Back Country Horsemen of Washington’s Buckhorn Range Chapter Treasurer Judith Hoyle, right, was honored to receive the Backbone Award at the BCHW annual Rendezvous at Kittas Valley Fairground. The outdoor chair with the BCHW logo and her name embroidered on it was presented by BCHW President Kathy Young. (Bob Hoyle)

Back Country Horsemen of Washington’s Buckhorn Range Chapter Treasurer Judith Hoyle, right, was honored to receive the Backbone Award at the BCHW annual Rendezvous at Kittas Valley Fairground. The outdoor chair with the BCHW logo and her name embroidered on it was presented by BCHW President Kathy Young. (Bob Hoyle)

HORSEPLAY: Backbone of the organization is honored

DO YOU HAVE a good backbone?

I’m not talking about your spine, but if you’re a part of any organization, be it for work, hobby or belief, then you know it can’t function for long without fundamental supportive parts, or the backbone, of the organization, such as its president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.

Chimacum’s Judith Hoyle said she always considered those who perform trail work the backbones of Back Country Horsemen groups.

So she said she was “dumbstruck to hear my name announced” as the recipient of the 2017 Backbone Award at the Back Country Horsemen of Washington’s annual Rendezvous in Ellensburg this past March.

Hoyle and her husband, Bob, are among those who started Jefferson County’s BCHW Buckhorn Range chapter in 2003.

She said until her award she thought the Backbone Award was meant for those who do the physical work of fighting invasive weeds, clearing trails of debris and reconstructing them.

“It was a complete surprise to hear my name announced,” she said.

When most folks think about joining a BCH chapter, they likely think of the physical work volunteer members do.

The reality is most members don’t have the time, the physical ability nor the interest in performing that type of work.

Some join to be supportive of the legislative work the BCH does to keep trails open to horses.

Others join just to take part in the monthly trail rides, which is encouraged, too.

Hoyle, who commutes four days a week from Chimacum to her job in Seattle and works from home the fifth day, falls into the too-busy category.

Her husband and sweetheart of 31 years owns Bob’s Lawn and Garden service, relishes outdoor work and is “very involved in the trail work,” Hoyle said.

Volunteers of many levels are needed to help any organization run smoothly.

“It was a real eye-opener for me to find there’s a lot of behind the scenes work to be done, and that’s my niche,” said Hoyle, who currently serves as treasurer, membership chair and volunteer hours coordinator.

“I have computer skills; I can pack lunches and do other work to support the group from home.”

It was Buckhorn Range Chapter President Kris Lenke who sent Hoyle’s letter of recommendation to the state organization.

In it she wrote: “Judith has been an active member in the Buckhorn Range chapter for 15 years.

“She is a can-do, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of person as evidenced by her involvement as treasurer and membership chair for more than 10 years, and volunteer hours coordinator for five years.

“BCHW state Treasurer Teri Starke said Hoyle’s ‘been a very conscientious chapter treasurer; she attends leadership trainings and prepares the chapter financials and all the other information I need each year timely and accurately. I sincerely appreciate her attention to detail and accuracy.

“She makes my job much easier.’

“She has been a leader/organizer for activities such as chapter participation in the Port Gamble Forest Festival, Jefferson County All-County Picnic, and numerous chapter tack sales and prize rides. Every year she takes multiple times off of work to bring her horse to Kiwanis’ Camp Beausite Northwest to provide rides for adults and children with disabilities.

“She also has many chapter work party trail miles to her credit.

“Some of them are maintenance on the Larry Scott Memorial Trail, Anderson Lake State Park and Miller Peninsula State Park, she has assisted with packing in puncheon planks for the Skokomish River trail, packed in tree plugs to Pine Lake in the Skokomish watershed, and she always packs her clippers for impromptu trail maintenance when riding.

“She enjoys camping with horses and is a conscientious leave-no-trace participant.

“Her volunteer hours, trail work only, are somewhere around 600 a year.

“She gives selflessly and doesn’t do it for recognition but recognition is well deserved,” Lenke wrote

“Lots of people across the state were nominated, so it truly was an honor,” Hoyle said.

Buckhorn Range Chapter will have an information booth at Support the Olympic Discovery Trail on Saturday, Aug. 4 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Tour de Lavender Cycling Event at Boys & Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St., Sequim.

Then from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., join fellow trail supporters at the Trail Blaze Ball to Celebrate ODT’s 30th Anniversary, at Port Townsend’s Memorial Field, 550 Washington St.

The event includes music with Freddy Pink, silent and live auctions, gourmet food trucks, local beer, cider and wine, trail Outfitters and other vendor booths.

It’s the group’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Suggested donation is $20. Purchase tickets online at or at the gate.

Jefferson Equestrian Association

Jefferson Equestrian Association is continuing to work hard on getting the Jefferson County Equestrian Horse Park up and running.

Currently they are redoing the asphalt and widening the road to improve the line of site for the entrance to the park on the North side of Cape George Road.

The completion of this project will open the doors for moving forward.

Of course this all takes money, so they are asking folks to become or renew their membership.

Upcoming JEA fundraising events:

• Boots in Stirrups — Sept. 29 Park Potluck & Ride at 2 p.m. and Food in Mouths around 5 p.m.

• Co-op Shopping — In September and October. Proceeds from the Bean Jars at the Food Co-op, 414 Kearny Street, Port Townsend, will be donated to JEA.

• Bingo at the Hilltop — Nov. 7. Come have fun and help the group work toward its goals at Hilltop Tavern, 2510 W. Sims Way, Port Townsend.

JEA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to developing an equestrian facility for educational, recreational and competitive activities for all equestrian disciplines serving youth and adults locally and regionally.

Its focus is to balance the needs of the community and horse park users while addressing environmental issues and developing the local economy.

For more information, go to www.jefferson

They are in need of more board members.

For more information, contact Raina Baker at [email protected]


• Jefferson County prefair 4-H horse show — July 28

• BCH Buckhorn Range monthly chapter meeting — 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 10 at Tri Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road, Chimacum.

• Jefferson County Fair’s 4-H Horse Shows — Aug. 10-11 at 4907 Landes St., Port Townsend.

• Jefferson County6 Fair’s Barrel Race — 10 a.m. Aug. 12 start for Barrel Racers National four divisions and National Barrel Horse Association District 5 sanctioned events. There is a Western attire dress code for these events.

Must enter by Aug 6.

Contact Glenda Meek at 360-774-2444.


Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

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