Sunday, January 9, 2011

NCHA Futurity & Awards Party in Ft. Worth

On December 4th Mark, Miles, Maya and I traveled over to Ft. Worth to attend the weekend events at the 2010 NCHA Futurity. Mark finished out the 2010 show year in 4th place in the NCHA World Standings for the 2,000 Limit Rider class. At the Awards Party, Mark was awarded a Top 15 Jacket with his name and his horse's name monogrammed on it, a Top 15 belt buckle, and a gift certificate. We are so proud of him for his accomplishments and goals he has reached in his fisrt year of cutting!
Our family had a great time in Ft. Worth visiting with friends and taking in all the exciting activities. We are hoping to go back again next year!

Mark on stage at the NCHA Awards Party receiving his Top 15 Buckle, tack and gift certificate.

Miles and Maya at the Will Rogers Collisium in Ft. Worth

Ft. Worth Stockyards

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Cowboying families are tied together by their loved for the land and the animals. Young children start doing chores in the barn, then out in the fields, riding horses that are passed down from older siblings. Women rope, vaccinate, pound nails into fences, and cook for the crew. Working together allows families to link the present to the future: as new calves are born and colts grow bigger, so grow the children who will take care of them."
~from the book Gathering Remnants, A Tribute to the Working Cowboy

Life in the Fast Lane!

WOW!!! Life has taken off in the fast lane for the Diaz gang! I didn't realize so much time had passed since my last post... I guess time really does fly when you're having fun!
Since moving to Jones' Quarter Horses here in Amarillo, Mark has gotten involved in the cutting world. He's lovin' life and all the lessons he's learning along the way. Mark's boss is a good man who's taken alot of his time to work with Mark and help him out. Mark is in two local cutting associations ~ Panhandle Cutting Horse Association and Palo Duro Cutting Horse Association. Mark is currently in first place as the leader for the Area 11 (West Texas) for his class. Mark is curently listed as 9th in the World Standings for the National Cutting Horse Association. Mark just received a letter in the mail this week from the NCHA recognizing his success in the sport of cutting. He has been awarded the $1,000 Achievement Award Buckle. We are very proud of Mark and all his accomplishments for this year!

Our little buckaroo Miles had an eventful summer, too! He had been doing a great job by getting up early each morning and heading to the barn with Mark for a full day of work. His favorite horse to ride is Brenda! Miles would get on the Gator and head out to the pasture to catch Brenda and bring her up to the barn to saddle.

One morning around 10am my cell phone rang and it was Mark. "Get the truck and come to the barn... we have to take Miles to the Emergency Room." As a mother hearing those words, the first thought to pop into my mind was that he was seriously injured. {My worst nightmare is of one of my children being kicked in the head or face by one of the horses.} Miles' horse had gotten spooked and took off running across the indoor arena and Miles went off the side and under the horse. He ended up bruised and banged up, but the big "boo-boo" was his arm. His left arm (the humerus - large bone in the upper arm) was broken completely in two. After a long day at the E.R. and being in and out of x-rays, we were fianlly able to bring our tough little cowboy home. Its been a long road of recovery since then, but all is good! Just one of those "lessons learned!"

As for the rest of us gals, we are all doing good! Loving life here in Texas and enjoying the summer break before school starts back up.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another year with my cowboy!

Well, I celebrated another year with my cowboy! Mark and I were married 11 years ago on December 12, 1998.

There's a famous line in that old Willie & Waylon song that says "cowboys ain't easy to love and they're harder to hold." I can say that this verse is mostly true, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

For those of you who don't know our story... Mark and I met in the 9th grade of high school and by the 10th grade we were dating. We were the typical "highschool sweethearts" around our little town!
When we got married we were young. Looking back I can think of three things that made being married to a cowboy so tough ~~~ 1.) Moving 2.) Money and finally 3.) All the late nights of hanging with the other cowboys. Looking back on it all, two of those things make me appreciate our life together now. As for #3, I do admit I was hard on him!

The moving was always an adventure, but I hated the packing and unpacking our "home" as we moved from ranch to ranch. We have moved more times than I can keep up with, but each move brought new adventures & memories to our lives. I always knew we'd be okay, cause Mark is a good provider and we had each other. Mark would work day & night if that was what it took to make sure I had all the things I needed. I may not have had nice gifts, new vehicles and beautiful homes, but he made sure I had all the neccessities. Cowboys are drifters... always looking for greener pastures and bigger remudas. So, if the day ever comes that I hear the words, "pack your bags", I'll be ready to load the trailer and set off for the next adventure on the horizion. But for now, we are happy right where we are! Maybe my cowboy has found a comfortable place to hang his hat for a while!

Cowboy wages = no moo-la! Thank goodness I came from a family that didn't thrive on material items! My Daddy (also a real cowboy) worked hard for every dollar he had, so when I fell in love with a cowboy I knew I wasn't marrying for money! During the first 5 years of our marriage we didn't have much... times were hard, but we made the best of them. There were many times that we lived from paycheck to paycheck, but we didn't need much. Like I said above, Mark always made sure we had what we needed. We had each other, friends, family and a pot of cowboy beans to keep us full!

All the late nights of hanging out with the cowboys... need I say more??? As a young & new wife, this was the one thing that made loving a cowboy tough! Through hard work and alot of love, we survived those days and look back on it a little wiser, a little older. Now that Mark is older, his idea of hanging out is sitting around the house with his cowboy buddies, having a cold beer and trading cowboy gear.

My advice to anyone who is smitten with a certain cowboy~ remember, "cowboys ain't easy to love", but it sure is worth it! Deep down under all that toughness, there's a heart of gold. I wouldn't trade in my cowboy for anything in the world!

p.s. Mark, thank you for this great journey you have let me be a part of! I am looking forward to many, many more years by your side.

~ Jennifer

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our New Home in Texas~

Well, its been quiet some time since I've been able to blog and I am taking a minute to catch up with all our family and friends! Life here in Texas is going great! We live on a 350 acre horse farm (Jones' Quarter Horses) just outside the Amarillo city limits where Mark is enjoying his job riding 2 and 3 year old cutting horses everyday. He thinks he's in heaven!
Miles and Maya love it here and started at their new school last week. They go to a small school out in the middle of a cow field! They both have really nice teachers and love going to school each morning. As for me, I stay at home with Allie and take care of the house and spend lunchtime with Mark. Whenever Allie is napping, I head to the barn to watch Mark or help out with anything he needs help with. Once the kids get home from school, they change into their riding clothes and head to the barn!
My parents live on a small family-owned ranch about an hour away from us and we usually spend Sundays with them. I'm in need of buying a new digital camera... as soon as I can get one I will get some pictures of Texas posted! For now, hope everyone is doing good and keep in touch!

Here's our new address:
10101 S. Washington St.
Amarillo, TX 79118

Saturday, June 27, 2009

How do cowboys spend their Father's Day?

What better way for a cowboy to spend his Father's Day...
at a fun day of Ranch Roping, of course!
Mark participated in the Northern Range Ranch Roping Series held at Camp Runamuck outside of Billings, MT on Father's Day ~ Sunday, June 21, 2009. Mark entered in the Open Division and had the opportunity to rope on two different teams with a great group of guys. One of the teams that Mark was on did a great job and ended up with quiet a bit of points!

Mark throwing the big loop ~ practicing & getting ready for his turn in the arena

Mark and his horse Gallito going to work!

Mark & his horse Gallito ~ Ranch Roping

Mark ~ I am very proud of you and all your accomplishments along the way! You know that I support you 100% and will be by your side all the way... I am so lucky to have a husband like you who loves adventures and isn't affraid to face any challanges head on.
Our kids are the lucky ones too,... they have a wonderful Daddy to teach them all about horses and the cowboy way of life!

Happy Father's Day Mark ~ we love you!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Montana Stockgrower's Association comes to town...

On June 10-13, 2009 the Montana Stockgrower's Association
celebrated their 125th Anniversary in Miles City.

A few days before the events, some of the wagon trains came down the gravel road that runs between the ranch. The folks stopped right down the road from the house to camp in the pasture. They unhitched their wagons, set up their wall tents, and started their dinner over an open fire. The next morning Mark stopped by and had a cup of "cowboy coffee" that they boiled over an open fire. They hitched back up and moved a little closer to town and camped out on a neighboring ranch.

The highlight of the events took place on Satuday, June 13th when we rode into town to watch the Stockgrower's Parade down Mail Street.

Jenn & Miles enjoying the parade!

I think that's as accurate as it gets!
Rosebud Cattlewomen's Association
Once again, the cowboys from the Cross Four loaded up their horses and headed to town to be in the parade. The parade consisted of many covered wagons, chuck wagons, carts/carriages, and any vehicles entered had to be a 1959 model or later. This was a true Western Parade!

Here comes the Cross Four Ranch team and cowboys...

In this picture: Larry (black scarf), Juan (black horse),
Al (red scarf/black hat), Ben (red scarf/white hat),
& then there's Mark riding Squirrel.

After the parade we grabbed a bite to eat and headed to the park for a picnic and some play time while we waited for the gates to open at the fairgrounds.

Allie enjoying some Dorritos at the park!

Once the gates opened, we went to watch the Ranch Rodeo.

After a day filled with excitement the kids headed to the house with their grandma and papa while Mark and I went downtown with friends to the Street Dance. Needless to say, even though we are a small dot on the map, we know how to have a good time around here!
As Jason Aldeen sings, "That's how we get down in a hick town!"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just Another Day on the Ranch...

As I've been getting e-mails from some of my friends and family that are not familiar with ranch life, I thought I'd slow down from my busy day and post a blog about what goes on in a typical day around here! So, for my "city-slickers" ~ this ones for you!

Right now, here at the Cross Four we are in full-swing with branding. The ranch is made up of four ranches combined together into one. The cowboys will start with ranch #4
~ The Porcupine Ranch, on Monday. Branding is a time where the cowboys all ride on horseback thru the big, open pastures gathering the cattle and their babies. They are brought to a set of corrals in the middle of the pasture and the babies are sorted off their mama's. Therefore, as you can just imagine, you end up with a pen full of bawling babies on the inside and a bunch of snorting mama's on the outside ~ waiting for the moment when they can be paired up again! Once the babies have been sorted off their mama's, they are held at the end of the corrals and a few mounted cowboys rope them by the back feet and drag them to the branding pot where a couple of "wrestlers" are waiting for their turn with the calve.
Two guys take down the calve and remove the rope from its hind legs.

At this time, they are branded, vacinated, ear-tagged and casterated if of the male gender (...guess that's why its great to be a girl!)

Once they have made their trip down "branding row" they are released to their mothers!
A Bit of History on Branding:
In 1541, Hernando Cortez from Spain introduced branding to the New World. He brought cattle stamped with his mark of three crosses. There has never been anything to take the place of a visable brand as the permanent definitive mark of ownership and deterrant of theft. Livestock people say, "A brand is something that won't come off in the wash!"

Branding is very important in proving ownership of lost or stolen animals. An unbranded animal is called a "slick" and is almost impossible to legeally identify. Cattlemen have an old but true saying, "Trust your neighbor, but brand your stock."

Brands range from intriquite, detailed brands to simple, easy-to-read brands. The brand here at the ranch is a Cross with a number Four ~ pretty simple!


Okay, so now that you have had your history lesson for the day on cattle branding, let me get back to the goings-on of the ranch life! After a dusty, sun-drenched morning of wrestling with furry bawling masses of beef you end up with a big crew of hungry, dirty cowboys!

The cooks here on the ranch prepare a delicious spread of ranch food fit for a king! (meat, potatoes, a veggie, tossed salad, and of course something to sweeten' them up!) The food is carefully loaded up into coolers and packed tightly with towels to keep it hot and to keep it all in the pot! Once the bed of the truck is loaded, we pile into the truck and head out for our destination in the middle of the pasture. By the way, thank goodness for flat-bed trucks... they make excellent serving tables!

As soon as the branding is finished (or they just decide to break for lunch) the cowboys line up at the back of the truck to wash up in a make-shift sink that consists of a plastic wash pan, some clean, warm water and a bar of soap. Then you better be ready for the stampede... and I ain't talking about the cattle!!! Once the guys get them a plate of warm food they find a place to rest and eat before headin' back to the job at hand.

So, this is how we do it ~ Montana style!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

59th Annual Bucking Horse Sale

Well, we all survived another Bucking Horse Sale weekend and are here to tell the story!
Bucking Horse Sale is a week-long event that has been held in Miles City for 59 years now. The Bucking Horse Sale is a place where ranches/stock contractors can bring their best horses/bulls and buck them out for the crowd to see and for rodeo companies to bid on them. Some of the best bucking horses have come thru the Bucking Horse Sale and several have made their way to the top at the NFR!
Bucking Horse Sale started on Thursday night with a Steak Fry Dinner and a concert by Darryl Worley. Friday night was the Bull Riding, Mutton Bustin' and Wild Horse Race.
Saturday morning was the Bucking Horse Sale Parade down historic Main Street in Miles City. The cowboys from the Cross Four Ranch rode their horses down Main Street in the parade.
The Cross Four Ranch ~ Bill driving team with Mark, Juan, Travis, Shane, Boots, and Ben riding on the sides
Mark and Travis riding for the Cross Four Ranch
Saturday events included the Bucking Horse Sale, Horse Races, and the Wild Horse Race. Both Friday and Saturday night ended with a Street Dance! Main Street is closed off during Bucking Horse Sale and is packed on Friday and Saturday night with cowboys & cowgirls, live bands on each corner, and plenty of cold beer to go around! Sunday wrapped up the Bucking Horse Sale with Cowboy Church, more bucking horses, Horse Races, and the Wild Horse Race.
All week long the Trade Show Expo was open to the public. My business, Buckaroo Babe, had a vendor booth and I had an excellent weekend filled with great sales!
I am looking forward to next year ~ until then, just let 'er buck!