Not only is Kimberly King enthusiastic about Norfolk Southern, the "Thoroughbred of Transportation," the NS carman is passionate about a thoroughbred of her own. King's 14-year-old gelding, Cat, is the great-great-grandson of the legendary Secretariat and was a racehorse in his own right before she acquired him five years ago.
Employees can see Cat in a new NS video featuring The Lawmen, the railroad's corporate band, singing its new song "Footprints." The catchy tune, written by Rex Blancett, the band's guitarist and lead vocalist, highlights the company's sustainability efforts. In the video, Cat runs in a pasture and alongside an NS train.
King said the filming went smoothly. Cat is a quick learner, she said, and has a willing and playful personality.
"Cat has a need for speed," said King, who works in the Elrama, Pa., car shop at NS' Shire Oaks Yard. "He is spirited, bold, and has horsepower sometimes beyond control. He is a walking example of the 'Thoroughbred' of transportation."
As captured in the video, Cat's graceful movements reflect his champion bloodlines. In 1973, his famous ancestor Secretariat became the first horse in a quarter century to win the Triple Crown. Along the way, Secretariat captured America's heart and spawned a national media frenzy. Cat, known as Elite Guard during his racing days, raced in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky from age 2 until 7, accumulating 26 first- and second-place wins.
King has been riding horses since she was 6 years old. After the death of her most recent thoroughbred and comrade, Prince, King began the search for another. In 2008, while scanning the Internet for horse sales, she came across a photo of Cat. She drove about six hours to meet and ride the horse. He was exactly what she wanted.
King continues to ride and jump Cat daily. "We have a connection - he gives me a sense of security," she said. "Cat is everything I could want in a horse and I am blessed to have him as part of my life."
King joined NS' Mechanical Department in 1998, working a job more commonly held by men. King said she enjoys maintaining and repairing railcars and is not afraid to get dirty. She grew up with three brothers and was raised by her father, she said, and is comfortable in a male-dominated environment. She credits her brothers with helping her become mechanically inclined.
"My brothers were auto mechanics, so we were always working on cars and changing engines," said King. "I loved it."