Tag Archives: Cowgirl Swank Classic

Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce & A Magazine Cover

It’s almost the middle of July already….holy cow!! It’s just crazy how fast time goes by. I swear June flew by and I barely remember it at all…..no kidding!

My family and I had a busy 4th of July and that was rolled into my birthday on the 7th. I’ve always loved the 4th of July holiday because I felt like I got extra celebrating in for my birthday. The day after my birthday is also great because it’s the day my mom was born. If she could have held out a couple more hours we would have shared a day. I always tell her what a great birthday present I must have been….she just rolls her eyes at me. 🙂

I had a great few days of birthday celebration starting on the 2nd. We went to a kids rodeo in Crawford (it’s such a treat to see my son and the other youngsters learning the competition ropes in the arena). The 3rd and 4th of July we helped out at the Old West Trail Rodeo in Crawford. I helped distribute flags to the queens for the sponsor runs. If you have no idea what I am talking about you may want to pay attention. I actually kind of thought “how hard can it be…..all I have to do is hand flags to the queens”. Yeah, right…..you have to hand the right flag to the right queen at the right time…..throughout the entire rodeo. When they do the sponsor run (all flags out) it is like a war zone. I can’t remember the exact count, but there are something like 25 flags or so…..it’s just crazy! It went well through because I got to work with two great gals so that made it easier. Shane ran the roping chute during the rodeo. That’s not an easy job either…..you must pay very close attention to the roper nodding his head. He also helped all through the slack on the night of the 3rd after the rodeo and helped feed the stock. He got to our trailer and went to bed at 3 am! During the day of the 4th we were in the parade promoting the Cowgirl Swank Classic – Women’s Ranch Rodeo. It is coming up on the 19th and 20th so I’ve also been really busy planning it. After the parade we went to Fort Robinson to tour the grounds and stables. We also checked out the art exhibit there. What a great place that is! We had a fun few days, but we were worn out by the night of the 4th (we got home at 2 am).

Also, on the 3rd I was surprised and thrilled to be featured in Real American Cowboys Magazine. Not only was I the feature store, but I was on the cover!!! My hopes of being a cover model have no been fulfilled (j/k). 🙂 Here it all is:

Picture Quality RACM Cover

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Katie Barlett, who is originally from Australia, but now resides in Texas wrote the article. She did a great job! As thrilling as it was to be on the cover I doubt that Cosmo will be calling anytime soon. 🙂

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been busy planning our upcoming women’s ranch rodeo. If you’ve never put on a rodeo before, it’s unbelievable the amount of work that goes into it. I certainly couldn’t do it alone. I’m very thankful for good friends to help me put on a great weekend. If you want to check it out, here is our website:  www.cowgirlswankclassic.com.

Even though I have been busy with all sorts of things, I decided yesterday to make a cake I had seen the day before on Facebook:  Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce. How yummy does that sound?! Without further ado, here it is:

Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce

For Apple cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 large apples, cored and grated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional- I leave them out)

For Vanilla Sauce (Makes 3/4 cup.)
•1 cup water
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 tablespoon cornstarch
•2 tablespoons butter
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•pinch salt

Apple Cake Directions

Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs one at time.

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Add grated apples.

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Sift together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add in half of flour mixture stir in until incorporated, add second half and still until just mixed. (I stir in the flour by hand to avoid over-mixing.)

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Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. (less if you bake convection)

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Vanilla Sauce Directions

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine sugar and cornstarch, blend well. Add sugar and cornstarch mixture to boiling water; reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened.

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Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla, and salt, stirring until butter is melted.

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Spoon over dessert Enjoy!

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How was it? Amazing!!! I let the cake cool quite a bit then I made the sauce to put over the top…..YUM!!! Hope you give it a whirl…it’s going in my recipe box as a keeper (great way to use up apples when needed)! ~Cheyenne

 

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Women’s Ranch Rodeo….Long Live Our Cowgirl Ways!!

May has been a crazy, busy month around here for me and my family. The month is starting to wind down now and today I am giddy with excitement! Tomorrow we head to Gillette, Wyoming for the first WRRA (Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association) rodeo of the season for us up here in the north country. We haven’t had a rodeo since last September so I’m really looking forward to it. My friend, Heidi Huggins of Bucking H Designs, has worked her tail off along with her helpers to put together and awesome event for us to enjoy this weekend. Hats off to them for working so hard!!There is something for everyone…even the kiddos! Here is the poster for the Bucking H Bash:

BHB 2014

I am so looking forward to competing with my team to try our hardest to win some of the awards awards and prize money up for grabs. Here is my team:

CS Team Hyannis

One of the members has changed since this picture, but this is what we look like…..all decked out in our bright red shirts….true Cowgirl Swank color! Our team is called Cowgirl Swank so that should come as no surprise.  The three other gals on the team are:  Heidi Cuny, Randi Selle, and Rhonda Matt. Great girls who are all quite handy! 🙂

I wrote an article about the WRRA a couple of months ago, but the publication it was going to appear in hit a bump in the road so I’m still waiting to hear from them. I’ve decided that it’s fitting to publish it here on my blog as I sit here waiting for the minutes to tick by until we take off tomorrow. Hope you enjoy the read! Here goes:

I grew up idolizing cowgirls. I was lucky because I had a great role model to look up to….my mom, Lila Glade. Just like my mom, I grew up on the same ranch in southeastern Montana north of the Yellowstone River smack dab between Little Sheep Mountain and Big Sheep Mountain. In truth, I don’t believe my mom aspired to be anything but a cowgirl/ranch woman. Don’t get me wrong, she went off and got a college education. She and her teammates even managed to capture the coveted Team Championship at the College National Finals Rodeo one of the years she was there! She enjoyed college, but deep inside I think she always knew her place was out on the range. She has always loved the outdoors and the animals associated with a cowgirl’s life: horses and cattle. My mom has always been a superior horsewoman and she definitely knows her cattle. She has had many accomplishments in her career as a cowgirl. I believe her greatest accomplishment was qualifying and competing in the National Finals Rodeo in 1976.

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She may argue with me a bit on this because she has other accomplishments to choose from, but I think it’s incredible! My mom roped a little bit, but not competitively. Growing up, I had some of the best barrel horses ever to compete on. How many nine year olds do you know who get to ride a horse that went to the NFR? Not many!

The fact is I enjoyed barrel racing a lot when I was younger, but as I grew older my dad started showing me the joys of what a lariat could do. I wasn’t a roper at a really young age like some kids are today. I didn’t actively start roping until I was 12 years old. There was just something about roping that go in my blood right away. I can thank my dad for passing on his athletic abilities to just pick stuff up. That’s how it was with me and roping….so barrel racing eventually went by the wayside. I did have a slight challenge along the way because I am left-handed. My dad never viewed it as a “handicap” and he never tried to change me. He always thought lefties had an advantage when it came to breakaway roping anyway…..no crossing over to worry about! I taught myself to tie goats right-handed and it worked out just fine. I managed to win 3 state championships in high school in goat tying, pole bending, and breakaway roping. *I’ve even taken to heading right-handed now. It’s quite a process and I’m not as “deadly” as I am with my left hand, but the fact that I’m trying to master both is a feat in itself. I love heeling, but it’s good to be able to rope both ends (heading and heeling).*

I went on to rodeo one season in college. I decided college really wasn’t for me so I went off to the big city to learn about the retail world. Fast forward, 13 years…..this is where my story picks back up. I moved back to Montana in the late fall of 2004. I met my soon-to-be-fiancé in early 2005 and within a few months we moved to southwestern South Dakota and started working on my folks’ ranch (my folks had sold their ranch in Montana in early 2000 and had relocated here). I was home….and boy, did it feel good! With the help of my folks, Shane and I went into the cattle business in the fall of 2005. With that part of my life lined out, I set my sights on getting back into the arena. As fate would have it, I suffered a bad injury on the 4th of July. I was at home in our arena roping on the gentlest horse on the place. It wasn’t good. I got bucked off and as it was happening I hyper-extended my wrist on the swells of my saddle. I tore some ligaments in my left arm/wrist and cracked some bones. It took me years to get it to where I could use it effectively again. So, fast forward again to 2013….

I had been watching ranch rodeos for several years from the sidelines as my husband and his friends went and did their thing. I might mention that I had our son in 2008 so up until this point I was pretty content being the cheerleader and caretaker. However, something inside me started longing for my goal of roping and competing again. I had let my arm heal significantly and I felt I was “ready”. There was something about ranch rodeo that really appealed to me. Perhaps it was the team camaraderie, the events (tying down a steer looked awfully fun to me), the excitement and atmosphere of it all. Whatever it was, I was hooked….but I wasn’t ready to jump into it with the guys. I didn’t feel confident enough for that (yet).

2012 came around and one day I was on Facebook. Something about “Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association” came on the screen. I stopped what I was doing and decided to check it out. Holy cow!! Here was an entire association dedicated to WOMEN in RANCH RODEO!!

WRRA

I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I devoured what I could read there and then went on to dive into their website (www.womensranchrodeo.org). I read and read until there was nothing else to read.

In my reading, I found out that the WRRA was founded by Kansas cowgirls in 2005 and that each rodeo includes the same 5 timed events in each of their sanctioned rodeos. They are: Calf Branding, Doctoring, Sorting, Trailer Loading, and Tie Down/Mugging. Here’s what happens in each event (and here are a few pictures of team Cowgirl Swank in action):

Calf Branding – 3 Minute Time Limit. There is one roper, one brander, and two gals to hold the calves down. The roper goes in and snags a calf by one or both hind legs. She drags it out where one gal tails the calf down and the other has the rope. Once the rope is removed the brander is signaled. She runs over and “brands” the calf with a branding iron that has powder on it. Once the calf is “branded” it is let up and the roper goes back in for the second calf. Everything is repeated. Once the second calf is “branded” time is called.

Branding Hyannis 2

Branding Hyannis 5

Branding Hyannis

Doctoring – 2 Minute Time Limit. All four team members start behind a line on their horses. Time starts when the first team member crosses the line. They take off after their steer that is on the other end of the arena. All four members are allowed to rope. The steer must be roped with a legal head catch within the first minute. The steer must be headed and heeled. Once this is achieved, one of the non-roping team mates jumps down and marks the steers face with chalk. Time is called.

Sorting 2 Hyannis

Doctoring Hyannis 2

Doctoring Hyannis

Sorting – 3 Minute Time Limit. Cattle with numbers on them are located at the end of the arena behind a chalk line. Time starts when the first team member crosses the line. While riding towards the herd, three numbers are called out over the loud speaker. They are in order (4, 5, 6 or 10, 11, 12 – for example). These are the numbers/cattle that must be cut out of the herd and taken across the chalk line. Any team member can sort, but only one rider can be in the herd at a time. Once a critter is across the chalk line, it cannot come back across or it is a no time. Also, no wrong numbered animal may cross the line. Once all 3 critters are across the line, time is called.

Tie Down Hyannis 2

Sorting 2

Sorting 3 Hyannis

Trailer Loading – 2 Minute Time Limit. Cattle with numbers on them will be located at the end of the arena behind a chalk line. Time starts when the first team member crosses the score line. Any team member can sort, but only one rider can be in the herd at a time. While riding towards the herd, the number of the steer to be sorted and loaded will be called out over the loud speaker. This steer must be cut out from the herd and taken across the line. The steer is then trailed to the trailer and loaded in the first compartment and the door is shut. One team member’s horse is then loaded in the second compartment. Once the door is shut and latched all team members must run to a designated spot near the judge. Once there, the judge calls for time.

Trailer Loading

Trailer Loading Hyannis 2

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Tie Down/Mugging – *This is my favorite event!* 3 Minute Time Limit. Steer will be let out at the opposite end of the arena. Team members start behind a chalk line. Time starts when the first team member crosses the line. Steer must be roped with a legal head catch in the first minute. No loop limit and all four team members are allowed to rope. Steer doesn’t have to be heeled; this is up to the teams’ discretion. After the steer is roped, he must be mugged and tied down by 3 legs. The three legs must be crossed. During the mugging process at least one team member must be in contact with rope or steer. All ropes must be off the steer and all team members must be clear of steer before calling for time. Time stops when one team member raises hands after the steer is tied down. Steer must stay tied for 6 seconds.

Tie Down Hyannis 2

Tie Down Hyannis 4

Tie Down Hyannis 3

Things don’t get much more exciting than those 5 events! I have been asked why there aren’t women’s rough stock events. I don’t have a technical answer on that except to say that I’m glad there aren’t. My 40-year-old body can’t handle much crow-hopping let alone a bucking bronco! I will say that I have been told that the WRRA’s outlook on their rodeos and events is that they want to include everyone and not exclude anyone. Even gals who aren’t bona fide ropers can participate as there are events that don’t require every single team member to rope (calf branding, trailer loading, sorting). Women’s bronc riding is only for a few select women who like to do that sort of thing (hats off to them too). The WRRA wants to showcase actual ranch events that occur on most any ranch. They want to keep it as safe as possible for contestants and animals alike. That makes perfect sense to me.

Since the WRRA sanctions the rodeos, their rules are followed and the gals participating must become members before competing. Money can be won and points are accumulated towards their World Finals, which will be held this year in Loveland, Colorado in October. Imagine, a World Finals…..for Women…..in Ranch Rodeos!! I was so excited about this that I called the phone number listed on the WRRA’s website. Enter Billie Franks into my life.

Billie FranksBillie is from Grenola, Kansas.

Billie is the Special Agent and Treasurer for the WRRA. She is quite a cowgirl and a determined leader of the association. We talked for quite a bit and struck up a friendship right then and there. With her encouragement and leadership, I decided that this was going to be “my thing”. Instantly it became my goal to get involved in this association and to hopefully host the first-ever WRRA rodeo in Nebraska.

I’m happy to report that I reached this goal last summer with the “Cowgirl Swank Classic” – Women’s Ranch Rodeo. I had a lot of help from some great people in the Crawford, Nebraska area. It’s a long story of how it all came to be so I won’t go into all of that. I will just say that with a positive attitude, hard work, and good people helping you…you can achieve most anything!

CSC Logo

So, what went on at the “Cowgirl Swank Classic”? Let me tell you….it was 2 days of the most amazing cowgirl action I have ever seen or been a part of! Imagine 12 teams of 4 competitive cowgirls, 48 well-trained horses, 50 head of steers, 25 head of calves, and over 2 inches of rain…..it was nothing short of the most entertaining rodeo ever! We had spills and thrills.….my pants were so dirty after each rodeo that they could have stood up by themselves….and I’m not kidding!

CSC Branding 4

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Me Muddy

The crowd was super….I was so worried that the rain would keep people away, but just the opposite happened. Crawford has such an amazing arena setup. It allows vehicles to pull up near the grandstands so they can look down over the arena. It truly couldn’t have been more perfect. We are still hearing comments about what a wonderful rodeo it was and how spectators and contestants can’t wait for the next one!

CS Classic Team Photo48 cowgirls competed at the 2013 Cowgirl Swank Classic. This is our group photo.

Like me a lot of the contestants are mothers and wives. We have our children and our husbands supporting us. The best part at our rodeos though is that the husbands are the ones in the stands with the video cameras ready to go and the kids playing in the dirt at their feet. Turnabout is fair play! Rodeo and ranching is about partnership. We have done it for them….and will continue to do so in the future…now it’s their turn to repay the favor….and they do it willingly. All of the husband’s I have visited with are thrilled with the advancements we are making for this sport. They truly think it is great and applaud us. They are happy to see their wives out enjoying themselves and having fun while representing our way of life. We ladies appreciate all the support we get from our families so that we can have our turn in the arena. It’s our turn to shine!

The first-ever women’s ranch rodeo in Nebraska was deemed a huge success. 2014 is going to be a very exciting year for women’s ranch rodeo in the northern region! We are in the planning stages for our second “Cowgirl Swank Classic”, which is scheduled to take place on July 20th and 21st in Crawford, NE.

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Another wonderful occurrence is other people having the same idea I did. They have taken it upon themselves to promote this awesome association/sport and put on their own rodeos. Hyannis, Nebraska was second last year with a two-day rodeo in September. They are planning for the second “Cowgirl’s Duel in the Sandhills” to take place August 2nd and 3rd. Three newcomers to the WRRA are Gillette, Hermosa (possible), and Cheyenne. Gillette, Wyoming will open the season with their two-day “Bucking H Bash” rodeo on May 31st and June 1st. Hermosa, South Dakota is looking at a possible date during their fair in August and Cheyenne, Wyoming is hosting a one-day rodeo on September 21st, which will close out the season for the northern division.

The great thing about how much interest has been generated in our area is that the ladies of the WRRA sat up and took notice. They are excited to have added us as their “northern division”. I was really glad to be voted onto their board of directors in December as was Mckenzie Minor from Hyannis, Nebraska.

McKenzie Minor McKenzie Minor is from Hyannis, Nebraska.

Together, we are pushing for even more expansion in the northern region in 2015. I envision additional rodeos taking place in Colorado, Montana, and hopefully North Dakota in the near future. With that said, if you are interested in hosting a WRRA rodeo in your area in 2015, please contact me. I would love to explain the process to you and answer any questions you may have. We are also searching for sponsors and people who want to get involved in this incredible association. Feel free to contact me at any time! I can be reached at thenativecowgirl@yahoo.com or on my cell at 605-891-1827. I look forward to hearing from some of you and continuing to work to spread this great association as far as we can.

As I said at the beginning of this column, I have always idolized cowgirls. The best thing is that through my life I became one. It’s one of my proudest accomplishments and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I revere my fellow cowgirls. We may come from different backgrounds or similar ones. We may “cowgirl” in different ways, but one thing is for sure: we are kindred spirits. We try hard and we don’t take no for an answer. We love our horses and our families. We are winners inside and outside the arena. Long live our cowgirl ways!

Sweet & Sour Chicken (Cheyenne’s Version) & Stray Gathering

Holy cow….the wind is howling again today! It makes me wonder how it can just continue to do this for days on end. One good thing about the wind…..the gumbo is dried out! Hooray….happy dance! Oh yeah….and my migraine is finally over…another reason to celebrate!

Yesterday, I was on day 2 of a migraine, but life had to go on. I did some cooking (Sweet & Sour Chicken for supper) and before that I rode my best boy, Doc. I am committed to riding him every day until the 30th as we are getting ready for the Black Hills Stock Show Stray Gathering. Time to get us both in a little better shape. I explained the Stray Gathering a bit before, but I’ll do it again.

There is a 2 minute time limit. 4 cowboys/cowgirls gather at one end of the arena. 2 critters (steers or heifers) are let out of a pen at the other end. The 4 riders break off into pairs and each goes after their own critter. The steer must be headed (roped by the horns, head, or half of a head) and heeled (roped by one or two legs)…..then it must be tied up (3 legs crossed) and the rope must be off the head before time is called.  Here is my husband, Shane, and his partner Andy Selle roping their steer last summer at the Cowgirl Swank Classic Open Stray Gathering:

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Sometimes even though the steer is headed and heeled….they get up. Before they get away you have to “dog” them down again. Here is Shane doing just that. I have to laugh at this picture…..you sure can see the action….and that mud….well, I don’t know if any of our clothes came completely clean after two days of that mud!

CSC Stray Gathering

They were victorious and their team won first! Here they are….all smiles….and mud!

CSC Stray Gathering Winners

From left to right:  Jeff Lien, Travis Nitsch, Shane Wilson & Andy Selle.

Anyway, the critters must stay tied for 6 seconds. It is a really fun event to watch and it’s even more fun to be in it! I’m so excited as this year the ladies have their own division (all girl). I helped to get some prizes rounded up for this event (Cowgirl Swank even donated 4 caps) with hopes that it would fill up and bring more awareness to ladies doing this event. I’m happy to say that it is full! There will be 10 teams of women competing. The only difference is that the gals only have to tie down one critter. They still have to head and heel both, but then all 4 gals can help each other get the job done. Tying a steer down is not for the weak of heart…..I know. I get a grin on my face as I’m typing this because this is seriously my favorite event. Anything that involves tying down a steer is at the top of the list for me! I am woman….here me ROAR!!! 🙂

Here’s the Cowgirl Swank team in the tie down/mugging (same thing as the stray gathering pretty much) last summer at the Cowgirl Swank Classic…..yes, that steer got dogged down….here that roar, now?! 🙂

CSC Tie Down

Our team members were:  Heidi Cuny, Jessica Cuny, Randi, Selle & Me

To say the least, I’m excited about the upcoming BHSS Stray Gathering on the 30th. I’m going to try to have a friend take lots of pictures so I can report on how it went. Stay tuned for that!

So, last night I decided on making Sweet & Sour Chicken. This recipe has been around our family for a LONG time…..like, when I was a kid LONG time ago. My mom started out making it and I continued the tradition. I think my mom originally got the recipe from a magazine, but I have no idea which one. Here is the original photo copy I have of my mom’s recipe:

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It has been changed significantly and has morphed into something absolutely to die for (in my opinion).  You can use chicken or pork (whatever suits you). This isn’t like the stuff you get at a Chinese restaurant….it’s entirely different. And guess what…..my cowboy doesn’t turn his nose up at it! 🙂 So, here goes:

Sweet & Sour Chicken (Cheyenne’s Version)

  • 4 Chicken Breasts, Diced
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Green Peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Purple Onions, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 16 oz. can of Tomato Sauce
  • ½ cup packed Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 20-oz. can of Pineapple Chunks in its own juice
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons KAF’s Signature Secrets or 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 3 Cups of Water (to boil Rice in)
  • 3 Cups of Rice

Cut up Chicken and brown it in a skillet with the olive oil. 20140124_7

As it is browning, cut up vegetables. After the chicken is about half done add the vegetables. 20140124_11

Stir well and cook over medium heat. Once vegetables are cooked, add pineapple chunks in their own juice 20140124_12

and then the brown sugar, red wine vinegar, water, and salt/pepper to your liking.

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I also taste test this to see if it is sweet enough. If not, I add a bit more brown sugar. Let simmer.

Boil water in a covered pot and add the rice (I use Minute Rice). Remove from heat. After everything has cooked together in the skillet, add the Signature Secrets or cornstarch. 20140124_14

Stir well, lower heat and let sit. It will thicken upon standing. 20140124_15

The rice should be done after about 5 minutes of sitting. Serve rice and top with the Sweet & Sour Chicken. 20140124_16

Enjoy!! This is delicious….even more so left over….in fact, we are having the leftovers for lunch today. I always try to put these leftovers in an oven-safe dish so that I can warm it slowly in the oven. Microwaving chicken tends to make it rubbery (and my cowboy detests that)…..so I appease him by doing it in the oven…..Yum! Yum!!

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*Concerning the KAF’s Signature Secrets……this is truly a “secret” that I fell into. I began getting King Arthur Flour catalogs 5 or 6 years ago. I was intrigued and I eventually began ordering from them. KAF is one of the best baker catalogs out there in my opinion. Anyway, I stumbled upon Signature Secrets….what is it? It’s a thickener….the beauty of it is that it’s a powder that when added to hot or cold liquids thickens them. And it thickens them easily without a lot of whisking and no lumps or bumps!! It is an amazing product……which I use a lot! Here is the link to find it online: KAF’s Signature Secrets. It is not expensive at all and very worthwhile to have in your kitchen. I believe in sharing secret finds….not keeping them to myself. KAF has no idea that I’m posting this…..would be nice if they saw this and gave me a year’s supply of it though…wink, wink!

Enjoy your day! I certainly plan too…..I have leftovers and riding Doc to look forward to! ~Cheyenne

Women’s Ranch Rodeo – Calling All Cowgirls!

What a day! I’ve been up to my eyeballs in donation request letters….award catalogs…..mailing lists….etc. What for? Well, it’s for our 2nd annual Cowgirl Swank Classic – Women’s Ranch Rodeo!

This is something that I am VERY passionate about! Ask me about it and it may be hours before I stop talking. 🙂  What is a ranch rodeo? Well, let me explain…..

I grew up in a “rodeo” family. This meant that my dad rode bucking horses, bulls, and he roped calves as well as steers. My mom ran barrels. In fact, she was so good at it that she qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1976. My folks broke and trained the majority of all our horses. I was very lucky to grow up in such a family! I grew up breakaway roping, goat tying, running poles and barrels….and even did a little bit of team roping. I wasn’t much of a team roper back when I was younger because I’m a south paw (left-handed). Heading a steer isn’t an option in team roping if you are left-handed. So, my only option was to rope right-handed or heel, which you can do left-handed. My dad didn’t think he wanted a daughter lacking a finger or two (fingers can be lost in the dallies when heeling so it’s not for the light-hearted). He set out to teach me to rope right-handed. I could swing, but throwing wasn’t as powerful as it was with my left-hand. So, I headed a few times, but that was the extent of my heading career.

While I was away working in the cities later on in my life, I heard mom and dad talk about entering a ranch rodeo. What the heck was that? I actually kind of laughed and thought it was silly. It wasn’t “real” rodeo after all. Well, fast forward about 15 years and I have an entirely different opinion. I will forget about my earlier misconception about ranch rodeo…..cross it off as ignorance, if you will. Ranch Rodeo is the real deal!! Each one can consist of very different events and then some ranch rodeos are sanctioned so the same events are expected at different locations. When we moved down here, Shane decided that he would get in our local ranch rodeo….the rest is history. We were hooked! I loved it…..but I hung back because it had been 20+ years since I had competed in the arena. Clearly, the guys have an advantage when it comes to pushing steers into a trailer, mugging one down, etc. I still longed to be part of the action.

Then my life changed…..I was hunting for something on the internet when a picture of the Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association flashed across my monitor. HOLY COW!!! What was this all about? I went to their site and read everything I possibly could. I was mesmerized…..there was an association fully dedicated to ranch rodeo and WOMEN….it was sanctioned with a world finals at the end of the year and everything!! Could it get any better?! I think not! My heart almost beat out of my chest!! 🙂

About a year went by of me watching the association. It became clear that one of their sanctioned rodeos had never been this far north (they are mostly in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas)….it suddenly became my mission to bring it here. I was up for the challenge!

After a couple of visits on the phone with the WRRA’s special agent, Billie,  we were seriously talking about hosting one in Nebraska. As fate would have it, a gal I knew from town bumped into me and we started talking about it. She just happened to be on the fairboard in the nearby town. Before the end of the week, we were making plans for the 1st ever Women’s Ranch Rodeo in the panhandle of Nebraska! I couldn’t have been more excited!

We planned and our rodeo was set for the third weekend in July in Crawford. The weekend arrived…..and so did the rain…..and more rain!! I won’t go into details of the rodeo other than to say that it was truly a highlight in my life. I smiled the entire weekend….knowing that my dream had come true. After 22 years, I was back in the arena….I had recently turned 40 and I just knew that my best years were yet ahead of me….so far I’ve been right…..and I was happy knowing that I was responsible (with help from good friends) for bringing a women’s dedicated sport to our area! The crowd loved the action….I think the mud actually added to it. Since a drought had been upon us the years prior…everyone was happy to see some mud. My pants could have literally stood on their own at the end of each day….no, I’m not kidding! Our team photo of 48 gals (12 teams):

CS Classic

The best part of the weekend? True sportsmanship and camaraderie.  Ladies who I have never met before felt like lifelong friends…..husbands and kids became instant friends…..and it was apparent that the women’s ranch rodeo was a big hit!! In fact, another team there went on to host their own weekend of rodeos in September after our event. A true success! Photos fro the weekend:

Trisha Hunter Push hardCS Mugging CS Branding

So, on to our 2nd annual event. It will be bigger and better this year. We are kicking both days off with an Open Stray Gathering (open to anyone). The Open Stray Gathering is an event where a set of 4 people goes after two steers horseback. They break off into pairs and pick their steer. Each steer must be headed and heeled with ropes….then the cowboys/cowgirls dismount and tie the steers up. They must stay tied for 6 seconds. This is fun watching! The winning time at the Cowgirl Swank Classic last year was 45 seconds. I’m happy to say that Shane and his team won it….I was so proud!

We are also adding a calcutta both days so that the spectators can partake a tad bit more. We are also going to be entertained by Rehme Sutton on Saturday evening. I can’t wait to hear her play. She is one of my favorite singers of all time!

What does a WRRA rodeo consist of? Well, a team is comprised of 4 women who then compete in each of 5 events: doctoring, trailer loading, calf branding, mugging/tie down, and sorting. I’m sure I will be posting about this again so I can go over each event in detail then. I mostly just wanted to tell you all what had consumed my day for the most part. If you live nearby, mark your calendars for our 2nd annual event….July 19th and 20th in Crawford, NE. You will be glad you did!

Oh yeah, I forgot to say….as far as me heading? I can do that in ranch rodeos because the steers don’t come out of a shoot. In fact, I’ve headed several steers thus far in ranch rodeos (I’ve also missed a few, but we won’t talk about that right now) ;)…..talk about putting a smile on my face. I’ve always been proud of being a lefty…..now I can prove what this old left hand can do! 🙂 ~Cheyenne