The Outside Circle: Trees, barrels, Horse Expo, racing, baiting the trap |

The Outside Circle: Trees, barrels, Horse Expo, racing, baiting the trap

It’s been another windy week here on the northern plains. We’re sure in need of moisture. March was the driest March in many years. It’ll rain one of these days. It always has.

I’ve been watching a sad transformation take place on some of the farmland down in the valley. There’s a fresh crop of center pivots going up this spring, which I know are better able to water the land evenly and with less waste of water. What is being wasted to put them up though, is breaking my heart. Many trees are being taken down and removed to make way for “progress”. These giants of the prairie, century old cottonwoods, have shaded this land for generations. Homesteaders brought the little slips from wherever they could find them, planted them carefully, and watered them with dishwater, tears and sweat. Trees were precious and made a place feel like home when the first shade dappled the walls of the little houses. Getting them to grow was a great accomplishment.

The houses are mostly gone, along with the buildings, but many of those sites still have those magnificent trees. They shade the memories of families growing up, work horses straining into collars, and milk cows coming in of an evening. The branches, often bigger themselves, than average trees, arch over the creeks and the canals. The huge trunks, solid and without flaw, have withstood winds, storms and drought. Now, though, they are taken down, cut into pieces that can be moved, and hauled away. The stumps are piled out of the way to await burning or rot. Stumps big enough to dance on or to lay a meal upon. Solid to the heart, just like the people who settled this country. Pushed aside so the shiny, modern sprinkler can make its circles and water the crops.

I wouldn’t deny anyone the right to do with their place as they deem best for their livelihood. I’m just sorry it has to be at the cost of those trees. I’ve planted several hundred trees on our place and watched them die from drought, grasshoppers, stray critters, and cold. I treasure every one of the few that has lived. I guess I simply could not kill a tree to water corn or soybeans. I’d rather leave them to shade cattle, sheep or horses, or to break the wind. They have their place here, and for a lot longer than I’ve been alive or should hope to live.

The SHS 5D Barrel Race will on April 13, at Seven Down Arena, Spearfish, SD. Exhibitions will run from 3-5 pm with the 5D starting at 5:30 p.m. Call 605-641-4957 or 307-660-1000 for info, or e-mail

The Wyoming Horse Expo will be at the Wyoming State Fair Indoor Equine Center, Douglas, WY, on April 20-22. There will be tons of stuff going on including a trade show, clinicians, stallion alley, seminars, etc…If you have an equine related business, you are welcome to set up there and promote it too! Call Connie at 307-358-3862 or e-mail, or Sam at 307-266-4922 or email

Don’t forget that horse racing starts at Ft. Pierre, SD’s Stanley County Fairgrounds on April 21-22. Other dates there are April 28-29 and May 5-6.

Wyoming’s new state law on horseracing should bring stability to the business. It gives the state commission that oversees horse racing the power to issue permits of up to three years for live and simulcast racing. This should enable track operators to negotiate better terms when borrowing operating money or contracting with vendors. Sweetwater Downs, Rock Springs, is currently the only track having a meet in Wyoming.

The Besler Cadillac Ranch Barrel Series has had a change of schedule. The next barrel race will be a double header April 28. The one scheduled for April 21 will run on May 5 and will also be a doubleheader. Call Jamie at 605-200-0053 for info.

A clinic on Basic Trimming and Shoeing will be held on May 5-6 at Kluz Performance Horses, on Hwy 50 south of Gillette, WY. Performance horse farrier Bill Wood will be teaching basic bio-mechanics of the equine foot and limb. The goal of the clinic is to help horse owners to recognize how a hoof should look and what to watch for when their horse is shod. Soundness and function will also be covered. For more information or to register, call Ashley Villmow at 307-680-5362, or Bill Wood at 605-639-9401.

Keep an eye on the bills being introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Mary Landrieu, Democrat-Louisiana. She has plans to push for a bill that would forbid both horse processing facilities and the exportation of horses for slaughter. Gee, that would sure solve the problems for horses in the U.S. Where do they get these people?

The BLM will be trying a new way to capture the feral horses that are overgrazing the west. They will be implementing “bait” traps in some areas by setting up panels and baiting the trap with feed, water and salt. They think this will be more effective in capturing horses in some areas than the way they’ve been doing it. I don’t think it will be too hard to get those hungry little broomies to get used to handouts. It sure works on other species, if you know what I mean.

For you ranch rodeo fans out there, the 2011 World Championship Ranch Rodeo finals is finally available on DVD, and for the first time, on Blue-Ray. The WCRR is held in Amarillo in November each year and is a fabulous event that showcases real ranch cowboys doing real ranch work. The WRCA is an organization of and for the working ranch folks and has a foundation to help ranch families and individuals in crisis. Proceeds from the sale of the DVDs goes toward that worthy cause. You can check it out at or call 806-374-9722.

The 5th Annual Kohr Quarter Horses and Roper Apparel and Footwear Barrel Futurity and Barrel Racing Report Open 4D will be moving to the Kiplinger Arena at McCook, NE, on Aug. 24-26. The weather has been a problem for this race so the date change is going to help that out. The move closer to more barrel racers should increase the numbers too, and make it an even greater barrel race. You can check it out at for more information.

Well, that’s the end of my circle this week. It’s been a windy booger, so I think I’ll go put up my horse and head in for the day. Send me your info so I can share it with everyone else.