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Blair woman travels state on horseback
August 04, 2011 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen Colleen Hamer of Blair stopped in Gering at the Farm And Ranch Museum during her horseback ride around Nebraska.

Since May 23, Colleen Hamer of Blair, Neb., her horse, Smore, and dog, Risky, have been on the trail around the borders of Nebraska.

“My original plan was to touch all the states bordering Nebraska,” Hamer said. “From Blair, I headed north to Vermillion, S.D. where my mother lives.”

With South Dakota out of the way, she headed west across northern Nebraska along the Highway 20 trail, reaching Wyoming just west of Harrison.

After a stop in Gering, she plans stops in Minatare and Bridgeport, eventually reaching the Colorado line around Julesburg. Then, it’s on to North Platte, where she used to live.

“I still have a couple of more months riding ahead of me,” she said. “I hope to be back in Blair by the end of September.”

Hamer describes herself as “horse crazy” from the time she was very young. “I was probably born about 100 years too late and this ride is something I’ve always wanted to do and my life is at the point when I can do it.”

A few years ago, Hamer retired from a career as a horse trainer. She recalled one story of becoming friends with a woman from Iowa, who had a horse she needed broken. Hamer took on the job.

Later on, the woman told Hamer she wasn’t feeling well and had scheduled a doctor’s appointment. The woman died about nine months later from liver cancer, but in her will, she left the horse to Hamer – which she named Smore.

With her stop in Gering, Hamer has traveled about 720 miles on her journey, covering about 10 to 20 miles a day. A typical day starts at sunup and they’re done riding about 10 a.m., before the blistering summer sun become too unbearable.

Hamer came through Mitchell Pass on her way into Gering. “We traveled up along the base of the bluff and really felt the hugeness of it all,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of those powerful experiences along the way.”

Hamer said Smore and Risky are her only companions on the trip, but people along the way have been more than friendly with providing shelter and pasture for Smore.

“The word seems to get out wherever we go,” she said. “People have really been generous and that’s amazing. It’s something I’ll always remember.”

Hamer said she had lots of support help from the Long Riders Guild in preparing for her trip, which she described as a “self-discovery quest.”
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