The Midwest Cowgirl – Alive and Well at Century College

R. Michael Aguirre | Photography Editor

photo by R. Michael Aguirre

photo by R. Michael Aguirre

The Midwest is home to an almost mythical, dying breed; the American Cowboy. But, all hope is not lost in the ever dying off of the ranchers and farmers, who have long practiced the true lifestyle that most of us only imagine as a sport of Western men and women. It’s easy to ignore the idea of that lifestyle as we commute up and down the freeways of technology and concrete to work, school and wherever else we’re going down these highways of life.

While in my Art Photography classes here at Century College with Art Professor Melissa Boreman, I met some of these current practicing cowgirls, and some upcoming high school cowgirls from Barrel Racers up at the Oasis Equestrian Center.  These young ladies became my final project about The Minnesota Cowgirl.

photo by R. Michael Aguirre

photo by R. Michael Aguirre

Kristi Nelson is a former Century student who started riding horses at age eight. “I started out doing western pleasure style riding, but it was when I started doing the speed events that got me hooked! I enjoyed this all through school, up until I joined the Navy in 2007,” she recalls. Kristi has since moved on from Century, and is studying to be an x-ray technician at another school.

While at these events, I was introduced to Amber Hultman, the owner and operator of The Oasis Equestrian Center. She offers barrel races, lessons, training and boarding of horses. The OEC is located near the northern convergence of Lindstrom and Center City, Minnesota.

Amber, a former Rodeo Queen and Barrel Racing Champion in her own right, has a lot of knowledgeable of the sport through her own experiences. Amber is an active member of UBRA, the United Barrel Racing Association. She was recently made Minnesota State Director of UBRA.

Here is just a sample of her latest resume, outside of being an active participant and operator:

UBRA- United Barrel Racing Association

2012, 2013- Top 5 1D Open Division

MBRA- Minnesota Barrel Racing Association

2012, 2013- Open Division Champion, Saddle Winner, and Top 10 Rodeo Division

BBR- Better Barrel Races

2012- Northern States 2D Champion Saddle Winner

If you would like more information from Amber, and want to get involved in these activities, you can reach her via here website at:

photo by R. Michael Aguirre

photo by R. Michael Aguirre

Think of the modern day rodeo, and you’ll get a real life glimpse of that quintessential cowboy, with ever-changing demographic that includes many women who are continuing a heritage that is still running strong to this day. A sense of nostalgia greets you as you take a step back into the past of the great American West at these local events.  A living legend- -the American Cowgirl is alive and well here at Century College.