Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
As a two year old, Cheryl's father, a veterinarian, sat her upon her first pony (also a two year old), and was told that when her tears ceased, she would be allowed to dismount... from that time on, horses have been central to her life. Her grandfather raised horses in the 1920's and 30's, and her father was an ardent calf roper, team roper, and always loved to barrel race. Cheryl considers herself a "third-generation cowboy/rancher". She grew up competing in rodeos and was very successful in barrel racing, and with her father also being involved in the barrel racing competitions, she was exposed to many fine pedigreed horses that she feels privileged to have ridden.
After graduating from college, Cheryl immersed herself in the work world; she has worked in journalism (having written articles for equine publications), sales with the Xerox corporation and Johnson & Johnson, was a stockbroker for seven years (at one point being one of the only two women in Omaha, Nebraska who sold stocks), a small business owner, and for the past four years, has been working in the pharmacy department at Avera St. Anthony's Hospital in O'Neill, Nebraska. But her first dream has always been to breed and train the American Quarter Horse--a dream that she knows God has instilled in her heart. Over the years, she has made great sacrifices to achieve this dream.
Eighteen years ago, Cheryl, who lives on her ranch in Atkinson, Nebraska along with her two cattle dogs, 'Pete' and 'Jubie', started out with two good brood mares, using outside Stallions for breeding purposes. She has bred, raised, and trained many horses over the years, and currently owns ten 'great mares', four baby colts, and the 'love of her life'---her Stallion 'Yardstick', or 'Stick' for short (meaning he is the one by which she measures the quality of all other Stallions.) Cheryl explains, "a great mare not only has the parentage to do what I want, but they have to ride and have the physical ability and the mind to do what I want". Cheryl breeds horses for barrel riding, roping, and reining.
Since she doesn't start training a horse until it is three years of age, ("a two year old has the attention span of a gnat..."), she isn't able to immediately discern if they are of the quality she is aiming for, so essentially, the horse "just hangs out here" until it reaches a point when Cheryl can make that judgment. One realizes the time, effort and love it takes to bring this goal to fruition---and in the meantime, she's falling in love with the horse which in turn, makes it extremely difficult to let it go.
But, let it go she must, and that is the where the difficulty of 'generating hype' comes in--the goal is to get the horses out to the 'right' people--those with money or influence. Ideally, that would mean a website (it's in the planning stage), and reaching the people who are going to do something with the horses. Usually this is accomplished by word of mouth---that it becomes known that her horses are of stellar pedigrees. Cheryl has admired the traits of the Driftwood horses; an amazing horse in the 1930's that had a lot of speed, athletic ability, and an instinct for cattle. She chose this pedigree long before it became popular--she just thought they were nice horses. Now, they have become "hot property". She acknowledges that she couldn't have foreseen this, and feels that this good fortune for her, is surely from God. She has a pedigree that people want, "now it's just a matter of getting it out there". Her desire is to raise a "quick athlete" that can be used for team roping, calf roping, and barrel racing. "This bloodline (Driftwood) excels at these traits".
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Twenty-five years ago, when Sue first began cleaning homes for hire, a few of her clients enquired as to whether she would also do their ironing. She added this service to her cleaning jobs, and her customer base expanded. Then, realizing she would rather "clean houses less and iron more", she soon dropped the housecleaning and continued with the ironing, eventually adding a laundry service. These jobs fit in perfectly with being a stay at home mom with three young children.
In the meantime, she became interested in the creative art of replacing old lampshades with new fabric and decorative bead and fringe trims. Her mother had done this for years, and when Sue first tried her hand at it, she "loved it", discovering she had quite a talent for this venture. Again, here was another ingenious way to earn extra income and still be able to care for her home and children. Sue says, "You do what you can do without a (college) degree...", and she definitely has the 'can-do' attitude.
Three years ago, Sue purchased a charming little house at the west end of town on Highway 20 as a base for her business pursuits. As time has passed, she has realized that she would prefer to place more emphasis on her lamp shade creations and less on the ironing--(I guess you could say that she is 'pressing on' to bigger and better things...) The house is a perfect setting for showcasing her exquisite lamps; original woodwork fills the richly colored rooms where the lamps are displayed in eye-pleasing vignettes.
Ideally, to begin the process of creating a new lampshade, there would still be the original wire shade frame for the lamp, although Sue can order a wire frame and come up with a lamp base--whatever the customer may prefer. She finds lamps at auctions and sales, and on occasion, has come across some real treasures at garage sales. And if need be, this talented lady can also do a simple re-wire. Sue has a stash of fabric available, or she can order fabric, or a person can supply their own. The same goes for the fringe trims and beads---she can order through certain companies, although she says the fringe is the hardest to find, and only a few companies will dye it a specific color. 'Candy glass', or 'sugar paper' shades are popular and unique in their texture and appearance...they're "kinda spendy", so creating this particular fabric finish is a technique Sue would like to learn how to do herself.
The process of making a shade is quite labor intensive and takes several hours. First, Sue wraps the wire frame with twill tape and allows it to dry, then paints the tape (if needed) to match the fabric color. She makes a pattern with foil, cuts out the fabric and lays it on the shade, and then glues it to the taped wire. Next, trims are added to cover seams, and the final striking touch that we all oooh and ahhh over... that gorgeous moody fringe and glistening, colorful beads that absolutely glow and sparkle when the lamp is lit. She tops it off with an attractive finial, and her creation is ready to light up a special corner in any room.
So, the industrious, inventive, and clever Sue Chohon has got it covered--from the shirt on your back to the shade on your lamp. Stop in when you are in town and see what she can do to 'light up your life'.