Behind the Slide – Tami Wilson, Colorado

If you’re walking around a horse show and see Tami Wilson with what appears to be a rope bag, don’t be fooled. That’s a pouch, holding something far more interesting than a rope. 

“Camden (Tami’s son) went with my brother-in-law to pick up a camel and he came home and told me we needed to get a kangaroo. And I agreed.” Although the family had been around exotic animals, they had never owned any.

This Colorado ranch family had mares in Texas to breed, which gave Tami the perfect opportunity to connect with a veterinarian down there to get her first kangaroo. That was almost six years ago, and now Tami has five kangaroos at home. 

“We got them because we live in the middle of nowhere and they’re relaxing to me. I go out and just sit with them in the pen a lot. They’re amazing animals, and the more I learn about them, the more amazing they are to me.” 

But how does one tame a kangaroo? At six months old, Tami reaches into the mother kangaroo’s pouch and pulls the baby out. There is almost no fuss in the whole exchange. 

“They really don’t care. Usually the mom will follow one of the other females around for about 10 minutes and then she lays down and sleeps. They’re funny like that.” 

At 6 months old, the joeys only weigh about 5 pounds. This makes it easy for Tami to haul them around all over their small Colorado hometown, but she doesn’t stop there. 

It’s rare that you’ll find Tami at a horse show without a pouch holding a kangaroo. 

“They pretty much go everywhere with me, even basketball games. We got asked to leave one gym though because kangaroos aren’t allowed apparently.” 

Tami’s husband, Matt, and their son, Camden, ride and train horses at their ranch. Those horses have only encountered kangaroos in their pouches—not jumping around in all their long-tailed glory. 

The kangaroos live outside in a pen with a heated house, and most mornings Tami is greeted by the mob (herd) running around their pen. She’s amazed at how fast they are.  

“Unless there’s a lot of snow on the ground, they’re outside. It can be below zero and they’re still out there grazing and looking around. They do well in the Colorado climate. They live inside a 7-foot fence, but the intact male could jump it if he really wanted to. They have food and water, so it’s pretty good in there.” 

Tami brought 9-month-old Blossom with her to Oklahoma City for the 2020 NRHA Derby presented by Markle. COVID-19 made it difficult to get Blossom acclimated to strange surroundings and hordes of people. Although there were no spectators at this year’s event, curious exhibitors can’t help but stop Tami. It’s not uncommon for Tami to get swarmed by eager eyes when a joey pops its head out of the pouch. Matt and Camden stand by patiently as Tami gets peppered with questions.

Blossom hung out in the trailer while Camden rode Master Gallo to a 211 in the Non Pro Derby Finals on Friday. He placed in the Youth Non Pro and Levels 1–3.  

Tami expects to have a much smaller joey than 15-pound Blossom at the 2020 NRHA Futurity in November. If you spot her pouch, you just might meet your first kangaroo.