In the last three weeks, I have bought a new car, sold my pickup, and sold my horse trailer. That’s a lot of vehicle changes in a short amount of time.

My mom and I have been kicking around the idea of going in together on a crossover SUV. So, I did some research and landed on the Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s got the best warranty of any class of SUV, plus that model is made in Montgomery Alabama, using American made parts. I liked a few other makes as well, but they didn’t get the safety ratings I wanted or started out too expensive for just the base model.

I had intended to buy either a good used Santa Fe, or one of the base models of the newer ones. But you know what they say about good intentions? We went to Missoula with the intention of simply driving one to see if we liked it. We ended up buying the top trim level model, with a turbo engine. Plus, it’s bright red.

I’m sure I did every single thing the experts tell you not to do when buying a car. We only drove one. I didn’t step back and leave the showroom to think it over. I said I liked the car. I didn’t ask enough questions on the pricing. I do like the car. And most important, my mom likes it and feels like she can now go off by herself to do things if needed. So, in the big picture, it was a good decision. Like I told my mom, if we decide after a few months that we don’t like it as well as we thought, we’ll trade it in. I have no problem doing that. So far, I’m not attached to this car.

I absolutely loved my pickup. It was the first vehicle that I bought following my divorce, and it made a statement. It was a beautiful tungsten gray, one-ton diesel Silverado. It was a sexy truck, and I liked driving it. It had power, class, and was fun. But, it had 130,000 miles on it. I am facing an empty nest in the next few months. I’m not hauling horses like I was before Garris got his driver’s license. Plus, he’s not using my horses this spring.

I had intentions of starting to compete in breakaway myself, but I think that’s at least a year away. It may even be one of those dreams that has to die, because I just can’t get any help pursuing it further than roping the dummy.

So, I checked out my truck’s value on Kelley Blue Book. I looked up what it was worth as a trade in, what it was worth selling private party, and what the cash offer might be from a dealer. After looking at all three, I decided to try the cash offer. The three values were within $500 of each other. I hate trying to sell anything, but especially vehicles. That way, I didn’t have to deal with people wanting to drive my pickup and possibly getting in a wreck. I didn’t have to haggle with anyone over its value.

Within a few minutes of hitting the button, two dealers were in contact with me. One was in Butte; one was in Helena. I tried the Butte one first, as it is forty miles closer to me. The men who assisted me loved the truck, commented about how clean it was and how well I had taken care of it. I had all of my maintenance records with me. I honestly had no issues with the truck, but I figured it was worth getting something out of it while it still had value.

I was surprised they didn’t even open the hood. They drove it up Harrison Avenue for about three minutes.

They ended up offering me a little more than the KBB offer, and I walked away with check in hand. I will admit, I cried. I hated walking away from my pickup. And I know, I can always buy another one, and probably will in another year or so. But that pickup was a part of me and my life for the past six years. It represented my freedom from a troubled marriage. I only hope whoever buys it will get as much enjoyment and use out of it as I did.

Similarly, I hated selling my trailer. I had ordered it exactly the way I wanted it from a dealer in Billings. It was a three horse Hart trailer, with an oversized front tack and swing out saddle racks. It didn’t have a living quarters, because we didn’t plan to use it on many overnight trips. But for a night or two, there was plenty of room for two of us to sleep in it. It was easy to pull, and it was just about the right size. But it was sitting unused for most of the two years I had it.

Garris has decided against competing in reined cow horse. He decided not to use Fritz for calf roping. So, my trailer has basically sat in the barn for most of the time I’ve had it. I ordered it with the intention of hauling him to cow horse events and because he said he was going to use Fritz. It really didn’t make any sense to leave it sitting, while it had value in it. So far, it hasn’t gotten dinged up or damaged.

So, I took it back to the dealer and consigned it with him. It sold within two weeks to a woman in California.

My place looks pretty bare without those two vehicles parked outside. And I have had a few moments of panic, like maybe I should have hung onto them. But I think I made the right decisions. I couldn’t see paying insurance on vehicles I really wasn’t using. And right now, we can get by with my mom’s truck and the old red stock trailer. She has a few reined cow horse shows she wants to attend this summer, but none of those are any further away than Bozeman. So, we can make do until I get another truck. Or until we can find a two horse stock combo that would suit our needs right now.

So, I have a little bit of money in the bank, a nice little sporty car to drive, and an easier spring than I anticipated in terms of high school rodeo. It’s hard to think that this is the last season of sitting in the bleachers and cheering on a son. And maybe that’s why I’m so emotional selling my rodeo rigs.

Garris asked me the other day what I was going to do when he was gone. I told him the first thing I was going to do was miss him. And as I think ahead to when he’s done with high school and either goes to college or trade school or work, I know there are many more changes ahead of me. I’m just not sure I’m ready for all of them.


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