“When there’s work to be done, this cowgirl is the first in line to help.”
Yep, she’s an outstanding young horsewoman, but much more with a bright future serving all of agriculture.
Verification comes with the many accolades received by Michelle Patry during recent yearend school activities.
A 2021 Council Grove High School graduate, Michelle has a lifetime of horse, ranch and community service work.
The 17-year-old daughter of Josh and Marlene Patry of Dwight started quite young riding horses. “I participated in Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association (EKHA) shows when I was just three-years-old,” she said.
“I took after all of my family with my interest in horses,” Michelle continued. “Both of my parents as well as my two older sisters and my little brother enjoy working on horseback.”
Ample credit is given her parents for providing horses to ride and developing riding skills.
“They’ve been so good helping me ever since I started and as much so these days,” Michelle said. “My sisters, Nichole and Heather, as well as my brother Jayden have always shared horses and encouraged me, too.”
While fond memories of horseshow participation are cited by the horsewoman, she’s a real working cowgirl. “We have a large cattle operation on our ranch, and I’ve always helped with all of that work,” Michelle verified. “I really like every aspect of growing up and working on a ranch.”
Moving from her horse called Cookie, Michelle rode the ponies named Trigger and Rex in horse shows.
“We fortunately had a couple of great performance horses, Cowboy and Babe, as well as top running horses,” Michelle said. “My sisters and brother were usually in a different age group so we could often ride the same horses.”
When she was seven-years-old, Michelle joined the Dwight Sunflower 4-H Club and enrolled in a several projects.
“Of course, I showed horses, but I also had beef, swine and foods,” she said. “I became especially interested in photography. I enjoy taking livestock, ranch and even people pictures and showing them at the fair.”
The Morris County Fair has always been a highlight of the year for the family. “I’ve had exhibits for all of my projects and have been fortunate to win several championships,” Michelle appreciated.
Serving 4-H club offices through the years, the cowgirl’s show interests changed as she got older. “Of course, I exhibited horses, but then got out of the swine project and had more steers,” Michelle said.
Seldom if ever missing an EKHA show, Michelle annually collected a number of yearend awards including several highpoint honors. The recognitions were not without plenty of advance effort.
“All of my family works hard with our horses riding daily and assisting with ranch work,” Michelle verified. “We generally are always the first ones at a show. We make sure our horses are warmed up ready for a full day.”
Qualifying at District 4-H Horse Shows, Michelle has exhibited horses at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson ever since she was old enough.
“We didn’t have to qualify at district last year due to the coronavirus, but I did show at the state fair,” she said. “It really went well and I placed in the top ten in five classes both performance and speed events.”
Upon entering high school, Michelle enrolled in vocational agriculture classes and joined FFA.
“I was elected an FFA officer three years and have just completed my term as president,” she said. “I really enjoy judging horses as well as all species of livestock. Both the district and state FFA contests have been enjoyable and educational.
“I was eighth in the state horse judging contest as a sophomore,” Michelle noted. “Our team with my sister Heather and Carissa Dalquest placed second qualifying us for national competition.”
Highlight of Michelle’s judging experiences was competing at the American Quarter Horse Association Youth World Show. “That contest really made a lifetime impression,” she admitted.
While she’s efficient in horseshow and ranch work, Michelle doesn’t have as much interest in rodeo competition. “I’ve been in several youth rodeos, and have done some roping, but I prefer horse shows,” she said.
After losing one of her horses, Michelle feels fortunate to have a new horse from trainer Amber Henderson at Topeka. “This sorrel gelding called Mack is a great one,” Michelle said. “I have also learned so much taking riding lessons from Amber.”
Receiving a half-dozen higher education stipends during class day activities, Michelle was recipient of the Gordon Morrison Scholarship. “Mr. Morrison taught agriculture at Council Grove many years ago,” she said. “He’s attended the FFA banquet several times and has been such an inspiration to me.”
While she’ll be competing in the district 4-H horse show, Michelle isn’t sure if she’ll be at the state fair. “With Mack in the performance classes and my black horse Diesel to run, I’m confident I can quality,” she said. “However, with college I don’t know if I can get to the state fair.”
This fall, Michelle will be attending Butler County Community College in El Dorado. “I plan to major in mass communications specializing in journalism and photography,” she said. “I’ve been taking classes online, so I should get my degree in another year-and-a-half.”
With diploma in hand, Michelle will be just 19-years-old as she looks toward a profession working for an agriculture publication.
“Of course, I’ll write, but I’m really excited about livestock and ranch photography,” she said. “I would like to develop my own photography business later on.”
While horse work could be limited during college and starting her professional life, Michelle will always be a cowgirl.
“I want to continue to help on the ranch when I can and also ride in horse shows,” Michelle Patry said. “I would like for my children to be involved with horses, too. I hope they can even show in registered Quarter Horse events.”