Halloween is generally the time kids want to be all dressed up in scary and fun costumes.
Some adults like to get in on the excitement too, and TallyAnn is one of them.
Likely first recognized as a cowgirl, TallyAnn Klitzke is much more. A diversely talented educator, youth counselor, coach, pharmaceutical salesperson, and most gifted artist.
Artistic creativity is partially where costuming for Halloween comes in. TallyAnn combines her energetic art talents with her fondness for everything horses to have fun and a good time.
“It’s been a tradition to design and make Halloween costumes for my horse,” she said. The most recent ones include Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, and Maleficent Fire-Breathing Dragon.
“Diversified” is likely the only encompassing description for the ambitious woman who’d probably be satisfied with “TallyAnn is a cowgirl.”
Raised in western Kansas, TallyAnn graduated from Quinter High School and then received degrees from Fort Hays State University. She has a bachelor’s in education and a Master of Science in school counseling.
Now making her home on an 80-acre farm near Windom in McPherson County, TallyAnn is a fulltime pharmaceutical sales representative.
“I have three dogs that greet me with happy tails when I return from work each day. I love them to pieces,” she said. “I also have some loyal beef customers in which I enjoy feeding out black Angus steers for butcher.”
Horses have always been close to her heart. “I’m often accused of being ‘born on a horse,’ however my riding didn’t begin quite that early,” Tally Ann said. “My mother Karen Stewart was raised on a horse ranch being an accomplished rider and competitor. I was seven when I started riding.”
Riding her neighbor’s sorrel stocking-legged, blaze-faced feedlot gelding Ponch, TallyAnn participated in her first horse show. “That was the beginning of riding at Kansas Western Horseman’s Association (KWHA) shows as a child and teenager,” she said.
For her eighth birthday, Tally Ann got her very own horse. “Mom came home on a frigidly night with a great surprise, a tri-colored Paint weanling named Thistledown,” TallyAnn reflected.
After Thistledown, TallyAnn rattled off more than a dozen horses she’s owned and ridden throughout decades. “Stub, Ranger, Booker T, Slammer, Blondie, Jim, Bear, Pride, Flaxxy, Cactus, Elvis, Ace, Wasp, and more,” she counted. “That leads us to where I am today with Presley and Fleetwood. It would be nice to have another horse for visitors to ride.
“Elvis was my super star for years and I was heart-broken when he passed away about a year ago. Ladies and gentlemen Elvis has left the building for the very last time,” TallyAnn said.
“Training my childhood mounts to compete certainly lent a hand to the rider I am today,” she added.
Horses are expensive hobbies and even more so for young cowgirls. “I aways had farm jobs lined up for money to buy winter horse hay,” TallyAnn said.
Highlight of the cowgirl’s college years was being crowned Miss Rodeo Kansas 1996. She swept the competition including Miss Congeniality, public speaking, horsemanship, modeling and more.
TallyAnn finished in the top five at the Miss Rodeo America pageant during the 1997 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. She placed high in state promotion display, photo album, and speech competitions.
Attending Fort Hays State University, TallyAnn was a member of the rodeo club. “But I did not compete on the rodeo team because I was working every weekend, putting myself through college,” she pointed out. “I was in my 40’s when I made my final student loan payment, but the struggle was worth its weight in gold.”
TallyAnn served as art and tech instructor as well as track and cross-country coach at Lyndon and Holcomb school districts. “I implemented a discipline-based curriculum motivating students to excel,” she said. “Coaching strategies highlighted the value of athletic competition in future careers.”
For several different companies, TallyAnn has worked in pharmaceutical sales the past 15 years earning numerous awards. “I have sustained success with top 10 percent performance,” she said. “I have a tenacious drive, passion to make-a-difference, corporate integrity, and unwavering ethical behavior.
“I currently work for Idorsia, a new company to the United States.” TallyAnn noted.
She’s competed in the Central Plains Rodeo Association, Kansas Professional Rodeo Association, National Saddle Club Association (NSCA), and team sorting.
Among standout memories for TallyAnn is winning the NSCA champion saddle at Verndale, Minnesota, in 2011. She won the barrel racing at both the Marquette and Brookville rodeos a few years back.
After an eight-year hiatus, TallyAnn returned to KWHA competitions this year. Riding her chestnut mare Presley at the 2022 KWHA Show, TallyAnn won the highpoint women division 18-50.
She also placed in the top five at the 2022 NSCA Kansas O-Mok-See patterned horse racing.
Arena successes have not been without setbacks. “I hold the record for a history of being involved in some of the most unbelievable ‘freak’ accidents,” TallyAnn said.
“Yes, it takes an athletic well-trained horse with a will to run competitively at the state and national levels,” TallyAnn admitted. “However, equally important is the horse be sound minded, able to quickly change gears between speed events and judged classes.
“Presley is one of the most even-tempered, no-nonsense horses I’ve had the pleasure of swinging my leg over,” TallyAnn continued. “I have yet to find anything she isn’t willing to do with a smile upon her muzzle.”
A big buckskin gelding called “Fleetwood” has been on the “backburner,” but TallyAnn looks forward to his arena competition.
“Everywhere we go, Fleetwood brings his big bright personality too. His antics crack me up on a daily basis,” she said. “My plan is to finally have him going strong by the upcoming season.”
Reflecting importance of horses to her during her youth and adult life, TallyAnn is eager to help others with their horses. “I give riding lesson to a few kids each summer,” she noted.
“I’m competitive no matter what I am doing, and this doesn’t hurt when your career is in sales” TallyAnn said.
“Aside from riding, fishing with my dad, Steve Klitzke is absolutely my favorite thing. I cherish every second, catching or not,” TallyAnn insisted. “Here, we fish for largemouth bass and go to Colorado for trout. I plan to come back as a fisherman in my next life.”
Looking to her future, TallyAnn assured, “I will own and ride horses for as long as I’m well and able.”