NOTE: On Feb. 14, Jimmy Bryant and Cowboy tied for eighth in the semi-finals and have advanced to compete on Friday evening.
CONTINENTAL — When Jimmy Bryant rides the horse Cowboy during the
richest one day rodeo in history on Feb. 19, he will be riding a horse
from Putnam County co-owned and ridden by Heather Palmer, Continental.
and Cowboy have qualified for the semi-finals for the American Rodeo in
Texas. They will be competing in the barrel racing category. Barrel
racing consists of three barrels, where the rider has to run around each
barrel in a cloverleaf pattern. The rider with the fastest time wins.
co-owns the horse with her mother, Nancy Warnimont. She said she was
unable to ride the horse herself in the competition because she would
have had to take off too much time from work, so they let Bryant from
Columbus, Indiana, qualify Cowboy and run him in Texas.
Heather met Jimmy about four years ago at a barrel show.
competed against each other and took turns beating each other in the
Barrel races,” Heather said. “ I’ve always done real well with Cowboy so
he drew people’s attention as one of the horses to watch. “
said Jimmy is a professional horse trainer and offered his advice when
she needed help with things she felt she needed to improve on.
was always the nicest, humble, give the shirt off his back type of
person,” she said. When Heather and her husband Dusty had their son they
decided Heather didn’t want to be traveling a lot to take Cowboy to the
big shows several hours away and to the American, being off work and
away from home for weeks.
“So we decided to give Jimmy the opportunity,” Heather said “He was more than happy to get to run Cowboy.”
Cowboy (registered name Little Bit of Cowboy) qualified in his first attempt in Lewisburg, Ohio.
had to be in the top ten to qualify and he got third place to qualify
out of about 70 horses,” said Heather She said it is already a huge
accomplishment to just qualify for this event.
“From there he runs
in Fort Worth Texas on Feb. 14 to attempt making the top 30 out of 175
qualifiers,” Heather said. “If he manages that he’ll go on to the next
round which is 10 horses running each night.” She said this will be
aired on RFD-TV Feb. 15 to Feb. 17.
The top ten from those 30 get
to advance to the American where they will have to run against ten
professional barrel racers from the National Finals Rodeo.
qualifier wins they can possibly win one million dollars if no other
qualifier in another event (ex. bull riding) wins their event,” Heather
said. “Otherwise it’s split between all the qualifiers that win.”
she doesn’t have much time to ride now because she has a baby Heather
said her mother had her on a horse when she was six months old .
she entered me in my first show at four-years old,” Heather said. She
has owned Cowboy with her mother since January of 2012. She said her
mother always had a love for horses and had them before she was born.
Heather, who works at the Meadows of Ottawa as a Physical Therapist Assistant. said her son also rides and runs barrels.
for Cowboy takes around 1.5 hours each day including exercising him
three miles each day, cleaning the stalls daily and feeding him twice a
Because of qualifying for the American, Jimmy decided he wanted to give back.
“Together we all raised $16,000 for two kids’s Make-a-Wish wishes,” Heather said.
If he wins Bryant plans to give a good portion of his share to help out the children at the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
idea to raise the money started with a video of Bryant saying that he
would wear tie-dyed jeans to the RFD American if he were to qualify in
response to the new rodeo fashion the kids are wearing.
wardrobe commitment spiraled into him promising to raise $16,000 for the
foundation, which sponsors two children. Brantley Morren, a 4-year-old
leukemia survivor from Bloomington, will split the $16,000 with a young
girl from Seymour.
“Jimmy will be wearing a tie-dyed shirt and
pants in support and awareness for the Make-A-Wish kids we all raised
money for,” Heather said.