Larry Killam draws a crowd whenever he speaks. It isn’t necessarily what he says, but where he says it. In the saddle of his horse, he shares a unique ministry.
Killam didn’t grow up in a home where his family often went to church. “I didn’t read the Bible when I was a kid,” he said. He was born in 1950 at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana; since his father was active in the United States Air Force, the family moved about every two years. They lived in Ohio, Tennessee, Germany, Turkey, eventually settling in Florida. After Killam graduated from Bay High School in Panama City, Florida, in 1969, he joined the United States Air Force. The Air Force assigned him to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City.
In 1973, Killam went to Biloxi, Missouri and trained as a flight line electrician. He was commissioned in 1980 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he met his wife, Luana. They married that same year, and two years later welcomed a daughter, Amber. They spent time at bases in Oklahoma and Illinois; and, in 1983, they welcomed their son, Robert.
Killam received orders for Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1991. Two years later, he retired from the military and made Colorado his permanent home.
After settling in Latigo Trails, near Elbert, Colorado, a friend from church offered Killam a horse at no charge. “I’ve always loved horses. I always wanted to have one,” he said. Later, he purchased a second horse and began learning more about training horses. In 1994, he attended a symposium in Denver hosted by professional horse trainer John Lyons. Impressed with how Lyons incorporated the Bible into his horse training techniques, Killam researched the method and eventually felt called to create a horse ministry.
In 2002, Killam started HorseGate Ministry and started out sharing his ministry at area vacation Bible schools. He quit his job in the technology field to pursue the ministry full-time.
Years later, his wife was diagnosed with cancer. She died in 2013, and Killam said he lost his “greatest cheerleader for HorseGate Ministry.” He put aside his ministry for a year, but has slowly gotten back into it. “One of my missions for HorseGate Ministry is to get kids to read the Bible,” he said.
Killam has been involved in several children’s ministry programs such as Awana and Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church of Black Forest. He has also created four classes of his own: Sin Class (horse/archery) and W.E.S.N. (worship, evangelize, serve and no to those who keep you from Christ) for preschoolers. He also taught two other classes he originated at Iron Horse Christian Youth Ranch in Falcon.
As Killam gets back in the saddle of his horse ministry, he has plans to check out area county fairs and churches this summer, along with various schools where he can share his ministry.
NFH: Name three famous people you would like to have dinner with (deceased or alive)
Killam: John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Randolph Scott
NFH: Name something specifically you would change about our community? What is missing?
Killam: More outdoor activities for kids.
NFH: What do you like about Colorado?
Killam: I love the mountains. From our house you can see Pikes Peak really well. That’s one of the things that sold us on this house. And my wife and I just looked at each other. We didn’t even say anything. We just thought, ‘This is it!’
NFH: If you were just starting out in life, would you stick with the same career path? If not, what profession would you pursue?
Killam: I would have gone into forestry, which was my first desire. But one thing that turned me off from forestry is I found out you have to go to college. I thought it was all ‘just by-the-seat-of-your pants.’
NFH: If you had to choose one food to eat every day for the rest of your life, what food would you choose?
Killam: Fig preserves. You won’t get that unless you go into the South. You can’t find them. You take the figs off the tree and put them in a pot with TONS of sugar and boil it down. It becomes a syrupy preserve and you put it on bread or biscuits. My grandmother made it. I could live on that.
NFH: How would you spend $1 billion?
Killam: I would send most of that to children in orphanages. I would help world ministries that work with children.
NFH: What is your greatest achievement?
Killam: Raising my children to know the Lord
NFH: Who is your personal hero?
Killam: My Uncle Paul: He always reminded me of John Wayne. He was just a neat guy.
NFH: If you could time travel, what period would you visit?
Killam: 1800s: It was a time in our country when we were trying to deal with Indians and settling towns in the West. It was a time when they used horses and mules to scratch out a living.
In 2002, Larry Killam started HorseGate Ministry. One of his goals was to encourage kids to read the Bible. Photo by Angie Morlan