Fair competition lets high school senior practice for his ultimate career
Most youngsters leave home to chase their dreams, but Charlie Peters will gain his heart’s desire on his family’s ranch.
He wants to be a cowboy.
Riding and roping were boyhood dreams, and family history is on his side as he will be the fifth generation Peters to own and run a ranch.
“I don’t think I can imagine a life where I do something different,” Charlie said.
Ranching will allow Peters, an eight-year competitor in showmanship and riding, to train horses — another great love of his.
He finished second Sunday at Marion County Fair in halter and western pleasure and third in barrel racing with 2-year-old mare Laurie.
Peters received the buckskin quarter horse as a filly through the American Quarter Horse Foundation and spent years training her.
Sunday was her competitive debut.
“She went to town the first time,” he said.
Peters also ropes steers in rodeo. His team will compete for the first time tonight and Thursday at the county fair.
His parents, Ryan and Jamie Peters, operate a cow-calf ranch near Hillsboro.
They are happy to share a dream with their son but also are frank about its challenges.
“Ranchers have to wear lots of different hats these days, and we have tried hard to make sure Charlie sees the big picture,” his mother Jamie Peters said.
“Ranching today involves being very flexible.”
Charlie, an incoming senior at Hillsboro High School, agrees he needs learn more about running a cow–calf operation than he can as a ranch hand.
He plans to earn a degree in ranching and feedlot operations from Clarendon College in Texas.
The experience will give him management training, which is what he thinks he needs.
Jamie Peters has encouraged her son to keep an open mind about his future.
“We have encouraged Charlie to look at agriculture as a broad horizon, and he has multiple talents that will serve him well,” she said.
Avoiding a “city job” where he would be chained to a desk under the thumb of a supervisor appeals to Peters.
He likes the idea of being his own boss.
“I would say agriculture is something almost looked down upon in my opinion,” he said. “People don’t appreciate where their food comes from or understand what goes on in the world of agriculture.”
He takes pride in caring for calves he raises and horses he trains for competition.
Peters travels to Abilene once a week to work with veteran cowboy J.D. Stover. Alta vista horse trainer Matt Lange is also a mentor.
The Peterses keep seven quarter horses, but Charlie has tended Laurie since she was a foal. They have a special connection.
Life has taught him a good horse is a cowboy’s best partner.
“Her disposition is so great, she is so very loving,” he said. “She is very forgiving of the mistakes I make and doesn’t hold a grudge.”
Last modified July 21, 2021