Producing innovative events like the Roper Apparel and Footwear Barrel Futurity would be enough to keep anyone busy. Add to that training and marketing top-level barrel horses at Kohr Quarter Horses, Inc., and being mother to three children, ages 6, 8 and 9, and you’ve got yourself a potential whirlwind of activity going on.
Barrel Horse News was fortunate enough to catch up with Gillette, Wyoming’s, Lynn Kohr to find out more about what fuels both her professional and maternal fire—in addition to what inspires her family’s patriotic spirit as her husband, Marshall Kohr, DVM, currently serves the United States in Baghdad, Iraq.
Q: You recently produced the 2nd Annual Roper Apparel and Footwear Futurity. Describe the kind of satisfaction you get as the producer of a nationally recognized event.
A: My first thoughts are feeling thankful to my loyal and generous sponsors, family and friends. Without a strong support team of family, friends and sponsors grand events like the 2nd Annual Roper Apparel and Footwear Barrel Futurity and Barrel Racing Report Open 4D would not happen!
It was a tough year for me in not having Marshall to run our office or have his ears for a sounding board and his amazing support in all areas. I really trusted and relied so much on friends and family, such as my parents who spent the entire month of November here helping with kids, household and livestock duties while I worked on entries and race details. Craig and Heather Smith devoted their whole month to me, from dealing with computer glitches, the office and everything imaginable.
It felt like the biggest Holiday party of the season for me!
My heartfelt thanks go out to: Roper Apparel and Footwear (mainly Kerry Vastine and Nick Salter), Travis and Amy Lantis of Sitnal Livestock, Billie Bray and Krystal Butler of EquiBrand, Northern Hills RV and Platinum Trailers (Doug and Joeni Leuders), Dusti and Tracy Sawn of the Barrel Racing Report and Nick and Jessie Salter of Jessie Jaymes Silversmith, Dry Creek Western Wear and Jodee Burnham. So many came through in a tough economic year and family, friends and sponsors stood beside me and happily lent so much of themselves.
Q: What type of cash and awards are up for grabs at one of your events? Who were the big winners this year?
A: We had $23,000 added in purse monies and awards, plus entry fees, giving contestants $50,000 in cash and awards to compete for. There was $7,500 added to the Futurity, which was won by Cody Hyde aboard Backjack O’Malley, a $500 added Amateur side pot won by Kami Ireland and Juliohs Last Runner, $1,000 added Open 4D, Youth Barrels and a PeeWee barrel race. Roper Award Coats went to the top 10 average futurity horses, top three amateur riders and the top four in the 4D. Jessie Jaymes Silversmith Custom Trophy Buckles were awarded to the Futurity Champion, the Amateur Champion, and to the youth 3D winners. Prizes were awarded through fifth in both the Open 4D and the Youth received Classic Equine products. All 30 of the PeeWees received hefty gift certificates for Roper Apparel. Sue Smith hand tooled halters were awarded for reserve futurity and amateur champions.
Q: What would you consider to be the most memorable highlight of your event?
A: The thrill of the tough competition. Maybe it was that the ground stayed even (thanks to the CamPlex Crew), and that the horses were working to their limits, clocking super fast times, plus all of the jockeys being on their game. There were some first time buckle winners over the weekend, and watching them win their first one was a thrill.
Q: Tell our readers a little bit about your family, your children.
A: Marshall, my husband of 19 years, my best friend for 22 years, a veterinarian and a major in the Army National Guard and the father of our three kids that are the absolute light of our lives: Sage (9), Cedar (8) and Stratton (6).
Q: How do you manage to juggle family, business and time to ride your own horses, especially in light of the fact that your husband is serving in Iraq?
A: Kids come first: school, sports, choir, 4-H, kids’ rodeo—our business comes next. My kids all pitch in feeding, cleaning pens and riding. They all ride my colts, so we made a group effort to keep it all rolling. I got up an hour earlier and stayed up later to keep our household up and running. I kept our riding to our own horses and worked on staying focused on what each horse needed and what our goals were with each one.
We all made many memories this year and have funny stories to look back on. I watched my kids do some outstanding training on very young horses that would never have happened otherwise. The demands this year have taught us to keep our attitudes positive and productive, guarding against any negativity, to stay focused and to surround ourselves with kind, positive and supportive people. Plus, we’ve all prayed endlessly!
Q: Tell us about Marshall’s service in the war effort. How long has he been gone, and what motivated him to make such a personal sacrifice?
A: After watching, on 9/11/01, that jet crash into the first Twin Tower, then a second jet crash into the other tower, neither of us were ever the same. Marshall, from that very moment, felt a deep responsibility to give back to our country. He joined the Army National Guard immediately. That deep patriotism has never wavered for him. Before his deployment, he worked endless hours for the State of Wyoming in the Army National Guard doing research on West Nile and Hauta Viruses, food inspections all the way to Panama, thousands of mosquito collections; he vaccinated and de-wormed 150 dogs in the Dominican Republic. He has given and sacrificed much of his time.
He constantly reminds me, “We have a wonderful life, and it is our responsibility to give back.” His deployment is due to end in February, and he gets to come home. I am sure he will long serve the Army National Guard. He left Gillette on May 15, 2009, for a few months of weapons and life protection training and departed the USA for Iraq Aug. 1, 2009. His deployment ends mid-February 2010.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history with horses.
A: Horses have always blessed me. When I was just 2, I was given a yearling who was a grand daughter of Flying Bob and out of Dexter (dating myself!). That very horse carried me to my first state championship in 4-H when I was 8 and she was 7. She went on to win many more state championships for me and raised loads of other kids! She was a big part of my life, and we put her down when she was 37.
I have had just the greatest horses dropped into my hands from kind and amazing people and of course from the Lord above. Horses are my lifeline—a huge blessing—and I see horses giving right back in the same way to my children. I love to tweak my communication with horses, and I learn new ways every day to better listen and understand them.
Q: What horses are you running now?
A: I am enjoying Frenchmans Melody, Lil Dashin Blitz—who the kids also ride and run—and I hope to have her at the derbies in ‘10. Stratton kept her in shape during all of 2009 and Sisi Dashforthestars. We have Nothertime To Cash, a ‘10 futurity colt Sage helped train that will be generously jockeyed by Sam Flannery at the winter futurities. Also Beggin To Dash, a ‘10 futurity colt that Cedar helped train, and then we’re getting our 4-, 3- and 2-year-olds educated. I will also be running my good friend, Patti Kinghorn’s great horse, BA Dashin Smash and riding Amy Lantis’ promising colt, Brother.
Q: At the end of the day, what are your goals with your event production business?
A: Ahh, as my good friend Charmayne says, “At the end of the day…” I view our sport of barrel racing as a very small piece of the sports pie. Working together with all facets of the barrel racing world is so very important. Making our event decisions with other events, sponsors and contestants all in mind is imperative. I visit and brainstorm with producers, contestants and sponsors from all over and take valuable time to listen and emulate their situations, always thinking of how to better our sport, our events and our industry. I am committed to make our third annual event competitive, keep the purse money big, the awards of the highest quality and make sure the atmosphere is fun and festive. I am committed to keep our events for the sponsors and the contestants.
With all of that said, at the end of the day, I want to feel like I said yes way more than I said no, smile way more than frown, enjoy the quality of horses and riders and appreciate the blessings that rain down.
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