A bitter but sweet graduation for ranch girl Kylie Dice | PostIndependent.com

A bitter but sweet graduation for ranch girl Kylie Dice

Rifle High School senior Kylie Dice saddles up a horse for an early evening ride on a ranch south of Silt.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Rifle High School senior Kylie Dice is a ranch girl and an avid horse rider. As such, she’s nothing but elated at the prospect of galloping toward the next chapter of her life.

“I guess it’s a happy-sad moment,” she said. Like, I want to graduate and get on with my life and go on with what I want to do. But it’s also sad because that’s where a lot of high school memories you leave behind. Like, all your friends and stuff are going different places and you might never see them again.

“So, it’s like happy sad because you’re saying goodbye to friends,” she added. “But you’re also making a new beginning, I guess.”

That’s perhaps the biggest challenge in Dice’s life right now: saying goodbye.

Dice is accustomed to the rural lifestyle of western Garfield County, Colorado. Though at times she’s moved around, she has spent more or less most of her life living on a ranch and attending nearby schools.

“Some days are boring, some days are fun. It’s just typical Rifle,” she said. “I mean, you always find something to do. I usually just spend most of my time on the ranch and rodeo and traveling for rodeos.”

Dice always loved rodeo. People are nice and really welcoming, she said.

“Like, even people you don’t know are really welcoming at times. Most people you meet in town and stuff are, like, ‘Oh, I don’t know you, go away.’ But rodeo people are, like, ‘Yeah, come do this, come do that with us.’ You make friends with regular people in an instant. And like, they just become like one big family.”

The 18-year-old senior derived her fondest memories of high school from experiences not necessarily found in a classical sports sense.

“There’s a lot to look back on in my high school career,” she said. “My fondest moments are probably (Future Farmers of America) and my FFA group. And it’s like the people that I’ve met there and my teachers.”

When Dice wasn’t spending time in FFA or rodeo, she was simply spending time on her family’s ranch. This is where Dice, who plans to study diesel mechanics, was introduced to the world of machines.

There, she’d work on vehicles with her grandpa and uncle, she said.

“They both gave me the spark to want to do it because every time I was around them we’d be working on like a baler or something and or like we would be changing oil on the trucks or the vehicles and like they just kind of like got my interest into it,” she said.

Though Dice doesn’t have any particular school in mind after she graduates, she does intend to go south.

“I plan on going to Texas,” she said. “If I go down to college in Texas … I have rodeo advantages out there. I can go to a bunch of rodeos and rope and stuff. And I know some people down there. So, it’s not like I’m making a completely new beginning because I have some people down there.”

Dice also looks forward to doing her true passion.

“I’m also looking forward to more time on the ranch and more time training horses,” she said. “And not having to like go to school four days a week and then only be able to, like, work three days a week, and I can just work full-time now. Well, once I graduate.”

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@postindependent.com

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