When James Brown belted out his soulful rendition of It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World, he'd obviously never had the pleasure of meeting Kirsten Vold. A modern cowgirl with easy manners and a winning smile, Kirsten grew up on the road and knows the rodeo business as well as any of her male contemporaries – if not better! The youngest of six children, Kirsten took over the Harry Vold Rodeo Company when she was just 25 years-old and, since that time, has managed to build on the legacy that her Canadian-born father began nearly six decades ago. It may seem like a natural progression, but Kirsten didn't always see herself living on the rodeo trail.
"I was going to be a lawyer and drive a sports car and live in L.A.," she said in a 2009 interview. "Everybody assumes that I was groomed for this from the time I was a child, as if this is the only thing I've ever wanted to do, and quite honestly, that's really not the case."
Home-schooled until her freshmen year in high school, Vold grew up on the road, ensconced in the life of the cowboy and the excitement of the rodeo. After graduating from University of Southern Colorado in 1996 with a BA in Communications, Kirsten decided to put her degree to work with a job in sports marketing and promotion. Even though her job involved promoting and marketing the sport she so loved, Kirsten felt that her professional destiny was as yet unfulfilled and decided to move back to her father's ranch.
Eager to get her "hands dirty" and become more involved with the day to day operations, Kirsten started to take an active role in the family business. It was not an easy being the only woman – and a very young woman, at that – in a man's world, but with her staunch determination and unparalleled work ethic, Kirsten eventually won over even her toughest critics and took her father's place at the helm.
"She's a pioneer; not an easy thing," her mother Karen Vold told a reporter for American Profile. "And when she first decided to do it, it was very tough. You have to prove yourself to a crew that's been there longer than you or is older than you, and to the cowboys. But she did prove herself. She never asked anybody to do anything that she won't do right alongside them. So she's earned their respect."
Kirsten now spends more than 200 days each year on the rodeo trail and oversees what is undeniably the leading rodeo stock company in the industry today. A genuine love of animals is the driving force behind the young woman that now manages 30,000 acres of short-grass prairie, raising some 650 bucking horses. According to Kirsten, her greatest personal achievement is Painted Valley, an 8 year-old stud who has been selected to five Wrangler National Finals Rodeos, was voted best Saddle Bronc Horse of the WNFR in 2009 and in 2010 Painted Valley was named PRCA Saddle Horse of the Year.
"If you ask me the number one reason why I do what I do, it's because of the animals," she beams. "I love working with animals."
Vold, is now considered a trusted veteran in the industry and her family's company sets the standard by which all others are measured. Whether at the rodeo or the ranch, Kirsten's horses are her life and she is committed to breeding and raising champions. In 2015 Kirsten Vold was the recipient of the "Tad Lucas Memorial Award" and was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Kip Olsen returned to the Harry Vold Rodeo Company in the summer of 2010 after a 2 year hiatus to remodel homes. Olsen, 60, as resumed his spot as saddle horse boss, and Harry Vold's personal driver. Olsen had worked 10 years for Vold, before his two-year departure. Alabama native, Olsen built his own home, in the mountain town of Westcliff, Colorado. His hobbies include watching sports of all kind, football and baseball being his favorites. He still spends much of his free time in Alabama.
Josh Edwards, 35, has been a pick up man for Harry Vold Rodeo Company since 2008. His wife Kristy, cares for their two sons, and manages their automotive service business, so that he is able to rodeo part time. As a member of Screen Actors Guild, Josh has performed stunts in many feature films and currently has two national commercials. He also is an accredited pilot, and enjoys flying as much as his busy schedule allows. He resides in Terrell, Texas with his family.
Dalton, 23, has grown up around the Harry Vold Rodeo Company. He was six years old when his dad, 6-time NFR pick up man, Billy Ward, along with his mother, rodeo timekeeper, Marlo Ward, started touring with the Vold Rodeo Company. Following in his father's footsteps, Dalton remains in pursuit of his dream, of one day being selected as a pick up man for the National Finals Rodeo. His excellent horsemanship and work ethic has made him a valuable member of the Harry Vold Rodeo Company, as his father, mother, and younger brother Denton, still are, on a part-time basis at various Vold Rodeos.
At the age of 27, Staci Stanbrough is a very accomplished young woman. Graduating with her Master's Degree from New Mexico State University, She is the assistant rodeo coach for Mesa Lands Community College, as well as an instructor for several classes. A self-taught silversmith, her side business of custom ordered spurs, headstalls, and jewelry has grown rapidly.
In the midst of all of these accomplishments, Staci spends her summers, and weekends, with the Harry Vold Rodeo Company. She flanks horses, feeds, sorts, and loads stock equal to her male collegues.
JIM DEWEY BROWN
As the head rodeo coach at New Mexico State University, Jim Dewey, has to limit his time with the Harry Vold Rodeo Company to mostly the summer months. He is an established member of the team however, helping out when he can since 2004. Mostly serving as a pick up man, he also flanks, chutes boss and assists in managing many summer events when the rodeo company has multiple venues at the same time.