Kimes Ranch Jeans Blog - Dear Cowboy Kimes

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Dear Cowboy,

I know it’s not easy
Being with a cowgirl
They’re rough and tough
And sometimes just meaner
Than a rattlesnake
They may dance
Swift like the wind
And then leave you
In the dust
Of their broken ways
And stubborn rush
But, when you find that special darlin’
She will shine bright
Like a full-moon night
And she’ll be even more beautiful
In your eyes
Than your favorite starry sky
She’ll be your caretaker
Your best friend
And your right hand man
She’ll out do most men
And, doesn’t think a thing
About competing with other women
Try your best to not let her go
To sleep mad
Because she may wake
On the hook like a hot mama cow
Let her be
Whatever she wants
And empower
And embrace her
Because she’ll rise
Like a queen
When you find her
Please hold her tight
And kiss her
Every day and every night
Hey cowboy,
I know it’s rough
But, just make sure you treat her right.

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California Sportsman - May Issue - Fishing in the Valley

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These places are something special. Maybe, unlike what you’ve ever seen. Rich in history, it is sacred land that holds a wealth of sources, a thriving environment and significant geological features. Outlined on the east by the Cascade, Sierra Nevada and Tehachapi mountain ranges, and decorated on the west by the California Coast Ranges and San Francisco Bay, the Central Valley is overwhelmed with breath taking scenery and phenomenal fishing opportunities.

Abundant rains and melting snow from the Sierra Nevada’s feed the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers that run through the Central Valley - extending from Shasta county in the north to the Kern county in the south. It’s known for being one of the most productive agricultural region not only in California, but in the world.

In the 1800’s,  an extensive population of Yokut Indians lived on the shores of the now dry Tulare Lake. The area provided them with reliable food and resources, while other tribes like Maidu and Miwoks migrated to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Tribes used reed tule, branches and grasses for their baskets, homes and canoes.

The Central Valley made history in the winter of 1861-62 when it experienced one of the most devastating flood that took thousands of lives and turned the valley floor and much of the state into inland seas for months.   

Nowadays, there are more farms than fishing holes, but this vast valley has a handful of fishing spots that are worth checking out in the spring and summer. Although late spring usually makes the trout succumb to heat, with Mother Nature’s indecisiveness over the weather this year, I anticipate the fishing will be fun for a couple more months.

My goal for this story was to visit a few different locations in the area that  I was unfamiliar. However, we fortunately received several back-to-back snowy-storms that forced the parks to close.  But as a Central Valley girl myself, I still want to showcase some of the many viable alternatives around the foothills and lower San Joaquin that not only feature exciting fishing spots but offer a beautiful scenic journey.

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 Lake Success

Lake Success is just a few miles east of Porterville off Highway 190. This lake can be inconsistent as you never know if it will be a hot spot or not. But, it definitely also depends on what you are trying to catch. There are many freshwater species here like crappie, carp, bluegill, trout, catfish and largemouth. The mid-April, my brothers Zeb and Jacob walked the northeast banks, in hopes of catching a big mama bass.  Many were swimming next to the banks in the shallow waters, protecting their fry underneath wood and debris. However, the only thing they had any interests in was protecting those fry. They weren’t biting. In the winter months we have a secret spot at the lake that provides for an abundance of nice rainbows. My success at Success is always attributed to using live crickets. Bass fishing off a boat is pretty good here also.

Lower Kern & Lake Isabella

Located roughly 25 minutes from Bakersfield, the easily accessible Lower Kern river is said to be a good fishing spot because of its controlled flows. However, as the snow melts from May-June, trout fishing can be dangerous or almost impossible.  April and May are said to be some of the best times to fish this spot as the river is usually low. In the early spring, the Department of Fish and Game heavily plants the river with good size rainbows. Dry and dropper fly combinations or double nymph rigs dead drifted under an indicator are amongst anglers favorites.

Drive a little further and you can hit some hot spots in the mouth of the Upper Kern. In the winter and spring months, anglers have caught some big trophy fish up to 28 inches and up to 8 pounds, as reported by the CDFW. Drive a little further and you will hit Lake Isabella which is said to have some awesome trout, bass and large crappie. On May 19, Lake Isabella hosts its annual Carpfest, a throw down that will pit teams of two carp fly anglers. The profits will benefit local conservation groups, Kern River Conservancy and Keepers of the Kern.

 

Kings River, Weaver Lake & Hume Lake

Below Pine Flat Reservoir sits the heavily planted Kings River, 30 miles east of Fresno off of Highway 180. San Joaquin Fish Hatchery is  real close and  CDFW Hatchery staff plants is twice a week. While fish releases aren’t common from Pine Flat Dam to Avocado Lake, there is plenty of public access and fishing can be good. The Lower Kings is a popular heavily used area because it is planted on a regular basis. This is a good place to take a child or inexperienced  angler. Stocked fish eat darn near anything and allow you to fill your bag in a short amount of time.

Continue driving up Hwy 180 and you will run into Weaver Lake. The mostly mild hike is a 6.5 round trip.   The scenery is stunning and the water is nearly crystal clear. This is an awesome place to take your family and through a line in around the lake. However, this area is heavily traveled. You can also ride hardback into this lake, as well as Jennie Lakes which is 8.4 miles away.

Drive even further up the 180 and you will arrive at Hume Lake, approximately 22 miles from Weaver Lake. With an elevation of 5,200 feet, outstanding rainbow trout are planted here during the spring and summer months, while there are also brown trout, small and largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. The scenery is absolutely stunning and Ten Mile creek which feeds into the lake, offers arguably even better fishing!

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All Good Cowgirls

 Casey Hardy Photography - www.caseyhardyphotography.com

Casey Hardy Photography - www.caseyhardyphotography.com

All Good Cowgirls
By Amy C. Witt

Maybe you’re the kind of cowgirl
That likes ropin’ fast Corrientes
And wears a nice felt Stetson
Always lookin’ pretty
Ridin’ a Doc O’Lena
Swingin’ a Cactus Rope
Ready to drop a coil
Or lookin’ for a fast throw

Maybe you’re the kind of cowgirl
That rides the feed lot all day
Dreamin’ about finer Wednesdays
And, your roan Hancock, yeah, he’s broke
But, sometimes he’s just alright
He could probably use a good choke

Maybe you’re the kind of cowgirl
Who rides the days away
Doctorin’ and sortin’ and cussin’
It’s always your way
Your dogs, they come to a whistle
And, you always gotta watch the thistle
That’s where the rattle snakes lay
As you’re ridin’ your favorite bay

Maybe you’re the kind of cowgirl
Who loves chasin’ those cans
Your rig, yeah its big
And, you’ve got fast hands
And, don’t ever forget
Your Gold Buckle plans
Because honey, you got them
Barrel racin’ demands
 

Maybe you’re the kind of cowgirl
Who helps your cowboy all the while
Tendin’ to the kids, the calves and the shots
Always with a big smile
Exposin’ them to the ranch
You like takin’ the babies for a trot
Your cowboy, yeah he’s your best friend
And, he knows all the good spots
 

And, maybe you’re the kind of cowgirl
By day you’re working towards your dreams
But, slip on your boots to dance
Around in your tight fittin’ jeans
Tryin’ get away every weekend
Away from the city things
You long for a cowboy
Who will buy you a nice diamond ring

 

Whatever kind of cowgirl you may be
 Just know that there are other women
Drinkin’ coffee
And, thinkin’ and feelin’
And rackin’ their brains
Workin’ towards healin’
For better days
But no matter what,
They always keep ridin’ and ropin’
And, workin’ each day
To be a finer woman
In every damn way

Ropers Sports News - May Issue - Abigayle Hampton

 @abbie.hampton

@abbie.hampton

Ropers Sports News - May Issue
Abigayle Hampton
By Amy C. Witt

Last year she was the Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) Rookie Breakaway Champion. In 2017, she also won several college rodeo titles including Cal Poly Royal and qualified for the Junior National Finals Rodeo in the breakaway roping. And now, Abigayle Hampton just won the first ever 2018 Cinch Shootout at Cal Poly Royal and she’s heading into the last rodeo of the season with the West Hills College Rodeo Team with a 250-point lead for the breakaway title.

“Breakaway roping to me means the world. I don’t know where I’d be without this skill. It’s a blessing to be able to compete at a high level in this event,” Hampton expresses. “There is just something about breaking down rodeo that gets me pumped.” 

Hardworking and beautiful inside and out, Hampton set her goals high as she her plans this year include making it to the college finals, hold a high placing in the points for the WPRA and soon, being a world champion breakaway roper. Currently, the sophomore is a full-time student at West Hills College along with working part-time job as a secretary for Triple J Ready Mix. At the end of the semester, the blonde beauty will graduate with an Associates in Arts (AA) Degree in Liberal Arts: Math and Science and Liberal Art: Social and Behavioral Studies. After obtaining her AA, Hampton will continue to rodeo for her third year while attending the fall at West Hills College. When she is not studying or making money, she is horseback – riding colts or practicing. After college, she is considering sports psychology or coaching, hosting clinics or even educating, as she loves teaching people the fundamentals of breakaway roping.

With the eyes always on the prize, when Hampton backs in the box, you best believe, she’s ready to win!

Tell us about your experience in college rodeo?

College rodeo has been a wild ride. I had a chance to make the college finals my freshman year and fell short by a few points. I ended up winning the Women’s Rookie of the Year, but not making the college finals really put a fire in me. Coming into my sophomore year I told myself I would not be in a position like that again. I came back stronger and ended up leading the Breakaway and the All Around, while also sitting second in the goats. I had a really good lead coming into the second half of the rodeos. I had a few ups and downs, but now here we are about to head into the last rodeo, and I have almost a 250-point lead in the breakaway, I have a good chance to make it in the goats, and our Women’s team has a really good shot of making the college finals. I came back strong, like I wanted and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for setting a goal and sticking to it.

What was it like winning the first ever Cinch Shootout at the Poly Royal this year?

Wow, what an experience. It’s actually kind of a funny story. When Cal Poly posted a sneak peak of the buckle on Facebook, it was the Breakaway buckle. I sent a picture of it to my dad and I told him I’d bring it home in a week. It turned out to be true. I was last out and I made a great run under some fast runs. Sometimes I can take pressure and thrive off of it. But sometimes, I fall short; thankfully that didn’t happen this time. Cal Poly did a great job putting on this rodeo and it was a fantastic opportunity for us young adults to rodeo against the best in the region. I am really excited for the next few years to come because Ben Londo has a lot of big plans for that rodeo performance. It’s going to be a great experience for people outside of our region. It is one of the biggest college rodeos in the nation and it continues to get bigger. Hats off to Ben and the Cal Poly Rodeo Team. 

Why is Breakaway Roping your favorite event?

I did not start breakaway roping until I was twelve and when I started I never stopped. I now have multiple wins in the breakaway and I train colts in this event as well. I love this event because it is the fastest event in rodeo. It portrays a horse’s true ability as an athlete: run as fast as they can and stop as hard as they can between a 2-4 second time. It’s amazing what a horse has the capability of doing in this event. It gives me a rush. My muscle memory takes over when I nod my head and I can’t stop it if I tried.

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of breakaway roping?

The most challenging aspect is not allowing yourself to play into everyone else’s success and focusing on your own. Before I learned how to be a better me, I was always worried about what everyone else was doing in their run. Once I realized how to beat myself instead of trying to beat everyone else, I truly became successful. I was constantly trying to be faster than everyone else that I lost myself in the game. I figured out that I need to focus on beating myself rather than beating everyone else. I am my biggest competition. Once I figured that out it was game on.

How do you mentally prepare before competing?

One of the things I make sure to do is picture MY perfect run. I picture exactly what I plan to do on that calf. Once I have a game plan, I put it to use on the dummy and get the feel right. I feel like when I do these two things I am truly mentally prepared. Right before my run I say a pray and tell myself that no matter what God receives the glory. I go make my run and whatever happens, happens. I cannot change yesterday, but I can determine what happens tomorrow.

 

Who is your rodeo idol and why?

Lari Dee Guy is an animal in the roping pen. Heading, heeling, breakaway roping, even the tie down roping, you name it she does it. But what’s even cooler is that we’ve become pretty good friends this last year. It’s pretty cool when you become friends with your lifetime idol because you start to look at them a lot differently. You aren’t necessarily intimidated by them anymore, but instead you know you can call them up at any time and say, “Hey what did I do in this run?” or  “How does this horse look?” I know she’s not going to give me just any opinion, but the opinion of a mentor and a friend. That is a huge blessing let me tell ya.

Favorite place to be entered and why?

One of my favorite places to be entered is Poly Royal in the stadium, or the Three Star Memorial in Texas. Poly Royal is one of my favorites because it is one of the biggest crowds in the nation. The energy of it all just gets you pumped. The Three Star Memorial is one of my favorites because of the set up. It is an even score so you really have to see them out there, but what’s even better is that the calves are dead fresh. There is about 175 girls entered every girl gets a fresh calf in the first round. It’s pretty fun.

Tell us about your horses

This is one of my favorite stories to tell. Snooki came to me about four years ago from a guy named Danny Leslie. Danny had a five-year-old mare for sale that he had taken to some jackpots in the heeling and had a few calves roped on her. I honestly did not want to try the mare at all. Danny wanted $2,000 for her and I was beside myself when my dad said I was trying her because I figured she’d be a dink. She tried to hump up the first time I got on her and almost got me down. She couldn’t get into the ride lead, she was scared of everything, but the one thing she was good at was running and stopping, hard. I quickly fell in love with her after roping calves on her. She was a blessing in disguise. I took her to a rodeo three months after I got her and the rest is history. I have won a lot of money on her and have won many prestigious awards on her. This same story has gone down with my young breakaway horse, Paly. Paly came to me last July -  My dad bought him sight unseen for a very cheap price as well. He was super green and yet again I could not believe my dad bought a complete dink. I could not believe he actually thought this horse could make something. The only good thing about this horse was his papers, but by the looks of it they weren’t doing him much good. But, for the second time, dad was right and I was wrong. Paly could not lope a circle when I got him in July and in October I ran my first calf out of the box on him a month later, I took him to his first jackpot. He got to make a Texas trip with me in February and he has already won be over what I paid for him. He just came four and he handles everything like a veteran. I was scared I was pushing him too quick but he loves it and continues to get better every day.

5 things people don’t know about you

1.       I was planning on playing softball in college at a young age until rodeo sparked up at the age of 12.

2.      I have a sister who has no part in rodeo, she is actually a swimmer and her name is Elizabeth.

3.      Somewhere deep in the many years of Roper’s Sports News, I was the face of Roper’s Sports News. The picture is of me at about 2 years old reading the Roper’s Sports News buck naked on my little training potty.

4.      I have donated my hair to Locks of Love twice.

5.      I had a 22 year old pony named Cocoa Puff Daddy that would roll over on top of me every time I rode him (not the greatest experience).

Advice you would give young girls in rodeo or going into college rodeo?

Live it up. Do not go into college rodeo thinking you’re going to get beat. You can compete with these girls. Don’t ever think any less of yourself no matter what anyone says. Your biggest competition is yourself. Rope aggressive and never stop thriving! You can rope just as good if not better than any other man out there, do you girl! And never, ever, ever stop trusting in God’s plan.

Closing Comments?

I could not be where I am today without my family. My grandparents have played a huge role (Roger and Karen Campbell, Farrell and Orval Watkins, Bill and Valerie Hampton, and Earl and Beverly Hall). My parents, Jennifer and Justin Hampton and my sister Elizabeth. My aunts and uncles (Todd and Stacy Hampton and Josh and Kasey Campbell). Every one of these people have impacted me or helped me out some way and I can’t thank them enough.

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Photography provided by Abigayle Hampton