Merlue on "Paiute", American Royal, Kansas City, Missouri.
|Merlue on "Folly,"
|Merlue on "Beau,"
Rope and Barrels (sold).
|Merlue on "Blue."
Rope and Barrels (sold).
Accomplishments and Awards with Horses:
Merlue graduated from the 8th grade when she was 12. She went to the same country school, as did her Grandparents, Father, Aunts and Uncles. She began high school at Benkelman Nebraska, graduated when she was 16, and entered Arizona State University at 17 years of age. She was on the rodeo team and captured the NIRA all-around title, Southwestern Region, on a Waggoner-bred matched race mare, Mary Sunshine. Merlue and her Dad were also on the Four-State Roping and Barrel Racing teams when she was in high school, and represented Nebraska.
Merlue and her sisters, Dianne and Jackie, all began barrel racing on "Beetle Bomb"...a natural barrel horse (a little dappled grey quarter/shetland horse). He took Merlue to many pay windows. She later ran barrels on Stormy Sue, an outstanding cutting mare, that Merle rode in cuttings.
Merlue transferred to Colorado State University her third year of college. She rodeoed on the rodeo team, using a calf roping gelding, 01' Tom, for running barrels and goat tying, and later began running barrels on Merle's best rope horse, 01' Billy. Billy took Merlue on to a higher "elevation" in college barrel racing--She then joined GRA and ran Billy in the professional association as well as competing at many quarter horse shows--and won her share.
While attending Colorado State University, Merlue was one of the four co-founders of the National Barrel Race Clinic. Also she was one of the co-founders of the Nebraska Cowgirls Rodeo Association, and the originator of the Kansas WPRA.
Merlue competed extensively on a Clabber Bar gelding, Peyote, in WPRA until his untimely death due to an accident. She then took a three-year old mare, Folly, off the track that had been raced by her father. This mare, Folly, was Fowler Deck, King Twist breeding. (Folly later produced many nice colts--one is Shooter--who is by Sunset Six, by Streakin' Six..)
Merlue bought a coming four-year old gelding, a son of Game Plan, a world champion running horse and top producer of barrel horses. In less than six months, he was competing with the world's best barrel horses. He had an awesome style on the barrels.. She ran him at WPRA, quarter horse shows, Sr. Professional Rodeos, and Sweepstakes. This gelding, Paiute, is still her favorite horse to ride.
|Merlue on "Badger,"
Rope and Barrels (sold)
|Merlue on "Paco",
Rope and Barrels (sold)
|Merlue on "Shooter,"
Rope and Barrels
Raising and training quarter horses with good conformation, quiet dispositions and the willingness to be exceptional in whatever event they are trained.
Getting on a "good quarter horse" and riding the pastures. She loved sitting along the side of a cattle tank, windmill pumping clear cold water--drinking the best tasting water, ever. Sometimes, if it were a hot summer day, rolling up her pant legs and putting her feet in the cool water of the horse tank. Usually there were cattle right next to her, drinking from the tank. Listening to the locust, meadowlarks, and smelling the "sweet" smell of sage brush.
She remembers that her Mother, Beth, was an excellent rider and she could "ride" with the greatest of ease--a beautiful rider. They would saddle up and ride over to visit Grandma Alma Frasier and check the windmills and cattle.
One of the most cherished "gifts" from Merlue's parents was the handtooled Roy Barnes saddle. Her two sisters also received handtooled saddles at the same time.
It was always thrilling to round up the cattle, drive them to the corrals and "hear" and see the double decker semis coming in to load the cattle out for the cattle sales. Also, it was just as thrilling to "hear" and see the trucks coming in late at night usually with loads of cattle that were bought to be put out on the grass.
Merlue was fortunate to travel to Australia as a guest of the Texas King Ranch. She rode some of the magnificent Thoroughbred race horses on the Brunette Downs Station and flew with the bush pilot to check the cattle and the water "bores" (and partake in eating with the Aborigine cowboys for lunch). It was an unforgettable experience to visit all these cattle stations and see the Santa Gertrudis cattle and the "outback" way of life. The nearest town was over 350 miles of rough, dirt roads. Also, it was a once-in-a-lifetime to visit New Zealand, all the many South Pacific Islands as well as Hawaii.
Merlue has been blessed to have been raised on a cattle/horse ranch. It truly is her belief that there isn't a better life.. Memories of a quiet, peaceful ranch life have been deeply embossed into her soul, and she realizes that this is God's work. She wouldn't trade this life for anything.
Her parents were hard workers--and mentors to her--she was close to her father and very close to her mother--they taught her that one doesn't need a lot of material things to enjoy life and to not be afraid to be "yourself" and to always "do the best you can" in everything you do...and never give up.
Merlue's Mother taught her how to be an excellent cook, gardener, to play the piano and to enjoy the beauty of the ranch life, and to be a "lady". Her Mother "tutored" her daughters in every type of subject--from grade school on through college. She was a brilliant scholar and passed this on to her daughters. Merlue has always been grateful that her Mother inspired her to learn all these feats and to always do the best she could.
Merlue's father, since there were no sons, taught her everything he could about ranching--especially in handling young horses, being able to "read" a horse, and through this she acquired the hands-on experience of ranching. Merle had a "natural" way of breaking colts, and he was in "demand" by so many, ranchers and ropers and especially barrel racers, to get their horses started for them. Merle believed in "driving" a colt and a lot of ground work, and later miles and miles of pasture riding before they ever "saw" an arena. He was and has been Merlue's mentor and these teachings have been deeply instilled--she has a very gentle, unique manner in working with young colts and horses.
In 2003, Merlue discovered a breast lump. After nine months of attempting to find a doctor that would agree with her about the probable severity, a surgeon in Ft. Collins discovered it was cancer...after a biopsy six months before determined it was "not". Merlue has undergone extensive chemotherapy, and at this time is a "cancer survivor." She feels strongly that her love of horses, her working with them and riding them has "pulled" her through emotionally as well as physically.
While living in Wickenburg, Arizona on a ranch along the Hassayampa river, one evening in 1993, Merlue was checking the horses to make sure they all were fine before she went into the house. There were about ten horses peacefully grazing along a trail nearby. She heard a snap, like a twig was broken, the horses "spooked and snorted"--but didn't run away. They came running up to her, as she turned to see why they were so upset--a mountain lion was leaping toward her in mid-air. She hit the cat in the face and snout with this mesquite branch. The horses hovered behind her. To this day, she feels the mountain lion was quite overwhelmed by the number of horses "protecting her". Merlue feels that she had bonded with "each and everyone" of those horses from the time they were babies--they knew her--they came to her rescue and saved her from what could have been a fateful scene. The May 1994 issue of the WESTERN HORSEMAN featured a story regarding the lion, Merlue and the horses.