By night, Kelsea Graham is a Milton Police Officer, patrolling the streets to keep the community safe. By day, she is an award-winning barrel racer, competing on her off days with her horse, Hunter.
She began the rodeo sport as a child, growing up in a family where the women she looked up to competed in the sport.
“I’ve been doing it [barrel racing] just about my whole life,” Graham said. “My mom and my aunt did it while I was growing up. I traveled with my aunt a lot before I got my own horse, and I’d ride with her, and we went to rodeos all over the Southeast. I got my own horse when I was 10.”
When she isn’t working on the Milton Police Department’s night shift, you can find Graham in Ball Ground with her horse, Hunter, a 5-year-old Quarter Horse she’s had since 2020. They travel throughout the Southeast for competitions.
But, because she works weekends every-other weekend, there are shows she and Hunter aren’t able to compete in. She says Hunter is still learning, but he’s been consistently placing in the competitions they enter.
“I think he has the opportunity to be up there at the top, it just takes time. With my schedule, we’re probably going a little slower than some people would,” she said. “But he’s doing really well, he’s a very good horse.”
Graham started with the Milton Police Department in June 2020. While in school, she interned with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), where she had a supervisor suggest working in Milton after graduation because of the sizable equestrian population she would identify with.
“I think being an equestrian myself and working in a community that has so many horses is helpful,” she said. “We have so many farms in the city, and I’m able to connect with the community in that way, over shared experiences.”
She said she’s able to help whenever horses get out – which is a big concern for her – assisting to wrangle the horses and speak with the owners.
“Officer Graham is an exceptional officer who takes her job very seriously,” said Milton Police Capt. Jason Griffin, who oversees the Uniform Patrol Division. “She’s highly motivated and truly cares about the community she serves. We’re lucky to have her.”