It took some friendly nudging to get Kimmer Severance to start putting her name down at ProRodeos.
But at just her second appearance in PRCA/WPRA competition, Severance—24, originally from Prineville but now a fourth-grade teacher in Stanfield, Arizona—beat many of the top 20 breakaway ropers in the WPRA world standings with a 2.4-second run worth $4,456 June 25.
Severance rodeoed for Central Arizona College and ran barrels, roped calves, tied goats and team roped. But with breakaway’s growing popularity, Severance has been giving that a go lately.
“My dad manages a ranch here, and I came up to visit them this summer when I was away from work,” Severance said. “It was my hometown rodeo, and it was the coolest one I’ve won. I didn’t even realize it—I was roping against Lari Dee Guy! She is my idle. That was so cool. My dad said, “JJ Hampton, Lari Dee are there!” I didn’t even notice when I looked at the callbacks. But I hadn’t ever roped in front of a big crowd like that. My heart was pounding, and I was making my horse nervous. I nodded and said, ‘Here we go ready or not!'”
Severance had drawn a heifer, and most of them were slower than the steers. Her dad told her to make sure she watched it, and as she kept her eyes on him, he put his head in the air and ran.
“My horse is fast,” Severance said. “So I was able to get there. He broke right to the flag. And he stopped hard so my rope broke fast. He made my job easy.”
Severance’s horse is a 7-year-old red roan gelding named Cathouse Chicken, who came from friends Chance and Nikki Millin of Summer Lake, Oregon. He’s by Ill Bet Your Chicken by Gallo Del Cielo, and out of the Smokums Prize mare HickoryDickory Prize, with Peppy San Badger, Freckles Playboy, Smokum Oak and High Brow Cat all on his papers.
“I buy all my horses from Chance and Nikki,” Severance said. “They put 30 to 60 days on them ,and then I finish them. I bought my first horse from them when I was 6 years old, and I’ve never bought one from anyone else.”
The Millins picked him out for Severance as a 2-year-old because he was so catty and cowy. She’d always gone and ridden with them—learning to cut buffalo on their place while riding good ones.
“I got him, and he was really, really small,” Severance said. “I didn’t think he’d grow, but Nikki told me he’d fill out and be thick. And sure enough he did. When he was 3, I told my sister to go get on him and. he spooked. He ran off with her running and bucking. At that time, he was unpredictable. But it’s amazing how much a horse can mature.”
Severance took him to the branding pen, then moved to the sled and then slower calves long before she ever backed him in the box. But the horse picked up quickly, and he helped her place at her very first ProRodeo in Meridian, Idaho, just days before winning Prineville.
“It means a lot, too, because Chance passed away from cancer in June,” Severance said. “So to get this win on Cathouse, in my hometown, is really special.”
Where Do We Go From Here?
“This has all been such a learning experience,” Severance said. “I called this morning to enter a rodeo and they said I was ineligible. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but they said, ‘Congratulations! You filled your permit!’ And I didn’t realize. So I had to do a permit extension after Prineville.”
Full Results from Prineville
1. Kimmer Severance, 2.4 seconds, $4,456
2. (tie) Kaitlyn Harwell and Kimberly Williams, 2.7, $3,230 each
4/5. (tie) Amanda Coleman and Samantha Fulton, 2.8, $2,005 each
6. J J Hampton, 3.0, $1,337;
7/8/9. (tie) Shelby McDonald, Suzanne Williams and Tara Young, 3.1, $1,003 each
10. Sammy Taylor, 3.2, $780
11. (tie) Kayde Jo Akins, Shelby Boisjoli, Lari Dee Guy, Lynn Rodriguez and Miranda Streeter, 3.4, $446 each.