fun. She says she gets the connection and emotion that she felt with her National Finals Rodeo horse, Lolo, when she runs Salty.

After making some changes and working with Saebens and others, Collier and Salty were two holes out of making the American in March of 2022 and are on their way down a road that is sure to be full of success stories. With the help of Stetson Jorgensen, Collier is putting down roots in Idaho and having fun in the arena again and she has changed her goals. She is patiently waiting for her next NFR with the mindset that when and if it is supposed to happen, it will happen.

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