There are many things that have shaped me into the person that I am today. Some of these learning curves that I have endured have been both failures and successes. I would have to say my first huge learning experience in my life would be getting my first horse. My first horse was named Booger (his name describes him entirely). My parents got him for me when I was 6 years old. Booger taught me so much about life. He taught me that I could always have a best friend, I always had someone to talk to, and i always had a soft neck to cry in. He also taught me great deals of responsibility. Even when it was snowing, raining, or 101 degrees out he still needed to be watered and fed. Booger taught me a lot about life, he is where my passion for rodeo began. He made me into a responsible, punctual, timely, learner. The photo below is of Booger and I when I was 8.
I would have to say the next biggest learning curve in my life would be 4-H. This program also molded me into the person that I am today and also had many learning experiences within one program. Through 4-H i showed my horses, cattle, and hogs. I showed in the market divisions along with showmanship. The market end of things taught me a lot about financial management. I would sell my animal at the end of the year and have money to buy another animal at the beginning of the next year and feed it throughout the year. It also taught me people skills. Through showmanship I had to answer questions to the judge and explain what my project was about. 4-H also made me a very organized learner, we had to keep record books of our projects on the time we spent with our animal, what we fed them, medications we fed them, costs of the project, and more. 4-H made me a driven, optimistic, and organized learner. Below is a picture of me practicing showmanship with one of my steers, his name was Houdini. Another learning experience that changed my life forever happened when I was 16. I was at a horse show with my mom when I saw her face drop while she was on the phone. When I asked her what was wrong she told me that we needed to leave because there was a fire in the high mountains on my uncle’s land, and that we needed to go help him evacuate his cattle and horses. Little did I know this fire was soon to be named the High Park Fire and it would burn my childhood home to the ground.
As the day went on we helped my uncle and the community get everything they possibly could out and safe.As the night came the fire grew larger and began to move faster. It then moved several acres and miles and was headed for my grandparents land. We began cutting trees and getting everything out. I will never forget that roar or that smell. Let alone the fear that I had never seen before in my father’s eyes. We got everything we could before it came through and burned their place also. We did not sleep that night. The fire just got larger and moved faster. We were housing all of my cousins and my grandparents at this time.
By early morning we had to be evacuated as well. Mind you we lived about 30 miles from my grandparents and never thought it would make it this far. We began packing all of our things and getting all of our animals out as well.
Time went on and we did not know what was happening because no one was aloud in there due to the danger. Days went by. My uncle’s step mother burned up in her home. My uncles home and several cattle were burned and killed, his house was gone and so was my grandparents’.
The worst news struck me like a truck. My childhood home was gone. The house that my dad built with his own two hands was gone. The arena that we built to ride our horses in was gone. Everything was gone.I will never be able to explain to you the feeling I still feel inside of me after this happened. My dad had alfalfa farms here in Nebraska and decided to cut ties with land and move up here. At 16 years old this was devastating. Moving from everything I ever knew, my friends, and my family was going to be hard. This made me who I am today in many ways. I cherish the people I meet. I cherish the place that I live, and I especially cherish my animals. I take every chance that I get to go back to Colorado and visit. I take everything more seriously now in life. Below is a picture of the place I grew up in. The place I will never be able to show my children someday. And the place I would do anything to walk into again. It may not look like anything, but it is everything to me.
One of the next largest learning experiences I had was coming to college. Leaving home was hard for me because I am a “daddy’s girl.” Although my dad had taught me financial management and how to be independent this was one of the hardest things in life. Leaving him behind and making decisions on my own was hard for me. It taught me that phone calls are important and that time management is huge in school. Going to college shaped me into a driven, empathetic, and serious learner. Below is a picture of my dad, my mom, my brother and I on my high school graduation day. The day I decided that I would begin my college career in Torrington Wyoming.
The most recent learning experience I have had is meeting Denum Santero. Even though I lost everything in the fire, moved to a completely remote are, and was completely discouraged in life he turned it around. Little did I know after all of this happened I would meet the love of my life in an area I would have never considered staying. This made me realize everything truly does happen for a reason. My dad had land here for a reason. Our house burned down for a reason. We moved here for a reason. I am now engaged and getting married. I love living here. Yes I miss Colorado, and my home, but this is where and who I am meant to be with. And I would not change it for the world. This learning experience has made me look for the good in everything. It has made me learn and take new things on with a positive attitude. Below is a picture of Denum and I.