Born on a pickup seat on its way to Laramie, Wyoming after her mom's horse took a stumble moving cattle, Kim grew up in Northern Colorado and later Northern Idaho, raising and showing horses and livestock. She has won multitudes of awards local, state, and national showing horses both English and Western. She went to 4-H Congress for public speaking and state livestock judging team. Kim also enjoyed hunting and competing in shooting events along with helping her father on weekends with his auctioneering business. This is where Kim also learned to Auctioneer.
Kim's Junior and Senior year in high school started ponying and exercising at the local racetrack for a family friend as a job. She then moved on to be a Jockey. The money was good, but extremely rough lifestyle, even for a girl. Kim was studying pre-Veterinarian, but one weekend a group of girlfriends decided to join the Marine Corps. Out of the group of five, she was the only one that made it a career. Kim went to bootcamp November 1976 where she spent Christmas. Her mother as a joke sent a “horse turd” as a gift from her horse. Boy, that went over very well!
Kim came to 29Palms February 1977 for Communications Electronics School. The desert was a huge culture shock for a Great Northern Pacific girl. Once graduated and grounded radio repairman she was assigned to Marine Corps Combat Center Base radio/telephone which was directly across from the base stables. She then immediately worked on getting her horse to 29Plams.
In June of 1979 Kim was named the United States National Military Rodeo Queen. “It was awesome, I got to travel all over representing the Marine Corps on horseback. It was during this time that I met my fapped artillery man husband Bill Ortamond at the base stables. He really liked my horses and I honestly think that is why he married me. We got married on horseback in the brand-new barn at the Combat Center during 1980 Pioneer Days. The whole wedding was party was feeling it for the morning Parade and Rodeo that afternoon”.
In 1982 Kim was named Pioneer Days Rodeo Queen and in 1984, the Combat Center Rodeo Queen. Bill and Kim helped and competed along with their two daughters in numerous horse events throughout Southern California. Over the years Kim has helped with Pioneer Days and many other community events. She always helped her platoon enter in several Pioneer Days events such as; Outhouse Races, Arm Wrestling, Tug-o-Wars, and Demolition Derbies. Kim has learned many of her horse skills from top notch horsemen, but the one that has made the biggest impact on her as a leader of Marines, Horsewoman, and the way Kim and Bill live life, is the legendary horseman “Ray Hunt”. They became close family friends and were given the opportunity to help and travel with Ray and his wife Carolyn in the U.S. and abroad.
In 1999 Kim was asked to evaluate the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard in Barstow. After her evaluation, she agreed to take charge and make big changes in the Marines and horses, which were “BLM Wild Mustangs”. From what Kim learned from Ray Hunt, she did a lot of work retaining the older horses and four new young mustangs. She also taught the Marines to re-think how they handled the horses and not to have a perceived conception of the horses because they were mustangs. Soon many noticed a huge difference in how the Marines and horses preformed. Due to this the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard was given the distinction of leading the 2000, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, along with many other parades.
Master Gunnery Sergeant Kim Ortamond retired from Barstow in January 2005 with 28 years of distinguished service. Kim and Bill live in 29 Palms with their animals. They still work with the human and horses to better their horsemanship skills. Kim is still very active in the community and they love the desert. In the Desert you can just get on your horse and RIDE!