Beyond The Butte
Author: Lacy Tucker
Just beyond the Mountains of Central Oregon, we bring you a warm story about a gorgeous ranch and the journey of two ambitious women hauling their tails off for the past year in hopes to make the top 15 and compete amongst the toughest cowboys and cowgals in Fort Worth, Texas this winter.
I'm talking about none other than Julie Clarke and Granddaughter, Mia Webster of Clarke Butte Ranch located in Bend, Oregon.
Julie says her love for horses started at the ripe age of 4 years old! From the first moment she threw a leg over, the deal was sealed and there was no looking back after that.
Julie was a little girl like so many of us that knew a lifestyle with these graceful, big hearted animals was without a question a must.
Fast forward to present day, Julie and Mia are showing some of the most elite performance horses in the industry. To no surprise I had to know their story. Where they came from, how this has impacted their relationship and just what exactly Clarke Butte Ranch is all about.. Here is what we gathered from the thriving cowgirls. -
The business side of CBR developed quickly after having two proven mares in the show pen; Pounce and Little Silver Belles, the next natural step was to breed. Prior to cutting Julie's family bred Appaloosas. She says, "Finding that magic cross still ran through her veins."
Julie states the mission behind Clarke Butte Horses is simple; Breeding for Success. From the moment contracts are signed and breeding is complete, the health of each of their mares and surrogates is carefully managed. It is very important to raise successful cow horse athletes in the eyes of those involved in her up and coming breeding program.
In 2017, Julie decided to take hauling seriously mid-season with Granddaughter, Mia. The duo says they were blessed with an incredible family support system that allowed them to take their competing to the next level. The two talented cowgirls made dreams come true this year, ranking in the top 5 headed to the NCHA World Finals at the Will Rodgers! Mia is currently ranked 4th in the $35 Non Pro and Julie, currently sitting 5th in the $25 Novice Non Pro.
I asked what some of their favorite shows and memories were along the way. Julie says returning to the Oregon Cutting Horse Association's 'Bell-A-Ranch' weekend cutting in Burns, Oregon hit a high note! The location holds many memories of early years as a developing cutter for Julie. "It's deep western ranch roots, timeless western outbuildings and the opportunity to watch the working cattle come and go from the pastures instead of cattle trucks simply cannot be compared to any other cuttings." She strongly encourages everyone to mark this event on their calendars for 2018; as you won't be disappointed, while it draws everyone together for that Ft. Klamath feel that many of us are missing so much.
As far as memories go, Julie expresses how much she loved watching Mia succeed in the show pen. Highlights from the year were Mia marking her very first 224 and also winning the PCCHA Junior Youth year-end saddle. Other cherished memories were those spent with family. "Everything is better with family" Julie says.
A reminiscing Julie Clarke states; "Words can't describe what this experience has meant to both of us. As a very young child Mia had a passion for horses very similar to my own. During Ft. Klamath days as a four year old she would sit in the stands for hours upon hours with pencil and paper in hand, drawing the different characteristics of cattle being settled. Never asking to leave her post to play with others but diligently watching each herd, her heart has always longed for the show pen." Julie continues saying "Watching her develop into a hard-working, beautiful, gracious, caring, humble and extremely talented rider is very fulfilling as a Mimi."
As far as hauling in the future goes, Julie tells me they've started discussing next years plan in both weekend hauling and major aged events. The CBR ladies are excited to announce there's another Webster cowgirl who plans on showing in 2018 at the exciting age of 6! Watch out y'all!
Julie's advice for any future first time haulers out there is "Be organized, stay focused and have fun! Get to know your fellow competitors and embrace each location and what it has to offer. Keep your equipment in good working order and take good care of your horses and yourself!"
Don't miss the action and watch with us, the fun starts November 24th! We we would like to wish these gritty girls the best of luck deep in the dirt down in Fort Worth!
Lacy currently works for cutting horse trainer Morgan Cromer so keep an eye out for her while your loping circles at the cutting. If you like what you read here and want to check out some of her other work you can visit her blog page- “Poppies and Pines”, trust us all of her work is worth the read! We are excited to have her joining our team at CHC!