Features & Stories
The Lady on Red

-by Liz Twan

Until Stampede 1996 no one had ever finished ahead of Bill Chelsea in the present day Mountain Race.

Then the horn sounded and the race of 1996 was on. As the racers approached the first corner it was startling to see that the lead horse was sorrel in colour and that his rider was wearing red. Bill Chelsea's mount, "Mr. Little", is buckskin or dun coloured and Bill always wore blue.

Who was that out in front? When they hit the track it was the same sorrel horse and the rider was a LADY in red. As they neared the finish line there was no doubt as to who was going to win. They never gave up any ground once they hit the track and it was easy to see the horse wasn't even giving it "his all".

So, who was the lady of the mountain? Her name is Kathleen Gottfriedson and she hails from the tiny town of Cawston, BC.

Kathleen is a 32 year old mother of three. She and her husband Bud have three daughters, Rachel (11yrs.), Randi (7 yrs.) and Cindi (3 yrs.). They raise cattle and sell alfalfa hay on their ranch in Cawston. Kathleen's family support her in her racing career and if they have any fears for her, they keep them to themselves.

Kathleen was born in Coulee Dam, Washington on December 8, 1964. She was raised in Nespelem, Wash. with 4 brothers, 3 sisters and a half brother. Kathleen is the baby of the family.

She was educated at Nespelem Elementary, Coulee Dam High School and finished her education in Riverside, California for her Senior year. Kathleen was raised by her late father Abe Dick and her mother Naomi. Abe was a logger all his life, a profession all of his sons have followed him into. Naomi worked in the forest industry also, in fire control as a lookout. Two of Kathleen's brothers rode in rodeos for a while and also in the Omak Suicide Race, which Kathleen also rides in. She is a member of the Colville Tribe in Washington State.

Kathleen won the mountain race on a 9 year old quarterhorse gelding she calls "Red". His registered name is "Dodads Flashy Boy" and he lives up to that name! Kathleen and Bud attended a horse auction about seven years ago and first saw "Red" as he came into the auction ring. Bidding was brisk but the owner decided the final bid wasn't high enough and took the horse out of the sale. The Gottfriedson's followed to the parking lot and after some dickering became the new owners of a greenbroke colt they called "Red".

Kathleen has done all the breaking and training of her horse and uses him only for racing. He was the first of her horses to start winning races for her. No one else rides "Red". Kathleen starts working all her horses in January and continues on throughout the summer. She and her four footed partners put in some long hard days training but it is evident that the conditioning pays off for all of them. Kathleen and "Red" trained for a couple of months for the Mountain race and as they had no idea how long our course was, they trained for a half mile distance and hoped it would be enough. I think they got it right!

"Red" is an extremely sure footed horse according to his owner, so Kathleen has all the confidence in the world in him. Kathleen says he is very smart and that gives her a good feeling. If she had any fear at all, she says she would not race.

Kathleen, "Red", and her other mounts race mostly in Washington State and at Pendleton, Oregon. The lady and her horses do very well. They'll be back.

Other articles by Liz Twan

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