One of the most respected and sucessful event professionals in the nation, Kimberly Gora, changes from her corporate high heels into her boots every night to ride and compete on “Sixx”
If you tuned in last week for our episode with Winter Guesman, you got a sneak peak at our subject of this week’s episode, Kimberly Gora. As we learned, Kimberly and Winter met through a horse and like Winter, Kimberly leads a double life, one in the corporate world and one in the arena.
Host Dena Kirkpatrick and Kimberly became acquaintances when she attended a clinic of Dena’s last year. Kimberly’s story is very unique, unlike anyone’s we have told on the show before. She did not grow up around horses, in fact her first encounter with the sport of barrel racing was at age 40.
Kimberly grew up in Huntington Beach, California on the sand far from the dirt of a rodeo arena. After finding her way to her career in hospitality and events, Kimberly found herself uprooting her life from California and moving to the bright lights of Vegas to take the Assistant Director of Conference Services/ Catering Sales position with the opulent Caesars Palace®. From her leadership and success in that position, Kimberly was given the opportunity to go on board with the Wolfgang Puck Restaurant Group in 1999, and the rest is history. Now an Associate Partner and Director of Catering and Sales, Kimberly has conducted intimate affairs to extravagant galas for the most elite, VIP clientele in the world from Presidents, professional sports teams, to Forbes A-list billionaires. Whatever Kimberly has set her mind to, she has accomplished ten fold, and that determination is transferring over to her barrel racing as well.
After accompanying her Grandfather to the races as a kid, she became enamored with horses but had never had the opportunity at any hands on experience. She starting riding lessons just 6 short years ago, and like most of us, Kimberly was hooked. Not knowing how to saddle or drive a truck and trailer at first, Kimberly challenged herself and dove in head first. She has had a couple of step-up horses who taught her a lot. But now she owns an open rodeo horse, “Sixx”, whom she competes on at jackpots and rodeos.
One of the great aspects of barrel racing discussed in Kimberly’s episode, is that no matter what walk of life we come from, everyday presents a challenge. We are either challenging ourselves as riders or our horses to be at the best of our ability, and most of the time we are working on both simultaneously. We all share a common thread of competitiveness and passion. For some, our passion was cultivated at a young age innately, and for some it was found later in life by happenstance. The love of horses brings something into one’s life you cannot explain in words. It becomes apart of who you are and your existence and I think we all can vouch that horses have helped us trust and build confidence in ourselves in ways we didn’t even know we needed. It’s an everyday commitment and provides a constant in the hectic lives we lead. That’s why we love Kimberly’s story so much, she came by the sport unconventionally and is successful in a demanding career in the city, but shares the same love and passion that we all feel for the sport and our horses. She is all in, all the time… and we’d have to argue there is no better way to be!
Public Relations Coordinator