By: Tammie Hiatt
When Katie Hulsey purchased her IPRA card, her goal was to win the rookie of the year title and qualify for the International Finals Rodeo. So far, so good. The 20-year-old Haleyville, AL cowgirl is currently doing both. Katie leads the rookie race and holds the number four slot in the world standings.
Barrel racing comes easy for Hulsey, “Since I was big enough to do it by myself, I have been running barrels. My parents, Joe and Karen, both run barrels and it has always been part of my life. My older brother, B.J. ran barrels too, but he didn’t stick with the horses like I have.”
“I’m excited about this year in the IPRA,” said Katie. “I’m trying to just take things week by week and see how it goes. I plan to stay pretty close to home; I doubt that I go to any of the Canadian rodeos this year. If I win money, then I enter for the next weekend.”
“Last year I had my SPRA card and went to five rodeos and won enough to make their finals. I asked my Mom if I could buy my IPRA card if I had a good finals. I went into the finals in 10th position and ended up sitting third. We just really started doing great,” said Hulsey.
“I love my horse to death! Diamon is so special to me. His registered name is “Heza Streakin Diamon”. He’s a 12-year-old gelding out of a grandson of Streakin Six and a thoroughbred mare. He was bought for me as a colt but I didn’t start riding him until 2008. Dad trained him and hauled him to the NBHA’s, he was too much horse for me when I was younger.”
“I finally got to take him over and have been riding him for 5 years now. I tell my Dad that I always get his hand-me-downs,” Hulsey laughed. “Diamon loves to run barrels, he tries hard every time. He loves a big pattern where he can really stretch out and run. He does fine in small pens, but tends to get ratey. He has a fun personality and is spoiled rotten. If you make him mad, he’ll let you know it.”
“The first year I was running him I went to the NBHA’s. He and I started our rodeo careers at the same time. The first one I entered was a first for both of us and we won it, I was hooked after that. He loves the rodeo crowds and excitement,” said Katie. “I definitely prefer running at rodeos over the barrel races.”
“My family really likes the Streakin Six bloodlines. I have a full brother to Diamon that I am just starting to season at the rodeos. We have three broodmares that we raise colts with. We usually have between 12-15 colts that we are working with all the time. My Dad’s job keeps him from riding much at the house now, so I mainly ride the colts and get them ready and he hauls them for me. “
“In the past we have taken some of the colts to the futurities, but we’re not doing that now. It’s so expensive to do and with his job, we’ve just changed the way we are doing things. I like to take my time with the colts and go slow, I want them to last and have long barrel careers,” Katie states.
“I used to have some superstitions, like I would not wear a shirt again if I didn’t do good in it. Now, I’ve decided that it’s just not worth it, and just take what I get,” said Katie. “I guess I out grew that phase.”
Katie has a realistic outlook on her future. “I am taking online college classes. That lets me have quite a bit of freedom to go to rodeos and keep up with my colts. I’m not sure on a major just yet,” said Katie. “My mom is an accountant and I work with her during tax season. I’m leaning toward accounting, but haven’t made a decision yet. What I do know is that I have to pay my way to the rodeos, so if I am not winning, I’m staying home!”
“I hope to be in Oklahoma City in January, that I know, said Hulsey.