1. Introduce yourself...
Kelly grew up in Ione, Oregon population 329. His Dad has been a hired hand on working ranches Kelly’s entire life, so he was involved in the riding and ranching lifestyle from a young age. One of Kelly’s favorite childhood memories is his Dad picking him up from pre-school on horseback, with Pokey the appaloosa for Kelly to ride back home.
I was raised at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Ronan, Montana on eighty acres my Dad put up in hay every year. Riding from before I could walk, my first paying job opportunity came along when I was ten years old, riding the neighbor’s mare for a dollar a day. Fast-forward to age 27 when I got my hands on my first camera and my love of photography, horses, and the western lifestyle collided.
Now we live in Southeast Washington state, raising quarter horses and sharing our lifestyle while collaborating with brands we love and connecting with other like-minded people from far and wide.
2. What is the craziest adventure you have ever had?
I don’t think I can pinpoint one, every adventure feels a little crazy at the time. We hardly ever ride in the same location twice and we rarely have firsthand trail information, so it always feels like we’re flying by the seat of our pants. We also tend to put ourselves through really long days to find adventure… most recently, for Kelly’s birthday, we decided to go look for wild mustangs. We have a BLM mustang from Southeast Oregon, and we wanted to try to find horses in his herd management area (HMA). We left our house at 7:00 in the morning, drove through a few snowstorms, and searched for hours before finding the mustangs. Although they weren’t from the same HMA as our Jackson horse, it was still a super amazing experience! We didn’t get back to the main road until 7:00 that evening and didn’t get home until 2:00 in the morning… but it was so worth it!
3. Who is your biggest source of inspiration?
As a photographer, I am supremely grateful for Instagram. On any given day, at any given time, I can open that little app on my phone and see beautiful images, thoughts, and perspectives. Working with different brands has also helped me to stretch my creativity and continue to give me a reason to pick up my camera, even on days when I otherwise wouldn’t feel like it.
I also find a lot of inspiration in my own horses. Not only are they beautiful, but they inspire my character and behavior in a lot of ways as well. They are all so different and require me to adjust to them and their style of communication, whether I am doing groundwork, riding, or taking their photos.
4. In another life where would your dreams have taken you?
Be a journalist. I have always loved photos and words and in high school, I had the opportunity to write for our local newspaper. I loved everything about it and eventually went to college with a declared major in Journalism. However, I eventually changed my major to business management to give myself more job opportunities after graduation and currently work in Human Resources.
5. What is your dream adventure?
Oh, I have so many! I keep lists everywhere (in my phone, on sticky notes in all sorts of random places…) of trails and wilderness areas I want to explore. No matter how many I “check off”, my list never gets any shorter.
6. What is your favorite piece of Outback gear?
Kelly’s favorite piece of Outback gear, without a doubt, is his Sawbuck Vest. He wears it literally ALL the time… it’s waterproof but not too heavy, it looks sharp and keeps him warm when he just needs an extra layer.
For me, it’s a toss-up between my fleece big shirt and the cantle bag. I absolutely love how cozy the fleece big shirt is and the colors in the Emma are gorgeous to boot! It’s perfect for wearing on a cooler mountain morning until the sun burns the chill off, or layering under my oilskin coat on a cold day.
The cantle bag has become a must-have on my horse. It’s the perfect size to hold my oilskin coat, my fleece after the morning chill burns off, halter and lead rope, and my tripod. Plus, it’s waterproof!