Kaleb, Kanin’s wife, Sydney, and a family friend, J.R. Vezain, were with Kim at the family’s Lane 14 home when the accident occurred. Kim was already off her horse when something spooked the horses, and as they scattered, she was knocked down and kicked in the head by a horse, killing her instantly.
“In just the snap of a finger, she was with our Lord,” Kanin said.
Her family knows that’s exactly where Kim wanted to be.
“She always made comments about wanting to see Jesus,” Kanin said. “She’s with him. She’d want us to smile and rejoice that she’s where she wanted to be ... she loved the Lord more than anything.
“... If I had to describe mom in one word, it’d be love,” Kanin added. “The Bible says we’ll recognize them by their love and their fruit, and she had the fruits of the spirit — gentleness, kindness; but it says the greatest of those is love ... to describe my mom in one word, it’s love.”
That love and her constant faith and trust in God remain with her husband, Mike, and sons Klayten, Kanin and Kaleb.
“She did everything like she was doing it for the Lord,” said Kaleb.
“She showed us how to have passion in everything we did,” Kanin added. “She taught us how to have true love for something. I’d say that’s the legacy she’s leaving.”
Kim and Mike raised each of their sons to pursue life to the fullest.
Her oldest son, Klayten, served two tours in Iraq, with the last one ending in September 2009. He is currently attending the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas and is employed by the Park County Sheriff’s Office, working at the detention center.
“She loved talking to Klayten on the phone,” Kanin said. “Whatever time of day it was when Klayten would call (from Iraq), she would answer.”
Her next son, Kanin, is a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. Kanin and his wife, Sydney, are expecting their first child, a baby boy named Kasen, who is due to arrive in September. Kim was so excited to meet her first grandchild, the family said.
Her youngest son, Kaleb, is the 2008 PRCA/Resistol Saddle Bronc Riding Rookie of the Year and attends college in Texas.
A family friend reflected that Kim’s three boys all have different traits and talents, but only one is a horseman — Kaleb.
“He’s just as passionate about it as she was,” Kanin said. “He has the same heart’s desire for it.”
Kim loved riding horses with Kaleb, and in the weeks leading up to her death, she went riding with Kaleb every day. Her love for horses is the legacy she leaves with Kaleb, he said.
“That had the biggest impact on me — the connection mom and I had with horses,” Kaleb said.
With one son a soldier who served in Iraq, another who rides bulls and a third riding broncs, Kim had plenty of reasons to worry as a mother — but instead, she always trusted in God, knowing her sons were in his hands, Kanin said.
“My mom knew that riding bulls is what I was born to do,” Kanin said. “She supported me more than anyone else, and pushed me more than anybody.”
In the days following Kim’s death, the family has experienced an outpouring of support and condolences. More than 700 people attended Kim’s memorial service on Sunday afternoon, evidence of the many lives she influenced.
“Mom didn’t like to draw attention to herself,” Kanin said. “But she’d stand up and defend our Lord. She would be bold in her faith ... she didn’t say a lot, but when she did talk, everyone listened.”
“She touched a lot of people’s hearts,” Klayten said.
Hundreds of condolences also were sent to the family online via various websites, including Facebook and the Tribune’s site.
“The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association sends its sincere sympathy to the Asay family at this impossibly sad time,” wrote Kendra Santos, PRCA director of communications, in an online comment. “Two of Kim and Mike’s sons, Kanin and Kaleb, are highly successful and highly regarded members of the rodeo community, and their other son, Klayten, has honorably served our country in the Army. On behalf of their countless friends in the extended rodeo family, heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Asay family.”
“I am not at all surprised to read all the kind words and support as Mike, Kim and family are so special to so many,” wrote Kristi (Asay) Harder, her sister-in-law. “For all who knew and loved Kim, I share in your heartache. Life as we’ve known it will be forever altered, but she has left a beautiful legacy in her children.”
Among the many lessons Kim has left to her family, she taught how to live each moment to the fullest. And, of course, to love.
“Tell those you love that you love them every day,” Kanin said. “You just don’t know when that day’s going to come.”