We’re home to wonderful folks | TSLN.com

We’re home to wonderful folks

Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns

Remember what I told you when we were celebrating Memorial weekend… we’d just have time to blink twice and it’d be Labor Day? Now that’s come true; an’ you’d better get the silverware polished for Thanksgiving dinner, ’cause that event is bearing down at warp speed.

Tri-State Country is home to so many amazing and wonderful folk that my cowboy and I feel especially blessed to live here! One of our favorite couples resides in a little community called Tilford, South Dakota – yep, you guessed it – Peg and Jim Aplan from Antiques & Art. They’re right beside the Interstate, but once you step inside those doors you’re transported to a different world, a different time. Their collection is internationally famous… they frequent antique and collectible and cowboy gear shows across this nation and send catalogs and ship items around the globe.

As a retired professional rodeo contestant and clown, Jim was recently honored with others of his ilk at the Dodge City, Kansas prorodeo. The annual Rodeo Clown Reunion, capably managed by rodeo historian and prolific author Gayle Woerner, was the occasion; and Jim emailed me some great photos from there. Seeing him in full ‘warpaint’ and baggy Blue Bell Wranglers with red wig, frumpy hat and red checkered shirt set off by rainbow suspenders gave me a chuckle. I only wish I’d been around to see him in rodeo clown action during his prime!

We tip our ol’ Tri-State Stetson to Jim Aplan – to another amazing forever-friend Jerry Olson of Belle Fourche, South Dakota – and to all the other retired rodeo funnymen who just enjoyed the Rodeo Clown Reunion in Dodge City. You guys have always made the show – and saved the lives – and rodeo just couldn’t be what it is without you!

Before we leave the Aplan subject, we haft’a congratulate Jim’s teenage granddaughter Georgia Diez who’s been tearin’ ’em up in youth rodeo down in Arizona for the past few years. The beautiful blonde undoubtedly carries some strong rodeo genes from her grandpa Jim. Hitting rodeo like a hurricane, she only works the poles, barrels, goat tying, ribbon roping, breakaway roping and heels in the team roping… guess she hasn’t taken up clowning, yet…

All that competition demands a fleet of four horses and, as Jim says, “all the stuff that goes with ’em” – and the one sure thing about Georgia Diez is that, when she shows up at a rodeo, her and those four horses are tuned up an ready to operate. Another sure thing is she’ll likely go home with a good share of the winnings!

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Dedicated to practice, and endowed with a hungry competitive spirit, Georgia swept the Arizona Junior Rodeo Association scene for 2008, claiming the All Around Cowgirl saddle… and picking up five buckles along the way! She wreaked the same kind of havoc in the Queen Creek Junior Rodeo Association, walking away with a stunning 2008 Champion All Around Cowgirl buckle on her belt, plus the Breakaway Championship knife and the 2D All Around Championship. Her family home is gon’na need an extra room just to accommodate all her trophies and awards, and she’s just moving into the Senior group in Junior Rodeo! Peg is prob’ly almost out of thread and buttons tryin’ to keep ’em on Grandpa Jim’s shirts, too… to say nothing of the times his hat just doesn’t quite fit…

We salute you, Georgia Diez – you’re carryin’ on a great family tradition! Many of you no doubt remember Georgia’s father Bob Diez, former South Dakota cowboy who once tied Marty Jandreau for the state bronc riding championship in 4-H rodeo and was team roping partner of Troy Brown. These days he’s busy managing an engineering firm in Phoenix while his wife and daughter continue to make history on rodeo road.

Those of you who enjoy youth rodeo (and who doesn’t?) will be happy to know RFD TV will be airing great “20X Rodeo High” action, featuring “the best runs, wrecks & rides that Junior High and High School Rodeo have to offer” in upcoming months. Scenes from Germantown, Tennessee; Great Bend, Kansas; Prescott, Arizona; Carlsbad, New Mexico; Abilene, Texas; and the National Junior High Finals from Gallup, New Mexico along with National High School Finals from Farmington, New Mexico will air each Wednesday evening at 9 p.m. Eastern between this December 17th and next June 24th. Watch your local listings so you won’t miss this action!

Rodeo horses are amazing, and we all know a good share of their success comes via their legs and feet. We also know if they’re not shod right, they can’t perform at their peak. Our good friend and accomplished farrier Bill Wood of Newell, South Dakota is being kept busy almost exclusively by barrel racers, to whom every thousandth of a second gained or lost can mean cold, hard cash and another tank of diesel to push on down rodeo road. Haphazard and mediocre horseshoeing has no place in that world.

Toward better skills with hammer, nippers and rasp, the Butler Professional Farrier School near Chadron, Nebraska, is offering their 9th Annual Farrier Focus Conference this month, September 19th and 20th. This is a “power-packed, motivational, success-oriented conference” where you can learn “solid, reliable and practical information on topics important to today’s professionals along with valuable tips and how-to’s for growing a successful business.” If you’re interested you can register online at http://www.farrierfocus.com or phone (800) 728-3826 and press 2.

Indicative of how busy August has been and how quickly it disappeared… I have been greatly remiss in reminding you of the many top flite horse sales on the immediate horizon around Tri-State Country. One of the best is going down even as this issue is printed, and I regret we haven’t talked about it sooner! That’d be the 31st Annual Powder River Quarter Horse Breeders Association event at the fairgrounds in Broadus, Montana, September 6th and 7th. This integrity-based group of quality breeders offers 136 head, which are all eligible for high-dollar halter and performance futurities. You can learn more at http://www.prqhba.com.

Also in Montana, the Weaver Quarter Horse Production Sale comes to Great Falls on September 20th. The Weaver’s from Big Sandy have been breeding good working ranch horses since 1888, and they are loaded with color, including many roan, dun, buckskin and grullo weanlings, yearlings and broodmares, plus 15 select saddle horses. You can check ’em out at http://www.weaverhorses.com or call (406)378-2600.

The Performance Quarter Horse Breeders of South Dakota will hold their 4th Annual Select Sale and Futurity at the Yellow Rose Arena in Platte, South Dakota on September 27th. Check out http://www.pqhbsd.com or phone (605) 849-3585.

Some of the top Wyoming sales in recent years have been the WYO Quarter Horse Ranch events, and their 8th Annual Fall Arena, Ranch Broke Gelding and Production Sale comes to the Hot Springs County Fairgrounds at Thermopolis on September 13th. This event offers prime pickings for broke and started geldings, with 51 of the former and 32 of the latter (2-year-old’s); along with a nice offering of yearlings, weanlings and some 3-in-1 packages. Bill and Carole Smith have amply proven the quality of their horses as well as the training that’s put on them… talk about a reputation outfit, this is it. The catalog is at http://www.wyohorses.com or you can call (307)864-5671.

Looks like we’re plumb down to the frayed end of this ol’ lariat once more…

© 2008 Rhonda Stearns

Email Rhonda at cow_grl63@hotmail.com

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