Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What I Remember

I remember...
the yellow roses at their wedding
a hearty laugh
and chipper smile.

I remember
watching him shoe horses
and learning to drive.
he blared "Danger Zone"
from Top Gun as he
drove me to the fair in his semi.

I remember
him teaching me to drive Katie
going to Blackfoot Fair with him.
learning the comradery that exists
in the draft horse world.
he helped his competition.

I remember
a hug shared
a chin up given
which sometimes turn into him
kicking me in the butt and telling me to
get it together.

I remember
him touching so many lives
always razzing always joking.
staying with him and my aunt
after they got married.

I remember
helping with the horses at
Lone Mountain Ranch.

I remember loving my Uncle Rusty.
The Lord gained an awfully good Horseman
with an amazing laugh.

Goodbye to a Great Man

Rusty Hebel

Craig R. “Rusty” Hebel, a rancher at Glen, died Oct. 23, 2010.
He was born Sept. 26, 1960, to Beverly Martin and Rollie Hebel in Bozeman.
Rusty graduated from Ennis High School in 1978. He always said his only advanced degree was the one awarded by spending his lifetime on or behind a horse. He was a lifetime student of horses and learned from each one he encountered. In 1990, Rusty married Margaret Armitage in Big Sky.

Over the years, Rusty led a multi-faceted life. He rodeoed — both rough stock and timed events, cowboyed on ranches across the state of Montana, was a dude wrangler, over-the-road trucker and managed Rocky Mountain Supply stores in Townsend and Dillon. However, driving big horses was his true calling and passion.

Rusty and his father bred, raised, trained, and showed strawberry roan Belgians for 40 years. Together, they developed a training wheel to hook a beginning driving horse to the first three or four times to allow it to move or stop without injuring itself or others.
Rusty successfully started hundreds of horses under harness, not only young colts, but also older horses with bad “people” experiences. He farmed with horses in Montana and Iowa, two very different farming environments.

He had wagon train experience, both as a teen-age swamper on the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial Wagon Train (the Montana to Valley Forge leg) and as an adult driver in the 1985-1986 Texas Sesquicentennial Wagon Train where he drove eight head of Belgian mares 3,600 miles around the perimeter of Texas in six months. His two preschool sons accompanied him on this trip. Rusty took great pride in the fact that he was in charge of the health, shoeing, and training of 30 head of Belgian mares over the six months of the Texas wagon train with never a sore shoulder or lame foot. Through these two experiences, he gained invaluable knowledge about working horses daily on pavement, in the heat and in the company of crowds of other animals.
Rusty worked for McCrossan Boys’ Ranch in South Dakota training and showing Belgians across the Midwest, always with “troubled boys” as students and helpers.
After leaving McCrossan, Rusty worked for Dick Sparrow driving the Coors Belgian hitch parading, exhibiting and promoting not only Coors beer, but also the Belgian breed. He drove horses in every major parade in the U.S., including the Macy’s Day and Rose Parade. One of Rusty’s favorite accomplishments was driving Sparrow’s 40-horse hitch.
For the past 20 years, Rusty and his wife, Margaret, have promoted Belgians by breeding, training, and showing their own strawberry roans. During those years, they held clinics for individuals and driving clubs, taught ‘ladies only’ classes and co-wrote the Montana 4-H Driving Program.

His favorite work experience has been using his own finely tuned Belgian mares to teach college students at the University of Montana Western in Dillon to drive. In less than 10 years, he grew the program from a three-day workshop to four full-semester classes.
Rusty loved his family, laughter and good horses.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret; sons, Lee (Katie) of Circle and Lyle (BreAnn) of Bozeman; only grandson, Archie; parents; brothers, Zane and Wade (Susan) Miller, both of Ennis; sister, Shannon (Tim) Chicoine of St. Charles, Iowa; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Rusty’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, in
La Cense Arena, Dillon, with lunch and sharing afterward.

Memorials may be sent to Montana 4-H Foundation Horse Committee, Montana State University, 111 Taylor Hall, Bozeman, 59717 or the charity of your choice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where will the little road lead?

I started this blog to try to keep everyone update on our life in Montana and to share pictures of Ava. I guess I haven't done a very good job of that. And the last two weeks have felt like a whirlwind I don't know if I want to share.

Dan and I keep thinking that things will settle into place, we will once again be able to put one foot in front of the other without having to tell our feet to move. However we don't seem to be reaching that point.

We had an amazing week away the end of September. Spent time with fantastic friends and realized we are still so in love. We returned renewed and ready to find a fresh start. We started seriously consider the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I don't to badly want to be 1300 miles from my family; however, being closer Dan's would be great. We could show Ava the many facets of Dan's up bringing. Small things seem to be working towards this restart but somehow we still aren't able to put all the pieces together.

Dan found out last Thursday that the company he worked for would be shutting down his program as of Friday. So with one days notice he let the kids know that he would be able to work with them anymore.

I spent the weekend in Salt Lake at the Univeristy of Utah Hospital with my uncle who is very sick and in need of a liver transplant; however because of a blood clot can't receive one. My dad and I were able to take Ava and my neice to the zoo which was a fun distraction. We laughed and squealed. We then returned to the hospital and learned how fun it is to ride the escalator.

We have been blessed with an amazing family and a giggly, curious 20 month old. However we sit searching for jobs, knowing our life's plan is being fulfilled but wishing for just a glimpse ahead a couple of chapters.

Thanks to all of you for your support and love.