WCHA Member Spotlight

Jeff Sleeman

Jeff Sleeman has been involved in cutting in the Northwest for decades. Sorry, Jeff, if that dates you. He’s the husband of Becky, father to Josh, Jesse, and Jaelynn. He is Papa to Haylee, Bo, Josey, Jace, and Jojo. I remember when he won the CCC Futurity in the early nineties on “Junk Yard Dog,” and he’s still winning in the cutting pen. Some of you may know that he did trick riding years ago, and dressed up as an Indian to ride in the costume class at Paint Shows.

I decided to feature Jeff in this article because I wanted to thank him publicly for his efforts to help make the Grant County Fairgrounds happen for cutters in the Northwest. Before I continue, it is important to also thank Brad Smith, Scott Tullis, John Paul, and Jim and Patti Scott as they were also involved in the project.

A couple of years ago WCHA set out to find a facility to call “home”. It had to meet the many needs of cutters. For the horses it needed to have lots of safe stalls and good ground in the warm up and cutting arenas. The facility needed to meet the demands of cattle with suitable holding pens and availability of lots of cattle. Lastly, the facility needed to meet the needs of the contestants, having RV hook-ups, shade, bathrooms, showers and grandstand seating. The Grant County Fairgrounds looked promising.

Jeff made numerous trips to Moses Lake to meet with Grant County Fairground’s officials. The time was right, as the Fairgrounds had just received a donation for a new arena from a generous individual. A new indoor arena was built with cutters in mind. Additional stalls, holding pens, and a practice pen were built. Jeff had provided the sketch for these. WCHA purchased the back fence panels and additional sand. A positive relationship has been established with the grounds maintenance crew. An example I witnessed at a show happened when a member broke a water line late in the evening. Jeff and other members worked hand and hand with the fair crew to get it fixed. Afterwards they sat around a campfire to shoot the breeze. These guys on the fairgrounds staff are always helpful during a show if you need something.

The area probably has the most cattle in Washington, but still cattle contracts had to be made. Again this required many contacts. I heard that Jeff works with about a dozen suppliers. Cattle suppliers also had to be educated about how to handle the cattle that were to be used for cutting. It has all come together, and WCHA is fortunate to have one of the best cutting facilities in the Northwest. Other WCHA members helped in this overall effort, but none worked harder for cutters than Jeff Sleeman. After the recent very successful Aged Event and Finals Show Jeff was talking about ways to improve things for 2012, possibly adding some new things, and improving things where it can be done. If you have ideas about the coming year or want to take on one of the many jobs to help make WCHA be the best it can be, don’t hesitate to make your voice heard. Here’s looking to a great year of cutting in 2012 for WCHA at the Grant County Fairgrounds.

Written by Susan Walker
    

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Carol Kneeshaw
WCHA Treasurer
PO Box 864
Eatonville, WA 98328
Phone:  253-843-1760

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