Kirk & I had a great time on the Podcast…. so much so he forgot to mention during recording he competed in a show “Extreme Cowboy Backcountry Invitational” in which he won the Grand Champion & the Top Colt buckle.
As Kirk tells it…”I was born and raised in the interior of BC, near the widely known Shuswap lakes. I hail from a large ranching and blue collar background. Our family is large, but we are quite close knit. I was raised along-side cousins who are more like siblings and we all share common interests in horses, ranching, hunting and sports. Having family that ranched in BC and AB meant that we were on the road, between the two, often. After high-school, I migrated to AB (GOD’s COUNTRY) because it’s always felt like home to me. It’s where I wanted to be. I live on a ranch, near Okotoks, AB and still spend a great deal of my time on the highway, living my best life. I love all sports but I have to admit that Skijor season is a HUGE highlight for me! When I can mix my best friends, horses, snow and speed, it doesn’t get much better! Towing a skier/snowboarder down a track, at mock-chicken speed, is a thrill beyond measure! It’s even better when we toss someone on a lounge and team-up two horses to rip them down the runway, in front of thousands of screaming fans! I teach Grade 2 and Gym, at a Catholic school, by day and it truly lights up my life. Each day is a new adventure and the energy we share is inspiring and life-giving! Our family has encountered a great deal of loss, both young and old. From losing my youngest brother, cousins, several uncles and my grandparents, that loss, either natural in progression or sudden has both deepened my faith and our family unity. We can look at loss and be saddened, which is OK, but we can also use it to celebrate the time we did share together and use those memories/experiences to better the lives of others, knowing that would make them smile. I live life in the fast lane and have faced several injuries along the way. I’ve broken many bones and lived through several fairly traumatic accidents both in vehicles and with livestock. I’ve had a major skull fracture and roughly 15 concussions. I’ve experienced struggles with permanent headaches, speech deficits and memory inconsistency but I also refuse to let any of these minor side-affects slow me down. I’ve aptly earned the nickname “Gongshow” and it’s a bit of a handle that outlines who I am… Life is meant to be lived and I plan on sliding into my pine-box yelling – NOW THAT WAS A RIDE! At this point in my life, I don’t rodeo but it’s always been and continues to be a huge part of our family and who we are.
I love the sport and many of my friends are part of that community. Given my time constraints, I prefer to ride on the ranch, move cows with family/friends, explore the backcountry that surrounds us and find cool spots for unique images… I focus on conditioning and establishing quality horses that can compete in multiple disciplines. I’ve won several invitational “cowboy challenges” for top-colt and all-around titles.
To me, the “West” is a way of life. It’s a culture that embodies hard-work and community. The West is rich in history and grounded in traditions that have been carried forward for generations. Authenticity and integrity are two of the most important aspects of the Western way of life, to me. In my images, I aim to share authentic experiences and those who have a story to share. Above all, I aim to portray our western way of life in an appealing and reputable manner.”
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“Cowboy” By: Kolt Barber
“The Ropin Pen” By: Trent Willmon
MC Podcast Production & Editing: Tyler Hillenbrand