Kai was born just outside of Victoria and grew up on a small ranch that his father farmed on the side. His paternal great grandparents came to South Texas from Germany. Orion Linney, foreman at the O'Connor-Tatton Salt Creek Ranch, was his great uncle. Kai wanted to be a cowhand from a young age, riding early and going to livestock auctions at seven or eight years old. “Being a cowboy is special. It gives you a good feeling inside when people know what you do. You have to love it – with the terrible hours, the low pay, the hard work you have to do; but as long as you love it, it’s like you make a million bucks a day.” Kai started working for Tom O'Connor, Jr., in the early 1980s learning under Mr. Tom, Earl Ward, Frank "Pancho" Perez and Alejandro de la Garza. Kai became foreman of the O'Connor Wexford Ranches in 1993 and continues to this day.