Another Summer Olympian: Alayna Snell Kidd attended 1984 Olympics, now lives in Steamboat |

Another Summer Olympian: Alayna Snell Kidd attended 1984 Olympics, now lives in Steamboat

Alayna Snell Kidd barrel races now, but competed in fencing at the 1984 Olympics for the Virgin Islands. She also qualified for the boycotted 1980 Olympics in track and field. She and her family now live full time in Steamboat Springs. (Courtesy Alayna Kidd)

Steamboat Springs resident Alayna Snell Kidd has competed in many sports as a professional, qualifying for the Olympics twice in 1980 and 1984. Now a semi-professional barrel racer, Snell Kidd doesn’t like to share her past, so few know about her Olympic appearance and many athletic accolades. She thinks it’s about time she starts sharing her accomplishments.

Snell Kidd was born in South Africa and raised there. She grew up on a ranch, target shooting, riding horses and running nearly every morning. In 1979, her family moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Snell Kidd is one of many Olympians who have ties to Steamboat Springs, which is mostly known for producing winter athletes. Three summer Olympians grew up in Steamboat Springs and a few others have close ties to the valley.

She went to Texas A&M to run track, but ended up playing polo for them. She qualified to run the 400- and 800-meter race at the 1980 Olympics, but most countries boycotted and didn’t attend the games in Russia that year. Four years later, she was slated to travel to England to play polo, but had also qualified for the 1984 Olympics in fencing.

Snell Kidd picked up modern pentathlon while in Texas, training at Fort Sam Houston. The modern pentathlon is composed of fencing, swimming, riding, shooting and running. Fencing was the only event Kidd wasn’t roughly familiar with, and she caught on quickly. She placed 40th in the individual foil event at the Olympics in Los Angeles.

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A few years later, in 1993, she took bronze at the Central American and Carribean Games in the equestrian team event.

She said her athleticism and many talents are thanks to her parents. Her father ran track at Stanford and played golf. Her mother was an international champion wind surfer.

“It’s just genetic,” she said.

She married Dave, a man from Wyoming, starting her life as a “Carribean Cowgirl.” Until two years ago, she went back and forth between Steamboat Springs and the Virgin Islands, but now she’s full time in the Yampa Valley. Her children grew up and learned to ski here. Serina ski raced at University of Denver and David Jr. is attending Harvard Law School.

Snell Kidd focuses on riding now, raising horses and barrel racing. She has considered becoming a professional and even applied for her pro card this year, but opted not to go pro.

She also has a jewelry business called Spur Ranch, combining her Caribbean roots and cowgirl aesthetic. Her husband also manages Impulse on Lincoln, which was a bit of an impulse buy, thanks to their daughter, Serina, who pointed out the empty storefront and insisted it was a great location at the wise age of 13.

Snell Kidd isn’t totally sure why she keeps finding ways to compete and try new things, but she’s certain that show jumping and equestrian events are her absolute favorite.

“That one you’ve got to actually train more for. The other sports just came easy to me. I never trained, just went to competitions and competed,” she said. “It’s harder. It’s more challenging.”

“It gives me freedom,” she added. “And makes me feel good.”

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