The Cover Column - Volume #2 - Lila Glade
Welcome to my second volume of The Cover Column!
It gives me much pleasure to tell you that today I am going to introduce you to someone really special to me, my mom. As I type this I’m grinning because she really has no idea that I’m writing about her. It’s going to come as a huge surprise. I spoke to her a couple of night ago and told her I was writing about Skipper. Well, I didn’t totally tell her a windy. I’m going to tell you about both of them.
My mom, Lila Reukauf Glade, was born in July 1950 in Miles City, Montana. She was the second daughter to Art & June McMillan Reukauf. She joined her sister Dixie, five years her senior, on the Reukauf ranch north of the Yellowstone River between Little Sheep and Big Sheep Mountains in southeastern Montana. Terry was what their home address was, but it could have easily been Miles City too due to the “back way” into town.
My mom grew up as one of two girls in a family of hard workers. Her father, Art, was a busy man. He ran cattle and horses…and not always in close proximity to his home place. Over the years he had leased land quite a distance from home in the state of Montana. He even had business dealings in Australia and Missouri eventually. My grandpa was quite the entrepreneur. He was raised during hard times and did a lot of business with his word and a handshake. Her mother, June, was also accustomed to working hard every minute of the day. Mom grew up around that. She learned at a young age what hard work was all about.
Mom attended a nearby country school until it was time to attend school in Terry. She graduated high school in 1968. Mom was involved in rodeo from a very young age. Her dad raised foundation bloodline quarter horses and he enjoyed watching them run barrels. My mom and her sister spent a lot of hours working on the ranch and training horses in the arena. They both became quite skilled horsewomen and went on to win all sorts of prizes, awards, and titles running barrels.
After high school Mom went to school at National College in Rapid City, SD. She was on the rodeo team. She eventually met her husband-to-be, Cliff Glade (my dad). They married in February 1971. I was their first born in July 1973 and my brother, Wyatt, followed in December 1975. Along the way my folks learned how to build a life together ranching and raising/training horses.
I decided not to focus too much on all of the minute details about my mom’s life in this issue. Now that I’ve put my toe in the water perhaps she won’t mind if I dive deeper when featuring her next time. I told her I was writing about Skipper so that’s what I’m going to do.
Who was Skipper? Well, he was perhaps one of the most amazing four-legged souls we’ve ever known. He was born in the spring of 1962 by my Grandpa’s stud (Little Freckles) and out of a Hines mare. Verlan Hines was quite the horse hand. He was a family friend and lived down the creek. His kids loved riding horses and were great at getting all of their horses broke to death. Skipper was that. A friend of the family had actually bought him from the Hines family. Doc Britton was from Minnesota. He came out hunting frequently. Doc had bought Skipper as a pleasure horse for himself. He left him at the Reukauf place for the winter and told my mom that she should run barrels on him. My mom remembers thinking that was a silly idea. She said that Doc urged her to, so she took him over to the arena just to see what might happen. Skipper was used to an arena because the Hines kids had brought him in to the local play days and what not. Mom said that Skipper took right to running barrels.
This is going to be hard to believe for some of you, but this is the honest truth. It only took my mom 30 days (THIRTY DAYS) at the arena until she entered him in his first rodeo (Cohagen, MT). AND…THEY WON IT!!! Skipper was eight years old.
My mom went on to say that they went to a few more and he won those also, but he got to tipping barrels because he turned them so dang tight. He didn’t dig in like a lot of horses. He more or less turned sort of straight up and down. After this trial and error period and some more time back home in the training pen everywhere they went they won 1st or 2nd. Mom said that Skipper was a funny horse. You totally had to leave his head alone. Whenever he had a bit in his mouth he would slobber like crazy. Looking back, she wishes she would have just used a halter on him. They did eventually use a hackamore on him with the shank cut down to no more than 4”. This worked great for him. She smiled when she remembered back about how he swatted his tail on the way home from the third barrel every single time.
My mom got her WPRA (Women’s Professional Rodeo Association) card in 1974. She had waited to get it for quite some time because back then when you got your official card you couldn’t compete in amateur rodeos anymore. This has since changed.
I asked my mom about her best wins on the rodeo trail. Of course, Cheyenne Frontier Days came up. She told me back then it was quite an amazing thing. All 90 some barrel racers would enter the arena and stand off to the side while each one ran. They never raked once, and the horse races were going on at the same time around the arena! And…the top came back after they were done to crown the champion. In 1974, she and Skipper split ¾. In 1975 they won it! And in 1976 they were 6th.
Something about the buckle they won (and these are my own personal words). It’s an amazing buckle, but it lacks the diamonds in it that all the men received in their buckles. I always thought it would be neat to add diamonds to that buckle…maybe I will someday for my mom! When asking her how Skipper had come out on top at CFD after all of those girls had run…Mom said it was easy…he ran inside all of their tracks (remember I said he turned pretty straight up and down).
Mom and Skipper won the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit in barrels in 1975 and 1976…they were the runner’s up in 1977. My mom and Skipper eventually went on to qualify and compete in the 1976 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. Looking back, she has told me several times how naïve she was. It was the dead of winter as they left home in Montana. She and my dad pulled into OKC a day before the rodeo…others had been there a week or two ahead of them. The temperature change was drastic. Skipper did have difficulties adjusting so it wasn’t his best performance of his career. However, it was the NFR. They did their best and they came out of it stronger than ever. Here is a picture of mom and Skipper before a run at the NFR.
My mom eventually let a high school family friend run him at the National High School Rodeo Finals in Washington. Her name back then was Lisa Figg (now Lisa Medlin). I actually remember Lisa and her family well from my childhood. I always thought it was great that my mom and dad helped young cowgirls and cowboys getting started just like my Grandpa Art had done. Speaking of getting youngsters started…then there was me.