“I started riding alone when I was three years old,” she says. ” I had my own pony. Then, when I was six years old, I started entering horse shows with an old rope horse of my dad’s.
“He was a 15-year-old Ed Echols gelding named Bill and I showed him in reining, pleasure, and cutting until I was ten years old. At that age, I started entering junior rodeos on him and I rode him in competition for two years. He was a small horse, about 14-1 hands, and I worked every event on him-barrels, poles, roping, cutting, flags, everything. He was very versatile.” Riding Bill, Jimmie won more than 100 trophies. She joined the American Junior Rodeo Association, when she was ten years of age, and that same year won the Bob Crosby award as the world’s most typical cowgirl. The following year she was the girls’ breakaway calf roping champion and a year later she was the barrel racing champion. She won that junior barrel racing championship on Bill when she was 12 years old and he was over 20.
When Bill turned 21, they retired him. Today he is 32 and has the run of the ranch at Valley Mills. He has his own stall and a pasture.
When Jimmie was in her teens, her big love was calf roping. She says she lost interest in barrel racing when she lost her good horse to retirement.
When she was 14 years old, she won another calf roping championship in the AJRA. Her freshman year in high school, she was second in breakaway roping in the Texas High School Rodeo Association. Two years later she won the state high school championship.
It was while she was in high school that she bought Robin Flit Bar from Rebecca Tyler of Texas. They felt he was a good barrel horse prospect because quite a few Flit Bar horses had excelled in that event. The bay, that she nicknamed Billy, was a two-year-old when Jimmie got him. He was halter broke but had no other training. A friend of hers, Marty Petska, broke Billy and started him on barrels when he was a three year-old. Then, Jimmie took him home and rode him on the ranch for a year without even showing him a barrel. When she went away to college, she took Billy with her.