Success in rodeo followed Jimmie to college at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She was on the rodeo team there all four years in college. During those four years, her girls’ team qualified to go to the national college rodeo finals four times. In 197 4, the Sam Houston State girls won the NIRA team championship.
Jimmie competed in all three girls’ events in college: barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying. She won the all-around championship in the southern region all four years that she was in college and went on to win three national collegiate championships. In 1974, she was national all-around and barrel racing champion. In 1975, she was the barrel racing champ and was runner-up to the all-around in the NIRA.
For two years, Jimmie fought a friendly duel for barrel racing honors with Colette Graves Avery of Hardtner, Kansas. In 1973, Colette won the NIRA barrel racing championship. Jimmie was second. They saw each other for the first time that year at the NIRA finals in Bozeman, Montana. Then, in 1974, Jimmie won the NIRA barrel racing championship and Colette was runner-up.
In December of 1973, Colette joined the professional Girls Rodeo Association. In early 197 4, Jimmie joined the same association. They battled back and forth all year for the Rookie of the Year title. Going into the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in December of ’74, Jimmie had $10,883 and was in second place in the standings. Colette was right behind her in third place with $9,171. The number-one girl, Jeana Felts, was not a rookie and neither was number four. So, it was a battle between. Jimmie and Colette.
During the ten-performance rodeo, Colette won four go-rounds, was never worse than fourth in any go-round, and won the average for a total $2,800. This moved her ahead of Jimmie by $163 and won her the title of GRA Rookie of the Year.
The 1975 season belonged to Jimmie in just about everything that she entered. Which of her 1975 championships means the most?