Hardscrabble: 1a: being or relating to a place of barren or barely arable soil.
2a: great effort made in the face of difficulties.
3a: a barren place of difficult subsistence.
I looked up the first three definitions for the word “hardscrabble” and they perfectly describe my friend Shawn Goemmer
I haven’t figured out if he throws errant darts at a map, chooses the roughest country he can find because of a “Say I won’t” attitude, or if he just wants to show the rest of the world what can be done with little or nothing in the ranch resource department. Whichever it is, don’t bet against him. It took seven years of drought to move him off center in Arizona.
Where did he go next? Battle Mountain, Nevada. Go figure.
The truth is that Shawn needs lots of country to live life on his terms. Ten thousand acres crowd his senses, so he’s always more apt to go for 50,000 or 100,000. Trust me --- he needs the space --- You don’t want to fence his kind in.
We met back around the winter of ’98 in Las Vegas. Shawn’s wife Mindy wandered into my art booth at the National Finals Rodeo. She was patiently killing time while Shawn jawed with cowboy folk about his most recent horse wreck. A honeymoon trip back to La Veta, Colorado, that included a last minute bronc ride entry, proved an exciting beginning for Mindy and her new marriage.
The bronc stepped on Shawn’s chest, cutting his pancreas in half and moving some other major parts around. The long and short go something like this: 21 days in ICU (I know they finally kicked him out for being a pain in the ass); several weeks on crutches; several weeks with a cane, then “When Can I Ride?” “WHEN CAN I RIDE?” Hell, I wasn’t even there and I know he was a pain in the ass!
Shawn finally made it to my booth (he’s well known among the working cowboy crowd and they all want to talk to him) and a real friendship ensued.
It’s a small list of people you know that will come through for you; people who will watch your back and make things happen when you can’t. Shawn does that for me, and with very little asked in return. I have little to offer beyond a painting and telling the world what a good man Shawn is.
One of my intentions for this blog is to introduce you to these special people that I am blessed to know and to give you insights into their unique lifestyle; to tell their stories and how we all connect.
I won’t tell all the stories I have about Shawn, because quite frankly I don’t want to use up all my blog ammo. I want to spread it out for you; small, interesting little doses so you’ll come back for more. And with Shawn, there will be more …. Much more.
All content and images © Mark Kohler Studio.