MOTHER’S DAY FEATURE The Kaminskis more than just Mother and Daughter By Kristen M. White K elly Kaminski and Kenna Kaminski are partners, friends, family, traveling buddies and each other’s biggest supporters. After all, there’s no one who understands the challenges of rodeo and traveling the road quite like another competitor. And when that competitor is your parent or child, the relationship is that much more dynamic. Kenna grew up watching her mother, Kelly, engrave her name into the history books, becoming a two-time, back-to-back World Champion barrel racer in 2004 and 2005. These days, it’s Kenna hitting the professional road, and she knows that a big piece of why she’s there comes directly from her mom. “Growing up, I got to experience a lot through my mom and meet a lot of other people who have also helped me hone my craft,” Kenna said. “There’s something to learn from everyone. And growing up on the road, you learn to go with things – plans don’t always take shape and you have to be able to roll with things. I’ve witnessed it all with my mom, how to take one day and one run at a time.” The Kaminski duo is much more than mother and daughter. They’re traveling partners. They cheer each other on. They work together at the Kaminski ranch, with the horses they train and barrel races they put on at the center of daily life. And they’re also friends. “We have so much in common, so it’s more like we’re best friends than mom and daughter most of the time,” Kelly said. “For the most part, she’s always been in the truck with me (Kenna was homeschooled online, allowing her to grow up on the road). It’s really a neat thing to be able to share my passion for horses and barrel racing and the

industry in general with her.” Of course, it’s not always rainbows and sunshine.As with all families (or traveling partners or friends), there are some “heated discussions” that happen along the way, both women noted with a chuckle. It’s to be expected. And some of Kenna’s younger years were more of a challenge, as Kelly was faced with the inevitable teenage belief that “parents don’t know anything.” Even though as a world champion, it was clear Kelly knew plenty about barrel racing, tips and words of wisdom that she could impart on her daughter. But advice from a parent is the hardest advice to take. “When she was really young, I remember being at a barrel race and she’d just gotten a horse and I was going over how to ride it with her,” Kelly recalled. “She looked at me and said, ‘Mom, be quiet. I’m trying to focus.’ Which is what I always told her! As she got more mature, one day she said, ‘Okay, I need some coaching,’ and there we were.” When Kenna was growing up, they would host other barrel racers and families at their ranch who were in town for spring Texas rodeos, and often the moms would “switch kids” to work on things, finding that the younger counterparts always listened better to someone who wasn’t their parent. When Kelly was teaching clinics, she would remind other parents that no matter how many times they advised their kids on something, that same advice coming from someone else (Kelly) was always more impactful. Once the Kaminskis got through the challenging years (“the attitude with mom thing” as Kelly labeled it with a laugh), Kenna really started to shape a career path all to herself. “Kenna is very coachable,” Kelly said. “She really listens well and she likes to learn new things. She’s constantly studying and trying to get better and work on her horsemanship. I would say she’s one of the Kenna Kaminski (left) and Kelly Kaminski (right) are much more than just mother and daughter they are best friends and rodeo travel partners. Although they admit there are still heated discussions at times, they both truly respect and are thankful for each other. Photo by William Kierce



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