Growing up on a working cattle ranch, Kimmi learned the meaning of hard work at a young age. Kimmi and her sisters were the ranch helpers and were expected to ride broncs, fix fence, and care for the livestock. As the youngest sibling, a lot of the responsibility for operating the ranch fell on Kimmi’s shoulders once her sisters graduated and moved away. Kimmi has always loved being a rancher and the work that comes with it, as she started her own cow herd while in high school. She also enjoyed and dedicated a lot of her childhood years to her involvement with FFA, 4-H, and several cattlemen’s groups.
After graduating from Kim High School, Kimmi attended Trinidad State Junior College on a basketball scholarship. While attending college, she married Dave Lewis, her high school sweetheart. Upon her graduation from TSJC in 1977, Kimmi and Dave resided and began raising their family in Branson, Colorado. They then had six children in nine years, the last two being twins! Family was most important to Kimmi and Dave. They also owned and operated Dave Lewis Trucking, a cattle and feed hauling business. While Dave spent many hours in his truck, Kimmi stayed home to care for their children and livestock.
Dave was diagnosed with acute leukemia in January 2000 and passed away four short months later. Dave’s passing was a devastating loss to the Lewis family. Kimmi had two businesses to solely run and the twins in junior high, the middle two children in high school, and the oldest two in college. All six children were athletes and stayed very busy with their sports and rodeo teams. All six children received academic and athletic scholarships to attend college, and all six obtained a bachelor’s degree. The twins have both joined the professional world, one as an attorney and the other as a commercial pilot. Two of Kimmi’s children now own and operate Dave Lewis Trucking. The oldest four of Kimmi’s children are all married and have given her nine grandchildren!
Kimmi has been a lifelong Republican. She was registered to vote at 18 years old and served as an election clerk that same year. She has held every office except treasurer in the Las Animas County Republican Party. Kimmi has served as the President of the Trinidad/Las Animas County Republican Women’s Club for the last thirty years. She has regularly attended Republican Party meetings in Trinidad for over thirty years, which is more than one hundred miles from the Ranch (one way). She also proudly served as the Chair for Senate District 2 for many years.
Kimmi has devoted substantial time and money advocating for agriculture and private property rights. She battled breast cancer in 2014, but she did not let it slow her down, as she was leading the effort that year to prevent the establishment of a National Heritage Area in the seven-county region of southeastern Colorado. In the last ten years, Kimmi she has been recognized as follows:
- 2007: La Junta Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Award, received for her efforts to prevent the expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.
- 2008: R-CALF USA Director’s Award, received for her efforts to prevent the use of eminent domain to take private property in southeastern Colorado for the proposed expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.
- 2009: Graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies.
- 2009: Southern Colorado Livestock Association Cattle Woman of the Year, received in honor of her “dedication and lifetime commitment to our industry, community and our country.”
- 2012: Trinidad/Las Animas County Republican Women Award, received for her “miles traveled and [her] personal dedication to the Republican Party.”
- 2014: R-CALF USA Director’s Award, received for her efforts to prevent the designation of a proposed National Heritage Area in southeastern Colorado.