Linda Buchanan: Woman of the West – Verde Independent
Linda Wolfe Buchanan lives at the confluence of West Clear Creek and the Verde River. You may know her as is the community education coordinator at Yavapai College in Clarkdale. Her son and daughter-in-love own and operate Plowing Ahead Ranch in Camp Verde. She found her top-hand, Buck, at the Apache Maid Ranch, in 1999. Even
Linda Wolfe Buchanan lives at the confluence of West Clear Creek and the Verde River. You may know her as is the community education coordinator at Yavapai College in Clarkdale. Her son and daughter-in-love own and operate Plowing Ahead Ranch in Camp Verde. She found her top-hand, Buck, at the Apache Maid Ranch, in 1999. Even at the keyboard, she lives her motto, “Whip and spur!”
I was raised on a farm in the Great Northwest, and horses were a big part of my childhood and teen years. Through the civic club 4-H, I pledged, “ . . . my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to greater service, and my Health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” Although it seemed like clubhouse fun and gymkhana games at the time, the core principles of 4-H shaped my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined as a child.
At age 17, I moved to Arizona to attend Prescott College. On a campus full of “long-haired hippies” I was the kid in Wranglers and cowboy boots, riding off into the Williamson Valley grasslands from what is today the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Romance, and later responsibility, set my path with a working cowboy, moving from one ranch to another (17 moves in 5 years), before we settled in Camp Verde almost 40 years ago. Ranch horses were “tools of the trade” but riding was always my most cherished recreation. When my son was born, he was horseback before he could walk. When the lonesome Cowboy rode off into the sunset, or at least to Rimrock, I remained active in the greater Verde Valley equestrian world, including riding with a women’s drill team, and exercising horses for the Hackamore Ranch and Roadrunner Ranch.
My love of everything ‘western’ morphed into various business enterprises, and in the 80s and 90s I was involved in developing events such as the Rio Verde Roverettes Annual Trail Ride, and Bull-a-Rama bucking events, while operating my own business, Cry Wolfe.
There naturally came a time and place when I hung up my spurs, and sold my last horse, trailer, and a ton of hay. (But no cowgirl sells her tack, right?) I returned to college to pick up where I left off, and began a career in higher education and community engagement, which continues today at Yavapai College.
Luckily, I sold pasture property to the world’s best neighbors, and have the joy of living in the Camp Verde agricultural belt, where horses grazing and crops ripening are part of my daily experience. Every once in a while I am tempted to ride with an old saddle pal, knowing that I can be lured or lulled back to the stable, where the smell of fresh straw and saddle leather makes anything seem possible.
If I’m living the 4-H pledge today, it is in working collaboratively with a vast array of stakeholders from government to neighbors, ensuring that the Verde River will flow forever through the Verde Valley, irrigating our farms, and raising children who know the value of being wild.
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