Photo © Tiffany Collins

Publisher: Jason Lugo

Back in my teenage years I worked on my uncle Mark’s ranch in Fairfield. Everyone in the area knew Monty Funkhouser. Monty was a true cowboy and an icon; he was the real deal. One day I spotted him herding cows down the dusty road leading past our ranch. I quickly saddled up my buckskin mare and joined him for a portion of the journey. For a kid like me, it was a dream come true to ride alongside such a legend.

I reflect on that now because for the past year I have had the opportunity to follow more “legends” of cowboying, the Chatburn family, and document their day-to-day activities through photographs. Jeff and Tammy welcomed me and all my camera gear, allowing me to do more than just capture the moment; they helped me to remember that special trail ride with Monty, and the love I still have for horses and the cowboy lifestyle.

In this issue of Southern Idaho Living, contributing writer Nicole Swafford and I take you on a tour of the Chatburn Ranch, featuring everything from herding to roping, feeding to branding (eating Rocky Mountain oysters wasn’t too bad, either).

Then, we jump in the pool (literally) with the Wood River swim team. Managing Editor Ryan Howe investigates the secret behind WR’s three state championships. In addition, we profile an incredibly gifted man, Danny Edwards, whose breathtaking bronze sculptures are only the tip of the iceberg of this creative and insightful Southern Idahoan.

Did somebody say iceberg? Contributing writer Blair Koch takes us backstage with the Magic Valley Dilettantes as they prepare their milestone 50th show, “Titanic: The Musical.” We also make handmade soap with Buhl’s Janet Franklin, learn about life choices with Filer Police Chief Cliff Johnson, and so much more.

Relax and enjoy Southern Idaho. It’s a special place where real cowboys roam, champions are crowned, dreams come true, and everyday people achieve extraordinary greatness.

Jason Lugo