Friday, June 5, 2015

March 1998 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace

Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
March 1998

This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in March of 1998.

 [Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Following are excerpts from an interview published in the Oak Springs Enterprise between reporter, Rachel (Nixon) Gates, and Diane Bevins, General Manager of Bevins Stables and Trail Rides in the east valley. The subject was their horse-breeding operations and the interview also included horse-breeding partners, Heather Gates and Dr. Jennifer Bevins.

Diane said: “Yes, we take great pride in the strides we have made in our horse-breeding program here at the Stables in the last couple of years. Heather Gates, although still only a junior in High School, has taken the lead for us and it has been an award winning process, to date. I see much more of the same in the future. We each get strong technical guidance from our veterinary partner, Dr. Bevins, of course. We breed both purebred Palominos and high-quality non-purebreds as well. We have two birthing stalls, and now try to have two births in January and two in March, if all goes as planned. And things usually go as planned.

“I should also mention that we highly value our association with a number of the other members of the Palomino Horse Breeders of America in the region. We have had many interactions that have been mutually beneficial over a number of years. We couldn’t have done what we do without those colleagues and friends.”

Rachel asked: “What mix of purebred to non-purebred to you use in your breeding?” To which Diane replied: “One or two purebreds a year is our current goal. We don’t want to expand the lines too quickly. Quality over quantity is our current strategy. We also desire to slowly grow our trail ride options, which requires more non-purebred horses. And, we need to sell some horses each year, in each category, to help finance the whole operation.”

What are your primary responsibilities, Heather? Rachel asked. Heather replied: “I would say I have two primary responsibilities right now. First, because I am still in school, getting that done right is a high priority. The horses are my FFA project, so that meshes nicely. Second, I am responsible for all the ‘grunt work’ with the breeding process, directing and helped out by the other stable employees. The care and comfort of the brood mares and their foal are my responsibility. All the record keeping for the breeding stock and their offspring are my responsibility.”

Rachel turned to Jennifer,  “And Dr. Bevins, how do you fit in the equation?” To which she replied, “My responsibilities are general health of the animals and technical advice and assistance to the horse-breeding process. We use all artificial insemination, so I’m responsible for having both materials and equipment available, and I assist and supervise the operations, along with Heather, and others as may be required. I regularly monitor the reports Heather prepares on the condition of all the animals, and recommend and treat as needed. It is a real pleasure to be involved in this first-class operation and process. Our outcomes have been outstanding.”

Turning back to Diane, Rachel said: “Dr. Bevins may have answered my final question. Do you consider the horse-breeding operation here at your Stables to be a success?”

Diane replied: “Very much a success, for all involved. My first purebred Palomino was Marilyn, way back, many years ago. Sunshine, Heather’s principle Palomino mare, is an offspring of Marilyn. We have developed other excellent mares and have been able to sell a number of male and female offspring for premium prices. On the other side, we have continued to upgrade our trail horse herd, while selling a regular number of horses both old and young to help support the stables and the breeding. We also do some breeding for other horses that we board. For example, Christopher Ogden owns Shadow over there in the second birthing stall. This is her second foal in the last two years. We are all very pleased with how our program is succeeding.”


The Sullivan End-‘O-the-Road Livestock Auction announced that the first “Cow-Calf” Auction of the season would be held on Friday, March 27, 1998. A find selection of locally raised stock was expected at the sale event. Refreshments would be available from vendors at the Auction House.

Social Notes:

Travis and Inman, and their children, Zach and Kayla, spent Spring Break week in Branson. They enjoyed Silver Dollar City and many of the other local attractions.

Peter, Sheila and Jeremy Bevins spent Spring Break at the Lake of the Ozarks, boating and fishing, they said.

Cop Shop:

There were no incidents reported this month.

"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."
Dr. Bill  ;-)


  1. Another refreshing update in Oak Springs. I admire the way that you develop a new story line pertaining to a specific topic in the area each week. Way to go Bill

    1. Thank you, Sam. It is a challenge, but it is an active community. Try not leave anyone out, for too long! I appreciate your comments, and your support! ;-)

  2. I spent the day yesterday building an aviary and shoveling rock. My fingers will barely move, but I wanted to wish you a Happy Sunday.

    1. Thanks, Bill. It keeps you humble, to work like that, for your critters, as well as you family. Thanks for letting me know you visited. Keep up the good work! ;-)