Even if you don’t know who Chelsi Horton is, you know who she is. She has the honor of being the Boise State University Bronco Girl and rides with Willy, a 19 year old registered paint who loves the limelight and couldn’t be happier than having his toes painted and leading the Boise State University football team out of the tunnel at every home game the past two years.
Chelsi is a Boise State Junior and a two year Bronco Girl vet, but is no stranger to hanging out with Willy in the north end zone at every home game. While in high school, she helped out the previous Boise State Bronco Girl, Vanessa Lootens, and her horse in the North End Zone. Willy and Chelsi have been riding and competing together since she was 14 and is loved by aspiring cowgirls and Bronco Nation in general.
How many of us truly follow our childhood dreams? For Laura Kiracofe’s dad, he did just that when she was in fourth grade. Without a job and a just a few friends in Idaho, he picked up the family and moved them out of Ohio and into his childhood dream of living in “the West” — which landed them in Nampa, Idaho.
With the ultimatum of “If I go out to Idaho, you better get me a horse,” Laura has lived in the great western state of Idaho ever since, now with five of her own horses and a firm grip on the western lifestyle.
Whether you call it a gut feeling, a sixth-sense or even destiny, it’s that feeling one gets when something is just “right” and it usually becomes a monumental moment in your life. Taking advantage of the situation when it happens is sometimes as easy as just saying “let’s do it.” For Michael Higginson and his family, there were a number of events leading up to the them giving up the suburban lifestyle and moving out in the country where they could raise chickens, have a huge garden and some space for their family of seven to grow and enjoy life.
The Higginson’s gut feeling started after a seven month mission to Tonga to help a community with their dental needs. Dr. Higginson took time off of his Eagle, Idaho dental practice, packed their five kids up and headed to Tonga for what became more of an education for the Higginson’s than anything else
Kevin Hensen is the richest guy in town. He is engulfed in riches which include positive, life-loving people and he continually lifts the spirits, dreams and self worth of the kids that come to him to learn the rodeo life. Kevin gives everything he has to everything he does, which his “everything” is a very long list: Husband, Father, role model, teacher, employee, farrier, band leader, cattle contractor and a really great human being.
He makes life so simple by following these easy rules of how to be rich: “I try my hardest at everything I do. I am in a good position and I have a good attitude because I surround myself with good, positive people.”
Here in the Treasure Valley there is a good chance that either your commute or part of your day involves passing by at least one corn field. It’s just as likely that you have driven by, or flown over, The Farmstead Corn Maze and Pumpkin Festival nestled between the very busy intersections of Eagle Road, Overland Road and I84. After multiple locations over the years and a name change, Jim and Hillary Lowe have been thrilled about their part-time family business that makes us all wonder, “How do they do that?”
Nicole and Kelly are two of the luckiest little girls around. Their Grammie, Vicki Cantlon, is not only the owner of the 2008 National Reined Cowhorse Association Open Hackamore Champion, a former rodeo Queen and a native Idahoan, but she is hands down, the Super-Grammie of the Maple Grove/Victory area. She rides horses, drives a big red truck and has a wit about her that comes from making a living as a young woman on the rodeo circuit in the 1970’s.
“I have a 40 acre gentle Grammas farm with cows, goats, chickens, dogs, cats, grandkids and of course my champion performance horses.”
Committed, responsible and kind are all qualities that parents hope for in their children and in turn, supportive, positive and happy are qualities that children hope for in their parents. When all of these traits come together, you get a family dynamic that is easy to take a liking to and fun to watch. Megan Charrier is an outgoing, tough but sweet 16 year old who, through the amazing support of her parents, have accomplished more than most college graduates and doesn’t plan on stopping.
Have you heard the story of the suburban cowgirl? The story starts with a lively two year old receiving a plush, three-foot toy pony named Butterscotch for Christmas. She rode in her parents suburban Star, Idaho home and had dreams of becoming a real cowgirl.
Fast forward to the same suburban cowgirl, now eight, and after riding for five years, she is now the reigning Rodeo Princess for the Western Riding Club with a real, live horse named Romeo.
The bull riding lawyer. That is how Kyle Duren was labeled, called and remembered when he was clerking for a judge after law school from the University of Idaho and to this day, he will still have certain lawyers ask “Aren’t you that bull riding lawyer?” That title is fine with Kyle, but after years of riding bulls professionally in the PBR and the PRCA, he no longer rides them, he raises them.
Kyle is one of three owners in Bovico Bucking Bulls, a local bull bucking company that we highlighted last month, which has become a hobby equivalent to some people’s passion with golf — but Kyle’s “golf clubs” just eat a lot of hay.
Life can take us all over the world and put us in situations that might not be all that pleasant, but the strong can adapt, survive and look forward to their next adventure. Tony Silva lives this crazy life as a Captain in the Air National Guard, a Department of Defense contractor and a native Idahoan rancher that loves all three roles in his life.
For the past three years Tony has spent half his time in Afghanistan, not as a soldier, but as a civilian Department of Defense contractor for AAR Airlift. As a Low Cost Low Altitude Intel Analyst (LCLA) he works primarily with the Army, but engages with all the forces as a point of contact for all military bases wherever he is stationed.
As a parent, you truly want your children to be happy in whatever they do, regardless if they follow in your footsteps. Shawn Weise’s Dad, Ted Weise, was a former bull rider but until Shawn was 14 he had no interest in riding bulls, he just wanted to play baseball and football like a “normal” kid. Then he saw the neighbors bucking their steers for fun and whether it was in his DNA or just in the big eyes of a 14 year old, Shawn was now interested in bull riding. With-in a couple of months, Ted had a round pen and a bucking shoot built on their property and Shawn was now on his way to becoming a bull rider.
Rodeo bulls are bred to buck, kick, and spin. There is a rodeo legacy of sorts embedded in their DNA and written in their chromosomes.
If you know Shawn Wiese, Kyle Duren, or Jimmy Young, you might think that some men are bred for the rodeo too. Shawn, Kyle, and Jimmy are long-time collaborators and friends who were each professional bull riders before family responsibilities — and, perhaps, age — led them to raising bucking bulls rather than riding them.
In 2009, the trio formed Bovico Bucking Bulls to supply well-bred, rodeo bulls to local, regional, and national bull riding events. In the next few weeks, I will be featuring Shawn, Kyle, and Jimmy here on the D&B Blog as part of our People of Our West series.