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Gem in the Coulee: Betty Lacy


Quite appropriate, I think, that on Mother’s Day I write on Mrs. Lacy as a Gem in the Coulee. Since, after all, she is one of the founding mothers of our community and definitely the founding mother of Ridge Riders. She is still to this day one of the prettiest, funniest ladies and one very full of spunk.

These days you can find her having breakfast at Pepper Jack’s most every day, but in times gone by she was pioneering just about everything you can currently see around the Coulee or she was helping her late, great husband Cletis do it. The Ridge Riders Saddle Club is, of course, where they left their biggest mark, but they are entrenched much deeper than that around here. The Lacys are famous not just here but in just about every city from here to Montana and further south.

“If they got a rodeo there, they know Betty,” one old cow poke said. One lady said, “We all hoped to be like Betty back then, elegant but tough, funny but very serious when she needed to be.” Of course, Cletis was the luckiest guy around, everyone I asked said.

It is very hard to write about Betty without mentioning the larger-than-life man that spent most of her life with her. But, of course, they were a team. So I don’t think we should. Betty would not want it another way. She would probably have told me a very funny story about the subject if I had asked her and it would have been very much on point with the subject. Betty knows life. Hard and easy. Simple and complicated.

I see her at church most Sundays, sitting near the front so she can hear, but also so she can correct the pastor when he needs it. (That was a joke, I knew she would appreciate.) If you really want to learn something about our area, just take some time and sit back and listen a little to the little lady with the still elegant ways, who with a smile and sometimes a tap of her cane will tell you some very interesting stories of not only her own past but of all of ours.

Betty might very well be the mother of Coulee Country and we should always listen to our mother. All kidding and storytelling aside as I wrap this up. I respect Betty very much. I will never know the many footprints her shoes have made through mud, snow, dust and sand. I will never see the changes in towns, people, landscapes and life her eyes have seen. But this I do know, I will listen to her tell me about it all anytime, and so should we all.

You see, Betty is a Gem. A Gem that has been formed to perfection over many great years, and she would not want to change one little bit of any of it. Well, except maybe just one thing.

I am proud to know Mrs. Betty Lacy, and I am humble every time she says hello, tells a story in my presence or even threatens to hit me with her cane. So, Happy Mother’s Day to the mother of Coulee Country. Thanks for all you have done and will do and are doing. You have made this dusty old town partly what it is today. You are truly a Gem in the Coulee.

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