2022 Black Hills Stock Show Horse People of the Year: Paul & Jana Griemsman
Paul and Jana Griemsman of Griemsman Performance Horses were “shocked” to hear that they had been selected for Horse People of the Year by the Black Hills Stock Show committee, but for anyone who knows their reputation, it is no surprise. The BHSS livestock and marketing director, Amanda Kammerer, says the Griemsmans are huge players in the horse industry and are very involved in the horse sale. They were chosen by a nomination process and selected by the committee.
2022 will mark two decades the Griemsmans have consigned horses to the Black Hills Stock Show Truck Defender Horse Sale. According to them, it’s their primary sale of the year. “We don’t prepare anywhere close to this many horses for any other sale,” they said.
Paul and Jana met while attending college at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyoming in 1995. They dated for several years, were married in 2002, and have a son, Laken, who is 7 years old.
Paul has roped, trained, and marketed horses for his entire life. He is most notably a “switch-ender,” as capable of winning on the head side as the heel side. As a header, he won the 1995 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association title, is a Mountain States Circuit Champion, and in 1997 was 16th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association standings. As a heeler, he was the 2010 Badlands Circuit Finals Champion and Dodge National Circuit Finals Champion. These abilities with a rope complement his career perfectly, as he is able to use his talents to put solid foundations on rope horse prospects.
Jana has an impressive rodeo resumé, as well. She was the Badlands Circuit reserve champion barrel racer in 2007, and ten years later, she was crowned the Badlands Circuit Finals Average and Year-End Champion in 2017. The same year, she was 18th in the world, nearly making the National Finals Rodeo, until her horse tragically got sick and later passed away. She was inducted into the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center’s Hall of Champions in 2021.
Jana, along with her sister, NFR qualifier Jill Moody, has always enjoyed riding barrel horses. Jana was a radiology technologist for 10 years in Rapid City, but later found her true calling was right at home. “I’d be at work all day and come home and try to ride, and I thought to myself, ‘this isn’t what I want to do,’” she says. Paul was more than supportive and told her, “Quit–and let’s do this together.”
Both Paul and Jana ride their sale geldings, but Jana also tends to the finer details that keep the operation running. Like most rodeo and ranch wives, she wears many hats: at-home veterinarian, cook, cleaner, videographer, but says that her most important role is being a mother.
It takes a unique relationship to work together on a daily basis, but the Griemsmans work toward a common goal, which makes it simple. “We’re both working for what is ours. The better we work together, the more we grow our business and the better it is for our horses. We know what needs to be done and we do it,” says Jana.
Most of all, the pair love horses. “We do this to make a living, but yet we do it for the horse,” they say. They always encourage potential clients to come try horses and visit with them to find the right fit. “We want them to go to their forever home,” they say. The end goal is a happy horse and a happy owner.
Their motto is “Honest horses, honest answers,” and the Griemsmans strive to maintain that reputation with every interaction. With their combined decades of expertise, they are able to determine whether a horse is right for a person or not. “Obviously you can’t make everybody happy, but we really do try,” says Paul.
Samantha Johnson of SJ Equine Promotions does the bulk of the marketing for Griemsman Performance Horses and plays an indispensable role. She takes professional photos of sale or promotional horses, takes and produces videos, manages websites and social media accounts. Working with Paul Griemsman sparked her business. “I give Paul all the credit for getting my business started. In the beginning he even set my prices for me because I had no idea what I was doing,” she says. Paul and Jana are grateful for her work, as it leaves them time to spend with their horses and family.
The couple are enjoying teaching the next generation, their son, although there is no pressure from them to compete. Paul and Jana believe that raising Laken in the western lifestyle, surrounded by grounded people, will provide their child with the foundation to respect people and animals and show kindness to all.
The Griemsmans appreciate the work the BHSS committee does with the horse sale, saying that it gets bigger and better every year. “We love it. We think the location change has been a huge convenience for the buyers and the sellers, which keeps everybody happy,” they say. Overall, the committee is a pleasure to work with, open to suggestions, and they have always been pleased with the job they do. “It’s our hometown Stock Show, so we’ll do everything we can to promote it,” Jana says.
In the past, the Griemsmans have consigned the high selling horse at the BHSS Summer Sale in 2019, and they have also been the second-high sellers in the winter sale. In 2022, they will ride 12 total horses in the sale, with three personal and nine customer horses.
Acording to the Griemsmans, the Black Hills Stock Show draws “friends from near and far” to Rapid City during the winter months. It gives ranchers a chance to come to town, and it gives Griemsmans a chance to visit with their previous clients and customers, a testament to their ongoing friendships and good reputation. “It’s all about reputation,” says Jana.
The 2022 BHSS Truck Defender Horse Sale begins Friday, Jan. 28 at 8 a.m. with the preview, followed by sale at 1 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 29 the preview is at 8 a.m., sale at 1 p.m.
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