Oregon, Photography

Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train: “Horsemanship is in the Details”

Back in June when I was at home on vacation visiting my family in Oregon I had the opportunity to experience a few days at the annual Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train. This week-long family event has been around since 1982 and is an opportunity for people to bring their horses and teams to experience a week in the beautiful Blue Mountains and recreate the wagon train experience that the pioneers had on the Oregon Trail. This is the second year that my parents have been the event’s official caterer. While I was there I was able to tag along on the morning route for two days before heading back to camp with my dad who met the wagons and riders out on the trail for lunch. This is an incredibly unique, fun event filled with history, beautiful animals and salt of the earth people. 

This part five of five posts. With so many pictures, I struggled with what was the best way to split them up across a few blog posts, but in the end I decided to organize them based on a few themes. So what you see is not in any type of chronological order and covers the two and a half days that I was there. Enjoy!

If you missed them you can view:
Part One “On the Trail” HERE
Part Two “Circling the Wagons” HERE
Part Three “Cookin’ Spoo Style” HERE
Part Four “All in the Family” HERE

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We are down to my last post of this series! I had much fun going back through all of these photos and choosing my favorites, which was obviously hard since I had to spread them out over five posts. I’ve always said that photography is just a hobby for me, mostly because I have friends who do this for a living, work so hard to perfect their craft and are SO TALENTED. But it is a creative outlet for me and it makes me so happy that other people enjoy them too.

This last post is all about the “details.” These kind of shots are my favorite to seek out. I am a very detailed oriented person and appreciate how its the small details that make usually add the final touch to a story.

And as you will see, in order to keep everyone, people and horses alike, safe, and for everyone to have fun, horsemanship is ALL about the details.

Thanks to everyone at the wagon train for letting me tag along and making me feel welcome. I loved taking these photos.

Oregon, Photography

Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train: “All in the Family”

Back in June when I was at home on vacation visiting my family in Oregon I had the opportunity to experience a few days at the annual Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train. This week-long family event has been around since 1982 and is an opportunity for people to bring their horses and teams to experience a week in the beautiful Blue Mountains and recreate the wagon train experience that the pioneers had on the Oregon Trail. This is the second year that my parents have been the event’s official caterer. While I was there I was able to tag along on the morning route for two days before heading back to camp with my dad who met the wagons and riders out on the trail for lunch. This is an incredibly unique, fun event filled with history, beautiful animals and salt of the earth people. 

This part four of five posts. With so many pictures, I struggled with what was the best way to split them up across a few blog posts, but in the end I decided to organize them based on a few themes. So what you see is not in any type of chronological order and covers the two and a half days that I was there. Enjoy!

If you missed them you can view:
Part One “On the Trail” HERE
Part Two “Circling the Wagons” HERE
Part Three “Cookin’ Spoo Style” HERE
Part Five “Horsemanship is in the Details” HERE

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My Dad first learned about the wagon train and this catering opportunity from one of the teachers at his school, Rochelle Meyers. Her family, starting with her husband George and his parents, have been a part of the wagon train for 12 years. Now they bring along their kids and sometimes cousins and other family members too. Rochelle and her family let me tag along in one of their wagons for one morning (and arranged for me to ride in a different wagon on a second morning.)

If you know me well, you know my first love is for a good story (hence my career and this hobby blog), and I loved hearing this family’s story. They were so kind and shared a lot about the history of the wagon train and stories about favorite memories, mishaps and about some of the different characters that participate every year. It was fun to watch and take pictures of the three generations working together doing something they love and taking the time to patiently help the kids learn how to help and contribute themselves.

The Meyers’ have two teams of Belgian Draft horses. There are the geldings (males) Gus and Call who are 20 years old and have been with Rochelle’s father-in-law Bill, since 2001. The team of mares (females), Kayla and Angel, 9 and 11 years old respectively, have been with Rochelle and George since 2016.

Thank you Meyers family, for letting me hang out with you!

Part five (the final one) will be up on Friday!

Oregon, Photography

Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train: “Cookin’ Spoo Style”

Back in June when I was at home on vacation visiting my family in Oregon I had the opportunity to experience a few days at the annual Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train. This week-long family event has been around since 1982 and is an opportunity for people to bring their horses and teams to experience a week in the beautiful Blue Mountains and recreate the wagon train experience that the pioneers had on the Oregon Trail. This is the second year that my parents have been the event’s official caterer. While I was there I was able to tag along on the morning route for two days before heading back to camp with my dad who met the wagons and riders out on the trail for lunch. This is an incredibly unique, fun event filled with history, beautiful animals and salt of the earth people. 

This part three of five posts. With so many pictures, I struggled with what was the best way to split them up across a few blog posts, but in the end I decided to organize them based on a few themes. So what you see is not in any type of chronological order and covers the two and a half days that I was there. Enjoy!

If you missed them you can view:
Part One “On the Trail” HERE
Part Two “Circling the Wagons” HERE
Part Four “All in the Family” HERE
Part Five “Horsemanship is in the Details” HERE

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Today’s post veers off from the series of photos of the horses and people on the wagon train, and focuses on the whole reason why I was actually there… my family!

My Dad built his first BBQ with his students when he was teaching high school agriculture maybe 15 years ago or so (?) (now he’s a high school principal). They used that original BBQ for high school football concessions, offering tri-tip and pork loin sandwiches along with your typical hamburgers and hotdogs. But more and more people became interested in it that they started using it for fundraisers and my Dad really started to get into trying new things (he’s always loved cooking). Eventually my Dad built his own BBQ and started doing the meat catering for weddings, company parties, golf tournaments and other events. Now on his third BBQ (because he always has new ideas on ways to improve it), he stays pretty busy with his side business, Cookin’ Spoo Style. He mostly sticks to just catering the meat but sometimes branches out and will do the whole meal.

As I mentioned above, this was his second time as the official caterer for the wagon train event and this year it happened to fall on the same week that I was able to come home for a visit.  As the caterer he was responsible for all three meals Tuesday through Friday, plus a dinner on Monday night and breakfast on Saturday for approximately 150 people… all without running water and electricity. So this event was much bigger than anything else he’s ever done and took a full-time team of 6 (and a second BBQ) to pull off. For lunch, instead of having the wagons come back into camp or sending them out with a cold lunch, my Dad, Mel and Tim would meet them out on the trail with a hot lunch, while my Mom, Jerrie and Dave stayed back at camp to prep for the next meal.

I spent the first 2.5 days there helping out and spending time with my parents, and though they put me to work, I had so much fun. I didn’t have cell phone service the whole time I was there, which was honestly so refreshing. My Dad was meant to be an educator and anyone who has met him can see the passion he has for his profession, but I love that he also has other interests and passions that he pursues and shares with others.

Part four will be up on Wednesday!

Oregon, Photography

Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train: “Circling the Wagons”

Back in June when I was at home on vacation visiting my family in Oregon I had the opportunity to experience a few days at the annual Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train. This week-long family event has been around since 1982 and is an opportunity for people to bring their horses and teams to experience a week in the beautiful Blue Mountains and recreate the wagon train experience that the pioneers had on the Oregon Trail. This is the second year that my parents have been the event’s official caterer. While I was there I was able to tag along on the morning route for two days before heading back to camp with my dad who met the wagons and riders out on the trail for lunch. This is an incredibly unique, fun event filled with history, beautiful animals and salt of the earth people. 

This part two of five posts. With so many pictures, I struggled with what was the best way to split them up across a few blog posts, but in the end I decided to organize them based on a few themes. So what you see is not in any type of chronological order and covers the two and a half days that I was there. Enjoy!

If you missed them you can view:
Part One “On the Trail” HERE
Part Three “Cookin’ Spoo Style” HERE
Part Four “All in the Family” HERE
Part Five “Horsemanship is in the Details” HERE

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I didn’t find time during my work trip this past week to get part two or more up, but I should be able to move forward with sharing the rest of these photos over the next few days.

At the end of every day upon the wagon train’s return to camp they “circle the wagons,” which originally was a safety tactic for protection. Today, it creates a great display of these beautiful animals and horsemanship.

Part three will be up on Monday!

Oregon, Photography

Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train: “On the Trail”

Back in June when I was at home on vacation visiting my family in Oregon I had the opportunity to experience a few days at the annual Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train. This week-long family event has been around since 1982 and is an opportunity for people to bring their horses and teams to experience a week in the beautiful Blue Mountains and recreate the wagon train experience that the pioneers had on the Oregon Trail. This is the second year that my parents have been the event’s official caterer. While I was there I was able to tag along on the morning route for two days before heading back to camp with my dad who met the wagons and riders out on the trail for lunch. This is an incredibly unique, fun event filled with history, beautiful animals and salt of the earth people. 

This part one of five posts. With so many pictures, I struggled with what was the best way to split them up across a few blog posts, but in the end I decided to organize them based on a few themes. So what you see is not in any type of chronological order and covers the two and a half days that I was there. Enjoy!

If you missed them you can view:
Part Two “Circling the Wagons” HERE
Part Three “Cookin’ Spoo Style” HERE
Part Four “All in the Family” HERE
Part Five “Horsemanship is in the Details” HERE

************

For many years, the wagon train group would actually move camp each day or every couple of days but more recently they’ve kept a base camp and go out on different routes from there each day. There are outriders, folks that just bring their horses to ride, and then there are the teams (both horses and mules) that pull the wagons. There are also a few single-horse carts. The first day I went out with the Meyers family (who I’ll share more about in an upcoming post) and their two teams. The second day I rode with Jill Perrine and her single-horse cart.

It takes an incredible amount of attention to detail, skill and teamwork for everything to go smoothly on these rides. I really enjoyed learning and taking it all in. Even though my family has never had horses, I have always really loved them and I was so memorized watching them work. Some folks go all in on this event and make an effort to make their wagon historically accurate. And some even wear period specific clothing! And if you’ve been a regular reader here you know that I think that the Blue Mountains are God’s country, so I was so happy to be along for the ride and the opportunity to capture it all with my camera.

Check back soon for part two!

Agriculture, Career/Professional, Photography

North Dakota Spring Wheat Tour

Last week I took a break from my normal office views and headed to North Dakota for the annual hard red spring wheat and durum quality tour. Every year around this time, folks from around the wheat industry (millers, traders, farmers, researchers, government officials and media) spend three days driving different routes around the state surveying this year’s crop and estimating the yield. There is a similar tour for winter wheat in Kansas that I went to back in 2015, but this was the first time I was able to join the tour in North Dakota. You can read the summary I wrote about the tour here.

Considering I’ve spent quite a few of my weekends this summer inside at work preparing to launch our new website, getting to spend a week in my jeans and boots, walking through wheat fields and enjoying being away from the city was EXACTLY what I needed.

By far, the highlight of the trip was visiting two of my favorite farmers, David and Aileen Clough, who hosted lunch on their farm for some of the cars on the tour. David spent twelve years serving on the North Dakota Wheat Commission and was one its representatives on the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Board of Directors (my organization). Aileen traveled to most of USW’s events with David, so I’ve gotten to know them during my time here. David recently retired off of the board earlier this summer so I was so excited for the chance to see them again and visit their farm. David and Aileen are two of the kindest people I’ve ever met and just another reason why I personally think working for farmers is one of the most rewarding jobs there is.

I had only been to North Dakota one other time, and when I did, I spent most of my time in conference rooms in Fargo. One of the perks of going on a work trip like this is that you really get a chance to see a lot of the state. One evening during our stay in Bismarck, we had some time to explore Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and enjoy some beautiful views.

And of course, I couldn’t visit North Dakota at this time of year with my camera and NOT request that we stop so I could take some pictures of the sunflowers. They just make me so happy!

Thanks for a great week North Dakota!

Oregon, Photography, Thoughts and Lessons Learned

Just Living – Golden Hour on the Farm

“I am tired.”

If you’ve spoken to me at all in the last two months, my bet is that this was said early on in the conversation. Usually I try to stay away from default answers like “I’m tired” or “I’m busy” when I’m catching up with someone, because the reality is we are all busy and tired, and we all measure those differently. Personally, I think we are all capable of being better conversationalists.

But the truth is in this case, when I finally made it home to Oregon for my vacation at home with my family, this was all I could muster up when my Grampy asked how my work meeting in Seattle, (that I had just traveled from) went.

My body was tired, my brain was tired and I’d even say my soul was tired.

Both professionally and personally, this season of life over of the past six months or so has really pushed me. Its tested me and even broke me a couple of times. And that’s all OK. These seasons come and go, and I think it’s important to keep that in mind. I believe that sometimes you just have to put your head down and work, and do what you have to do to get by.

That first evening when I got home I immediately jumped on my laptop to knock out a few things related to the meeting I had just traveled from. But the sun was starting to set and the scene I could see through my parent’s big kitchen window could not be ignored.

So I grabbed my camera and headed out to sit in the yard with our old family dog Jack and just paused for a bit.

It’s amazing how little things like that can refocus things for you.

It’s a beautiful world sometimes I don’t see so clear
Some days you just breath in
Just try to break even
Sometimes your heart’s poundin’ out of your chest
Sometimes it’s just beatin’
Some days you just forget
What all you’ve been given
Some days you just get back
And some days you’re just alive
Some days you’re livin’
Some days you’re livin’