HYRUM — Kristen “Krazy Ani” Lloyd took a break from robbing trains Monday. Instead, she spent the day drawing cartoons for students at Lincoln Elementary.
Lloyd is one of several cowboys and cowgirls who will be singing, yodeling, doodling and rope spinning in local schools this week in advance of the annual Cowboy Rendezvous, taking place this Thursday through Saturday at Mountain Crest High. Funding from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation made the classroom visits possible.
This will be Lloyd’s first time performing at the Cowboy Rendezvous, but she’s no stranger to the lifestyle. She spends her days as Krazy Ani, the infamous train robber who leads the Soldier Hollow Gang in plundering unsuspecting tourists at the Heber Valley Railroad.
Before turning to a life of crime, Lloyd grew up as a farm girl in Bear Lake County, Idaho, where she milked cows for 13 years. In her presentations to six different grade levels at Lincoln Elementary, Lloyd explained that one of her bovine friends, named Honeybee, made a special impression on her. She rode on Honeybee’s back, tied her hair in pigtails and drew “cowboy cartoons” featuring the cow.
A first-grade student asked Lloyd what happened to Honeybee.
Lloyd said she got old and passed away.
“That’s what happens with animals sometimes, huh?” Lloyd said to the class. “But that’s OK. That’s why I draw pictures of her, so I can always keep her alive in my heart.”
After sketching out a cartoon of Honeybee for the class — featuring an incredibly long tongue, big eyes and a tuft of hair tied in pigtails — Lloyd invited the class to create their own cartoon characters. She said the cool thing about art is that you can make anything you want.
“Give them big eyes; give them tiny eyes; give them big ears; give them tiny ears,” Lloyd said. “You get to decide how your character looks.”
One student felt like drawing zombie robots, another sketched a pair of bunny-human people, and several decided to draw pictures of a family pet that had passed away.
Lloyd said her experience sharing her cartoons for kids Monday was inspiring. Years ago, a cowgirl visited her elementary school, which she said started her on the journey to be a cowgirl.
“She was doing trick roping and inspired me that, ‘Well, I could do this too,’ and if she hadn’t come to my school, I don’t think I would have picked up on it, and I’m so grateful that she did,” Lloyd said.
She said entertaining kids is her way of paying it forward. Some of the students may be struggling with things in their own lives, she said, and she wants to show that anyone can be anyone and do anything.
For her, that means representing the values associated with the Western traditions and the cowboy lifestyle. She grew up watching Roy Rogers and Gene Autry and said she always admired them.
“They were always wanting to do the right thing and always wanting to be the heroes, the good guy and helping others,” Lloyd said. “That inspired me.”
At the Cowboy Rendezvous this weekend, Lloyd will be performing with the likes of Billy Dean, Dave Stamey, Mary Kaye and Paul Bliss. Lloyd’s talents go beyond cartoons. She sings and performs Western music with the guitar and fiddle. She can also be found playing the guitarron and vihuela in a mariachi band at Brigham Young University.