Wyoming Cowgirls Part 4
- February 16, 2018
- Tiffany Schwenke
As explained in the beginning of this Wyoming Cowgirls series, Wyoming is known own both as the Equality State and the Cowboy State, so it stands to reason that there are some amazing Wyoming Cowgirls out working with the men and taking care of their family and business like a lady boss. The Wyoming Cowgirl series has been introducing some amazing Wyoming Cowgirls and this entry is one I am honored to tell you about Kandi Carter and Ginger Edwards LaDuke.
I grew up knowing both of these amazing ladies. They are actually two of my lifelong friends. We all grew up in Campbell County. All of our families have been friends for generations and these ladies have done their ancestors proud. Each in their own way, on their own journey.
Kandi Carter grew up as an only child on her family’s ranch. She was taught a lot throughout her years of ranching and was being prepared to run her parents ranch someday. She was raised riding good horses and being taught how to care for their cows. Kandi has always been a top hand at any ranch, rodeo, or show she has showed up to. Kandi’s kids are usually mounted on horses she has raised and trained. All three of Kandi’s kids actively help on the ranch daily.
Kandi said “My mom was a reined cow horse trainer and my dad a team roper. I became the combination of the two. I started my first two year old colt a few months after my husband and I had our first son. I think I just like to make things challenging for myself. Haha! I found a passion I didn’t know I had though riding colts. Fast forward to 3 kids, a husband with a roustabout/pumping company, a dad aging, and here I am running kids to rodeos here and there, helping my dad run the ranch, riding and training horses, helping my husband with his company, and really living the best life I could’ve imagined! I definitely stay busy making this life the best I can and just enjoying the ride.”
Ginger Edwards LaDuke grew up on the T7 Ranch 30 miles south of Gillette, Wyoming. Ginger’s dad, Dave Edwards, has family that also ranches in the same area, so cattle work was a family affair.
When I asked Ginger about growing up on her family’s ranch and what she is up to these days she said, “Since I was a little girl, I would always take the big circle when gathering pastures. The men in my life treated me like one of them. I was expected to the know the country, the cattle, and make decisions on my own. Their trust in me gave me a sense of confidence and held me accountable. My mom Eva, and my Aunts Linda and Laura Edwards would ride as well. These women would work beside the men, then turn around and have a huge meal on the table, all while raising their kids. They taught me how to multitask. They were superwomen and great examples of the kind of woman I wanted to be. I have been married to my husband Will LaDuke for 10 years now. We run a herd of mama cows and some yearlings with the help of Colt Hamacker. Will is also the rodeo coach for Gillette College. So between raising kids, cattle, and college kids we stay busy. I also train barrel horses and have been producing some barrel racing jackpots for the college. I have also been rodeoing some just to throw another iron in the fire. We seem to be horseback almost every day. The horses we ride have to be very versatile. All of them get ranched on, roped on, and started on the barrels. My husband makes them a horse by exposing them to long days and the roping pen. I take over when they’re ready to be asked to run and have the mindset to do so. Nearly everything we do is a team effort. We pick up each other’s slack in order to make it all work. The overall goal is to produce horses that are ready to go win for their new owners. I’m so very proud to have grown up and live in the state of Wyoming. I could not ask for a better place to raise my family . Things that I want my kids to develop is a love and appreciation for the the land and livestock that has given us this lifestyle. I want them to find pride in working along side there grandparents and parents and know that they are a valued part of getting the job done. Just as my family has given me.”
I sincerely feel honored to be the one who gets to shine a light on these amazing Wyoming Cowgirls. They are genuine, kind, hard working, beautiful ladies that can work with the men all day and still be a great wife and mother to their children. These ladies inspire me.
About Tiffany Schwenke
My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...