Racing Horses and Bustin Mutton

First let me apologize.  I know some of you have probably been losing sleep and agonizing over not knowing the outcome of the Matched Horse Race.  I’m really sorry to leave you hanging like that.

I’ve had some technical difficulties…..

IMG_3142

Before we left for Wyoming, Joe mentioned to me that my computer hard drive was almost full.  “You’re about to run out of memory on your computer,” He said.  And I thought that what he implied in that statement was this, “you’re about to run out of memory on your computer and I know you’re going to want to take a lot of pictures and videos when you’re home, so I’ll get that fixed for you before you leave so that you don’t have to worry about it.”  I mean, being married to a Senior Director at one of the leading computer hard drive companies in the world, you would think, the last thing I should have to worry about is how many gigabytes I have!

But it as it turns out, what he actually meant was, “You’re about to run out of memory on your computer.”  That’s it.  Just a statement of fact.  Nothing implied.

Men are weird.

Anyway, it turns out when your computer runs out of space, really frightening things start happening.  It starts losing pictures and videos and there are tears and headaches and cursing.  It’s not pretty.  But the lucky thing about being married to a Senior Director at a leading computer hard drive company, is that you have someone who will get you more gigabytes and move things around and figure out how to find the missing stuff and so without any further adieu, here is the conclusion to the big race.

But first I have to tell you about the Rodetto and the Mutton Bustin.

Hadley and her cousin Ashley were in the Rodetto again this year.  They did excellent and both won checks in more than one event.

IMG_3008

Ashley running barrels

IMG_3107

Hadley running poles

IMG_3081

Ashley running poles

IMG_3034

Hadley running barrels

Hadley even won enough to buy herself this awesome pair of new boots!  Pretty work ladies!

IMG_3192

Nice boots Had!

And then these two found the donut box.  Nothing makes a couple of kids happy like a whole box of donuts and adults distracted just enough to not notice how many they are eating.

IMG_3408

Anne and Hadley were once again in charge of getting the Mutton Bustin contestants geared up and ready and then handing out awards afterwards.

They take their job very seriously and do excellent work.

IMG_3476 IMG_3173

IMG_3186

IMG_3187

And Alexandra made her Mutton Bustin debut this year.  Her big sis got her geared up and  being a former Mutton Bustin champ, offered some words of advice, which were, “hang on and don’t let go!”

IMG_3482

Hadley getting Alex geared up

IMG_3491

She’s ready!

And hang on she did!  She didn’t hang on quite long enough to make it to the short go. But look out next year because she’s got the fire in her belly now!

IMG_3262

Hang on Alex!

IMG_3264

IMG_3266

IMG_3277

waving to the crowd

Here it is in live action.

 

And now the horse race.  It was definitely western but nobody got hurt and that is really all that matters at the end of the day.  All the contestants were family, friends and neighbors so that made it extra interesting.  Jamie ended up racing our cousin Jack in one race and Kim in another, so there was a cousin race and a sister race.  It brought up flashbacks from childhood, of trying to settle on who had the fastest horse, when we should have been holding herd.  Only this time there were more people watching and Uncle Rog wasn’t there to shake his head at us….actually, now that I think about it,  I’m pretty sure he was up there shaking his head at us.

So if you recall how it all started.  Dick asked Jamie to jockey his horse Tigger and she, respectively declined in favor of riding her own horse Pig Pen.  So, Dick went in search of another jockey.  Pretty soon half the neighborhood had entered up.  Dick ended up having Annie K. ride the first night and then Kim finished out the race since Annie wasn’t available all week.  There were a couple of other jockey subs since Jack and Laura couldn’t be there one night.

IMG_2431

The original challenge

Quick side note – First, I was in a different filming spot every night and never had a good angle on the finish line.  I have already scoped out a better spot for next year.  Second, in the first couple of videos someone is screaming like a lunatic.  I don’t know who it was but I think once they realized that they would sound like a crazy person when the videos were played back, then they decided to calm themselves down because it’s not as noticeable in the later videos, so turn the sound down for the first couple and then it’s safe it turn it up again.

And also, I had to choose between video and still pictures on most races because, well, I can only do one thing at a time!  Joe was there on Wednesday night to take still photos for me but otherwise it’s video only of the actual races.  I might need to hire an employee for next year.

Every night started off with a pre-race conference at the horse trailers.

IMG_3500

Jack

IMG_3510

Laura and Garrett

IMG_3503

Strategizing and trash talk

IMG_3502

Laura

And then warming up and more pre-race strategizing and occasional trash talk.

IMG_3209

Casey, Annie and Kendra pre-race conference

IMG_3205

waving to the fans

IMG_3295

Jack, Laura and Garrett

IMG_3299

Casey trying to track down a different pair of boots for Jamie….long story

First night – First up Annie K. on Tigger vs Kendra on California Chrome

IMG_3440

Annie and Kendra on their marks….

And the winner was Annie and Tigger!

Then we had Casey and Mr. Johnny vs. Jeff and Rags.  We thought the finish line was the end of the arena, so we were really excited because it looked like Casey won.  But it turns out that the finish line was closer to the start line and she hadn’t quite passed Jeff at that point.  So the winner was Jeff and Rags!

Second night – Jamie and Pig Pen raced against Jack and Misbehavin’ Angel.  Jamie came out ahead on that one and then Laura and Ol’ Rip raced against Garrett and Crazy Cora.  And the girls made a clean sweep as Laura won her race too.

IMG_3343

Jamie had her game face on

IMG_3345

Cousin challenge

IMG_3350

And they’re off!

IMG_3357

IMG_3406

Garrett and Laura on their marks

IMG_3409

IMG_3412 IMG_3423

Third night – Kim rode Tigger and raced against Jeff on Rags.  Kim makes a smart move at the barrel giving her just enough edge to win this one.

In the video the announcer says Annie is riding a horse called Bruiser.  She’s not.  It’s Kim riding Tigger.  He also says the owner, Dick, is engaged to be married.  This was surprising, especially to his wife Joan.  But we knew who was who, so it didn’t really matter.  We’re still trying to track down Dick’s fiancé….

Now this night was also Tough Enough to Wear Pink night.  Tough Enough to Wear Pink is a campaign to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Lots of cowboys wear pink on this night in honor of those who have fought breast and other cancers.  So, we decked out Pig Pen in pink ribbons - for Mom’s fight against breast cancer – blue ribbons - for Grandpa’s, Uncle Jack’s and Mom’s fight against colon cancer -and orange ribbons for our friend Tom’s fight against kidney cancer.  And Jamie dedicated her race that night to all of them.  The announcer only says it’s in honor of Mom but it was in honor of all of them and it made Mom cry.

IMG_3531

IMG_3499

Looking sharp Pig Pen

IMG_3538

Pig Pen wanted a selfie with all of us

IMG_3490

So, the second race that night was Jamie vs. Laura.  Their horses were ready to go and they almost take out the starter – the only rule, remember, don’t run over the starter – was very nearly broken.  In the end Jamie and Pig Pen pulled out another win.

Fourth night – this night there were three riders in each race.  First up, Casey, Garrett and Jim riding for Jack.  Jim and Misbehavin’ Angel win this one.

IMG_3516

Casey and Mr. Johnn

IMG_3544

Jim standing in for Jack

Then it was Kendra, Jeff and Will riding for Laura. There was a near collision at the barrel and Kendra ended up the winner.

Finals night – And here we are at the finals.  Racing for third and fourth place we had Jack riding Misbehavin’ Angel and Kendra riding California Chrome.  Kendra won.  When Dad asked Jack how he felt about being beat by a girl, he said, “oh I’m used to it.  I am married to Laura.”  Attaboy!

And running for first place and second place, we are back to where we started.  Who is faster Tigger or Pig Pen?

IMG_3557

Jamie and Dick wished each other luck before the race and they mostly meant it too!

IMG_3569

Dick consulting with his jockey. Even though the announcer says it was Annie riding Cruiser, it was actually Kim riding Tigger

Kim rode Tigger again in this race, so it was sister versus sister.  And it was neck in neck from start to finish. A real horse race!  If you’re worried they might have gone easy on each other, you know, because their sisters and all…..don’t worry.

And at the end of the night bets were settled and everyone raised a glass (or bottle) together because friendships trump horse races….at least until next year.

IMG_3591

Somebody owes somebody something

IMG_3585

Here’s to good friends and fast horses

Oh, right!  You’d like to know who won!  You’ll have to watch the video…..

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Birthday Dad!

My Dad goes by many names and has many talents.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But the thing that suits him best, the thing that he is the very best at is being Pa.

Here are a few pictures of him doing what he does best.  He’s taught the kids many, many things….some of which we are still trying desperately to un-teach…..

IMG_1627

He’s taught them to ride

IMG_2040 IMG_7812 IMG_9831

IMG_1609

He’s taught them how to drive

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Napping is one of the things he most loves to teach them

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

shooting

IMG_1054 IMG_1310 IMG_2301 IMG_0774 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_2427 IMG_2419 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_1849

IMG_3160

He’s teaching them his “tough” look

IMG_0635

Fencing crew 2013

IMG_1821

Selling calves

DSC00823

Teaching Chase that it’s important to wear a cowboy hat, even at the beach

IMG_0038

Discussing the latest news in the FencePost

DSC00202

Looking tough after moving cattle

IMG_9243

Trying to get Anne to try his BV and 7

IMG_8041

Napping

Scan 313

Just because you’re 2 is no excuse not to be working in the barn

IMG_0650

lining out a corral

IMG_1861

Swinging with his girls

IMG_0539

Considering a second career in basketball

IMG_3720

Wresting calves

IMG_0102

First base coach

IMG_8296

Tree hunting

Scan 312 IMG_3867 IMG_3801 IMG_3465 IMG_3157 Scan 267 Scan 177 IMG_2084 IMG_2513 IMG_1871 IMG_1788 IMG_0027 DSC00486 DSC00180 IMG_8129 IMG_8126

IMG_1274

Teaching the kids that it’s possible to be even louder than they already are

 Happy Birthday Dad! 

IMG_3697

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

The Sweetest Words

IMG_2461

The sweetest words ever spoken are, quite possibly, “you are cancer free!”

Mom had her post-op appointment today and the news was so very good.  The surgery got all the cancer.  She is clean as a whistle.  Good to go.  No chemo.  No radiation. Cancer free!

We are doing the happiest of happy dances here today.  And she is doing great.  She’s been tending to her roses and cheering at the matched horse race and the mutton bustin.   She probably should take it a little bit slower but there’s no telling her that.  Gosh it feels good to breath deep again!

IMG_3444

watching the horse race

IMG_3395

tending roses the day she got home

And she went out and bought a celebratory hat just because she could.

IMG_3465

But at the same time that we celebrate our good news, we are hoping and praying with all our hearts that those who haven’t heard those words yet, will hear them soon.  And our hearts and love go out to those who never got the chance to hear them.

Our prayers and love go out to all families touched by cancer and to the doctors and nurses who care for them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Happy 13th Birthday Max!

Well, it’s official.  Max isn’t a kid anymore and not just because he’s turning 13 today.

IMG_3402

Last week while moving cattle to Soldier Creek some people (who shall remain nameless) starting to panic just a bit because all of the sudden no one knew where Max was.  It’s a big pasture folks and any number of things could have befallen him.  He could have gotten lost, his horse could have fallen or step in a badger hole.  He could have come across a rattlesnake or gotten bogged down.  And quite a lot of time had passed since anyone had seen him.  And since we were thinking – clearly mistakenly – that he was just a kid out there alone with only his horse, some of us were a bit concerned.

But when we located him and someone expressed that there had been concern as to his whereabouts, he just looked at us like we were nuts.  You know that look that that seems to say “what in the sam hill is wrong with you crazy people”.

IMG_2527

He said, “Well, Uncle Jim told me to go gather the cattle up the creek.  So, I went and gathered the cattle up the creek.  And then I looked back and saw a few he had missed and so I went back and got those.  Then I took the whole bunch up the fence line to the middle gate.  And since I remembered that Pa had said ‘somebody darn well better count them through the gate’, I opened the gate and counted them through….and by the way there were 365 cows and 16 bulls.”

To which we said, “oh….ok….thanks”

To which Dad said, “Pretty work!”

And Max rode off shaking his head and muttering something along the lines of “oh ye of little faith.”

So, it’s official. Max is no longer a kid.  Which I think means I can start charging him rent now.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the events of the past year.

Working at the ranchIMG_0720 IMG_3273

Rockies game with Chad

IMG_1063

First day of 7th grade

IMG_2022

Vikings supporter

IMG_1144

Basketball season got off to a rough start.  Pre surgery.

IMG_2365

Cast number one

IMG_2447

Pin removal

IMG_2465

Cast number two.

IMG_2473

And finally no more cast!

IMG_2532

This is more like it.

IMG_1740 IMG_1873 IMG_1862 IMG_1890 IMG_1876

Hanging out with family

IMG_1039

Schobel cousins

IMG_1226

Price cousins

IMG_1041

Learning the fine art of turkey carving from Grandpa Schobel

IMG_3070

Teaching Grandpa Schobel to take a selfie

IMG_3077

Teaching Grandma Schobel to take a selfie

IMG_3081 IMG_2084 IMG_2522

Max and his buddy Chase

IMG_3296

Speaking of which, if Anne is Casey’s mini me, then Chase just might be Max’s

IMG_2212

Chase

Scan 142

Max at about the same age Chase is now

He loves shopping with his sister.  It is one of his favorite things and you can see why.

IMG_3380

Making homemade ice cream

IMG_2454

I have no idea….

IMG_2790

And yesterday while they were watching 80+ exhibition barrel racers waiting for Hadley’s run, he somehow talked his Dad into taking him to a Rockies game for his birthday.

IMG_3412

The rodetto can get long. Spectators sometimes create their own entertainment

Happy Birthday Max!   

We have loved every minute of the past 13 years and can’t wait to see what comes next.

Scan 89

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Life Happens All At Once

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that life happens all at once.  Life has a tendency to be complicated and unexpected and not really what you had planned. Good times happen in the middle of bad times and bad times happen in the middle of good times.  We like to think we have some level of control.  We like to think that we know what’s going to happen next but just when we think we do, there’s a sharp corner that we didn’t see coming.  Life just unfolds in front of us and all we can ever really do is roll along with it, doing the best we can to take care of the people we love along the way.  It’s messy and wonderful and happy and sad all at once.  And as my Dad would say, “it’s just part of it”

And maybe the trick to it all is to figure out how to take it all in.  To not get so stuck in the bad stuff that you miss out on the good stuff that is still happening. And to not take the good stuff for granted, thinking the bad stuff will never come around again, and end up not even realizing that your in the middle of the good stuff.

It’s a crazy life and the only thing you can do, as Mom has said many times the past 10 days, “is just keep on living”.

So here’s a few things that have happened since the race.

Casey, Anne and I had the chance to take an unexpected road trip to meet a really amazing lady and a really special horse.

IMG_3174

Me, Anne, Amberley Snyder and Wrangler

We are so glad we had the opportunity but one thing we did learn is that neither Casey nor I can see well in the dark and so we probably should not take road trips together that involve night driving.

IMG_3153

A pit stop at McDonalds in honor of Dad. It’s his favorite road trip stop

“Is that the exit? No, I’m sure that’s not the exit.  Oh…oh wait…it might have been the exit. Yep, yep that was the exit.  No…no you’re not in the right lane, quick switch lanes….oh..no..wait maybe that was the right lane..”

We made it though…by the grace of God we made it.

Then there was the phone call from a Dr, saying, “I’m really sorry but that polyp I told you was definitely nothing….well it’s definitely something…it’s definitely colon cancer and you definitely have to have surgery.”

Mom hung up the phone and said, “Well hell!” and then she proceeded to do what she always does, which is whatever needs to be done.  She paid the bills, scheduled appointments, made sure the grandkids understood and were ok, cooked dinner and drank the damn clean out concoction two more times.  Jamie and Casey wanted to pull out of the horse race, it just seemed silly now, and everyone wanted to cancel all sorts of plans but Mom said “Oh no you’re not.  We are all going to keep on living.  It’s nothing but a bump in the road.”

IMG_3221 IMG_3325

It’s actually a bit more than that – to say the least – but you can’t keep a good cowgirl down for long.

IMG_3226

She had the help of Feel Better Bear from Alex and her Dammit Doll from Sharon.  And both have been used extensively over the past few days, let me tell you.

IMG_3396

Feel Better Bear

IMG_3397

Dammit Doll Whenever things don’t go so well, And you want to hit the wall and yell, Here’s a little dammit doll, That you can’t do without, Just grasp it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it. And as you sack the stuffing out yell “Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!”

And in midst of scans and surgery there were cattle to move.

IMG_3390

 

IMG_2527

 

And horses to ride.

IMG_3392

And fish to clean.

IMG_2544

And ice cream to make.

IMG_2452

And a crew to feed.

IMG_2553

Thank you Tarver and Sally! That was the best ribs and dirty rice ever!

And the Forth of July to celebrate.

IMG_2943 IMG_2632 IMG_2724

 

IMG_2902 IMG_2889 IMG_2841 IMG_2660

And then just when you think you’ve found a new groove and things are settling in…..Toga gets bit by a rattlesnake.

IMG_3377

She looked a bit like a cartoon dog for a couple of days. Thank goodness for rattlesnake vaccine! And Dr. Jane!

We wanted Toga and Mom to share a room but apparently the Wyoming Medical Center frowns on dogs as patients.  So Mom was at WMC and Toga was at Rocky Mountain Animal Hospital.

They are both home now and – knock on wood – seem to be recovering well so far.

See what I mean.  All at once.  It all happens all at once, the good, the bad, the maddening and the wonderful stuff all comes rushing at you.  We might wish it happened one thing at a time but it just doesn’t.  All you can do is try your best to enjoy it, no matter how messy it gets.

IMG_2944 IMG_2945 IMG_2946 IMG_2947 IMG_2948 IMG_2949 IMG_2950

Now if we can just get through Fair week in one piece…..

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Race Is On

Kentucky has the Derby, Baltimore has the Preakness, New York has the Belmont and Casper has the Matched Horse Race.  There are, however, a few differences.  The hats are different.  There is whisky instead of mint julep.  The saddles must be western and there is a penalty for running over the starter.

At the Casper Fair and Rodeo this year there will be a Matched Horse Race.  This is where two riders race their horses to the end of the arena, around a barrel and back.  Two horses race each night and the top four race again on the last night to determine the winner.  This is a new event for the fair this year and it has some of the locals quite excited.

Our friend Dick decided that his horse Tigger has what it takes to win and asked Jamie to be his jockey.  That was great, except then Jamie got to thinking that her horse Pig Pen was faster than Tigger.  So she said to Dick, “I think I’d rather ride Pig Pen.  I’m certain he is faster.”

To which Dick said, “I respectfully beg to differ with you on that.”

IMG_2215

Dick on Tigger

Actually, what he really said was closer to, “The Hell he is!”  And with that the gauntlet was thrown down, the challenge was set, it was high noon at the OK coral.  Well, actually it was 2:00pm at Kim and Jason’s arena.

IMG_2224

Jamie on Pig Pen

 

As soon as Casey caught wind of this she said, “I think Mr. Jonny is faster than either of yours!”  And then Peggy said, “I’m pretty sure my horse has Secretariat in his bloodline.  Count me in!”  And the race was on!

IMG_2202

Casey on Mr. Jonny

IMG_2328

Peggy on Seabiscuit

The crowd gathered.

IMG_2208

 

IMG_2212

Chase put all his money on his Mom and Pig Pen

First there was warming up, reviewing the rules – which is really just don’t run over the starter –  and getting the arena set.

IMG_2220

Mom asking, “where shall I set the barrel?”

IMG_2219

Jamie and Casey both say, “that way” and point opposite directions

IMG_2239 IMG_2280 IMG_2330

And then they raced.  First up Pig Pen vs Tigger.

IMG_2241

And their off!

IMG_2244 IMG_2246 IMG_2253

It was a very close race.  I can’t really say who won because, while both of these horses have got speed, what they lack are brakes.

IMG_2316

Whoa!

IMG_2322

Look out Mom!

Mom was standing just out of camera shot.  Lucky for her Pig Pen stopped in the nick of time.

IMG_2204

Mom pulled everyone aside and reviewed the one and only rule. Do Not Run Over the Starter, especially if that person is your mother.

The general consensus in the crowd seemed to be that Pig Pen was indeed a bit faster but Tigger made the turn better, so it was sort of a tie.  They neither one stopped on a dime.

Then Casey and Jamie raced.  Then Jamie and Peggy raced.  Then Peggy and Casey raced.  Then…you get the picture.

IMG_2262 IMG_2359 IMG_2377 IMG_2384 IMG_2386

I’m still not sure we really know who has the fastest horse but it sure was fun to watch.  They have a couple of weeks to practice before the real race so place your bets and stay tuned.

IMG_2432

Jamie and Dick “discussing” who’s horse was fastest

Here’s a quick video of one of the races.  Max was in the arena videoing and you will see why he took the rest of the videos from the other side of the fence.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Happy Birthday Joe

Today is Joe’s birthday.  I will not say which one but according to his children he is getting really old!

IMG_1423

Here are just a few of the great things he has done this past year.

He did not get angry at all when I shut the garage door on the van….three times.  He just put the auto body repair shop number in the favorites section of his contacts.  He didn’t even say anything when the insurance company sent us a letter suggesting that “the driver, Jody Schobel, should examine her driving habits” (in my defense it’s not my driving that’s the problem, I’m an excellent driver, it’s the parking that I struggle with but that’s a story for another time).  He just handed me the letter.

photo[1]

the damage is hardly noticeable

He also didn’t say a word when I accidentally washed his passport.  But really who keeps their passport in their pants pocket?

photo

He re-arranged two days worth of meetings at the very last minute so he could drive me and van full kids and stuff to Wyoming because I had insomnia the night before.

IMG_1467

And he got to change a flat tire along the way.

IMG_1469

He trekked all over the globe for work.  From Germany to South East Asia multiple times.  He was in Malaysia when flight MH370 disappeared, thankfully he was already on the ground when the news about that broke.  And he dutifully complied with my request to text every single chance he could on his flights back.

IMG_1129

cathedral in Germany

IMG_1762

Singapore skyline

He took about 1500 pictures of the Sensenbaugh fire.  If you scroll through them fast enough on our computer it looks like a video

IMG_0490 IMG_0451

There was a fun trip to Chicago.

IMG_1302

Hanging out with family.

IMG_1088 IMG_1024 IMG_0141

Of course his he had his part in the famous Christmas turkey incident.

IMG_1199

 

IMG_1259

Then there are all the basketballs, tennis balls, volleyballs, baseballs and footballs that he has thrown, caught and chased after.  One of the best things that he does is the dishes.  Every night.  But I think tonight the kids and I will take care of that.  We like to go all out on birthday celebrations.

And just because it’s important to remember past mistakes so that they are not repeated there is this.

IMG_0004

 

Happy Birthday Joe!

IMG_2954

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments