2018 NRCHA Circle Up


Non Pro Kathy Wilson knows the power of positivity and strives to be a role model for others.

NRCHA Stock Horse News
Dec, 2019
By Katie Navarra

Non Pro Kathy Wilson describes herself as an old-timer trying to make a comeback. The vet- eran horsewoman is no stranger to the winner’s circle. The Clarksburg, California, rider estimates that she com- peted in her first National Reined Cow Horse Association Non Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity® in either 1976 or 1977. It’s an event she’s won three times since.

In 1981 she won aboard the homebred mare Martha Rey (Rey Solis x Santine x Vino Tinta). Then Wilson won back- to-back titles in 1983 and 1984 aboard Doc‘s George (Doc’s Silver Bar x Rey Three x Senor George) and Billy Clover (Peppy San Bar x Miss Bras Bars x Son O Sugar) respectively.

The horsewoman, currently ranked 15th on NRCHA’s Non Pro Top Rider standings with $296,418 in lifetime earnings, is still at the top of her game. In 2018, she won the Non Pro Intermediate Championship at the Reno SBF aboard her 2014 gelding Ima Prizcee Hickory (Cee Mr Hickory x Nu Prize x Smokums Prize) with a com- posite score of 640 (H:212/R:214/C:214). The pair also made the Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro Finals at the Snaffle Bit Futurity that year. In 2019, she won the Intermediate Non Pro Championship at the NRCHA Derby riding the same horse. The duo earned a check every trip out this season. “He has been so consistent,” Wilson said. “I knew he was going to make a great cow horse when I saw him loping in his sale video.”

Surrounding herself with positive people has been the key to her continued success, she said. Early in her career she spent a lot of time with top non pros Frank Rue and Zera Varia. The two always were upbeat and encouraged those who were just starting out, she said. Today, Wilson strives to be the same source of motivation for others.

“She makes me feel like I’m capable of winning,” said Shannon Haskins, also a non pro from California. “She’s been a real blessing to me. She’s always positive in her feedback, but doesn’t hold back.”

Haskins meets Wilson at her facil- ity once or twice a week. The women kick around ideas about how to correct any trouble they’re having with their horses. Haskins admires the volume of knowledge Wilson has collected by watching the pros school and compete at events. Wilson’s mind never stops working, Haskins said.

“She’s always telling me that you have to be smart in the show pen and to be prepared to turn a bad situation into a good one,” Haskins said. “She is a fierce competitor and reminds me to always know where I am in the pen, [know] where my markers are and to take it one maneuver at a time.”

“Shannon has been my surrogate daughter since my own daughter doesn’t currently ride,” Wilson said. “Shannon is where I was 30 years ago with young kids and trying to show.”