COLORADO SPRINGS. – Some know her as a talented trick roper, others as a rodeo organizer alongside her husband, ProRodeo Hall of Fame stock contractor Harry Vold. But Karen Vold considers herself to be a Girl Friday – that is, someone who does a lot behind the scenes – and it’s that multi-faceted talent that earned her the 2016 PRCA Donita Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It’s quite a shock, and an awesome compliment, because I thought the world of her (Barnes), she was a very dear friend,” Karen Vold said. “I consider my title as a Girl Friday – someone who does a lot of different things – I multitask in the background. Rodeo takes a lot of people behind the scenes to make what happens in the arena successful, and there’s a lot of people who do those things and don’t get acknowledged – people at the gates, selling tickets, the offices – they are Girl Friday or Guy Friday.”
Her father, the late Andy Womack, was a ProRodeo Hall of Fame clown and it was through his connections to the sport that Karen was introduced to the art of trick riding. She was just 14 years old when she made her first appearance as a trick rider.
“It was just something that appealed to me – when your heart wants to do something, you follow your dream,” Karen Vold said. “The highlight of my life was as a kid, working the Phoenix Jaycee’s Rodeo since that was my dad’s last rodeo as a clown.”
After marrying Harry, the couple put on many of the country’s biggest rodeos, and at one time they worked rodeos in 11 different states.
“The joke in the family is I’ve been a member (of the PRCA) longer than Harry,” Karen Vold said.
For the last 28 years, she and her former student, Linda Scholtz, have taught trick riding to students from around the world at the Red Top Ranch Trick Riding School in Avondale, about 20 miles outside of Pueblo, Colo.
“As long as they keep coming, I’ll keep teaching,” Karen Vold said. “That’s what you do when you can’t trick ride any more. My family would ask me what I would do when I stopped trick riding and I said I didn’t want to talk about it – so then I became a coach.”
The inaugural PRCA Donita Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Barnes in 2011.
“I was so pleased when they created the honor in her name because she so rightly deserved it,” Karen Vold said.
Art and Linda Alsbaugh were the recipients in 2012, then Fred and Norma Dorenkamp won it in 2013. Quail Dobbs received the award in 2014, and Cotton Rosser was last year’s winner.
All other year-end PRCA awards will be announced at the 2016 PRCA Awards Banquet, Nov. 30 at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas.