Polson girl gets her dream horse
POLSON — Although it sounds like a movie, this is a story about a girl who loves horses and a young horse who trusts her.
It all began with Dixon rancher Jerry Hamel, who bought a mare with a colt at an estate sale.
The colt was out of Carl Moss’ stud, Hamel said, and was out of a McConnell-bred mare.
He really didn’t know what to do with the colt, according to Jason Nentwig, who will be the assistant rodeo coach for Salish Kootenai College’s rodeo team.
Hamel heard that students at SKC were thinking of forming a rodeo team, so he decided to give the colt to the SKC rodeo team to raffle off.
Hamel’s wife passed away a year ago, and he said she was “always doing that kind of stuff,” such as donating to the Bread Basket Food Bank.
One of Hamel’s friends, Darrell Cook, brought his granddaughter, Kimberly Frisk, out to see the horse. While visiting, Hamel and Cook looked up to see Kimberly petting the horse.
“As far as I know,” Hamel said, “she’s the first one to put her hands on that colt.”
The brown and white paint stud colt, who turned two this summer, wasn’t halter broke, and hadn’t yet been gelded, Nentwig said. So they got a local vet to geld the horse, and Hamel put a halter on the colt.
SKC rodeo club enthusiasts hauled the horse to area events, such as rodeos and the Lake County Fair, to sell tickets.
Everywhere they took the horse, Nentwig said, Kimberly was there. Every single day, she’d pet the colt and talk to him. She even rode with Nentwig when he trailered the colt to pasture for the night.
“She really liked him, and he trusted her,” Nentwig said.
According to her grandpa, Kimberly has always been a horse nut. Anytime there was a horse around, that’s where Kimberly would be. While he doesn’t have horses himself, Darrell does all he can to support his granddaughter’s love of the four-footed creatures.
“I bought raffle tickets, her mom bought tickets,” he said, hoping to win the horse for Kimberly.
However, when the winning ticket was drawn, it had Sharon Procopio’s name on it. A horsewoman and community-minded person, Procopio had bought a ticket just to support the SKC rodeo team.
Procopio was working concessions at the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Polson and didn’t hear who won when the ticket was drawn. Her husband told her she won, but she thought he was pulling her leg “because he does that.”
Procopio said when she went over to look at the horse, a young girl (Kimberly) asked if she’d be interested in selling him. Procopio wanted to think about it.
When Hamel delivered the horse, he told her about Kimberly being the first person to touch the horse, but Procopio didn’t know about Kimberly following the little gelding to all the events.
When Nina Cook, Kimberly’s mother, phoned Procopio, she agreed to sell. She did ask if Kimberly had a place to keep the horse. Then it came down to the nuts and bolts of the deal; how much did she want for the gelding?
“I told her I paid $10 for the ticket,” Procopio said, and that’s what she wanted.
Nina said she about started crying on the phone.
Procopio told the family they could donate to the Polson Fairgrounds Association, which they did, and then Procopio sent the money on to the SKC rodeo team.
“I’ve had a horse since I was way younger than Kimberly,” Procopio said. “I’ve always been fortunate to be able to enough to keep a horse. But I can only ride one.”
“(Kimberly) will have a great future with this little horse,” she said, adding that a horse teaches a kid responsibility and most of the kids involved in horse activities, such as rodeo, showing and 4-H, seem to stay out of trouble.
“It just worked,” Nentwig said, and Kimberly got her horse.
He’s still not really halter broke, so he had to be coaxed with another horse to get him in the trailer.
Nentwig said the horse “is a nice little guy,” and he’s already learned many manners. The gelding, who Kimberly calls Bugaboo, now lives at her grandmother’s place.
“I like every horse. And I just kinda like him,” she said, stroking Bugaboo’s spotted neck.
Kimberly, a seventh grader at Polson Middle School, plans to get Bugaboo broke to ride, train him to run barrels and then breakaway rope on him. According to her grandmother, Kimberly has many rodeoing family members who should be able to help her train the colt.
As Bugaboo is just barely two, Kimberly’s plans could take a while.
“I was really happy it turned out the way it did,” Procopio said.
So is Kimberly.