Class of 2018: Soroco graduate to pursue range management in college
OAK CREEK — When Bailee Boles heads to college in California next fall, her heart will remain on her family’s ranch in Burns.
She commutes an hour each way to Soroco High School — an hour and a half on the bus. But Soroco was an easy choice for Boles and her three siblings, who live halfway between Eagle Valley High School and Oak Creek.
Here, she’s graduating in a class of 26 students, in contrast to about 400 at Eagle. Boles likes the smallness of Soroco, the community and more “hands-on” learning.
Boles plays volleyball, runs track and is involved in FFA and 4-H, and in her spare time, she barrel races in her spare time and is a member of the Freedom Riders Drill Team, an Eagle-based horseback riding team known for performing patterns at high speeds while carrying flags.
In 2015 and 2017, Boles reigned as Eagle County Fair and Rodeo Princess.
Boles works at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue in McCoy, in addition to her daily chores on the ranch.
Raising cattle, the Boles family divides its time between two ranches about 10 miles apart. From May to November, they head up to the Flat Tops, where they are without electricity and running water.
They spend the rest of the year on a ranch down below in Burns, an unincorporated community that has seen about one person leave and one new person arrive over her lifetime.
“Everybody knows everyone,” Boles said, “Everybody’s family.”
But she also loves playing volleyball — an activity that got much easier when she got her driver’s license.
Jeannie Logan, Boles’ volleyball coach for the past four years, describes Bailee as “an amazing young lady who is true to herself and her roots.”
Logan said she grew tremendously over her high school career, earning a starting position on varsity her junior year.
“She has a work ethic that is almost unequaled, and she pushed herself to continually get better,” Logan said. “When she is competing and doing what she loves, Boles shines and doesn’t even realize it.”
While she excels in sports, FFA and any class or club related to agriculture, Boles admits academics have not always come easy to her. Until her junior year, Boles said she struggled, but by senior year, her grades were much better.
“It was hard at first but definitely got easier,” Boles said.
Next fall, Boles will attend Feather River College in Quincy, California. She plans to earn a degree in equine and ranch management.
Though Boles knows firsthand how hard the cattle and ranching business can be, there’s nothing else she can imagine herself doing. She’s already got her own herd of 10 cattle and eventually wants to start her own ranch and horse training business.
Of course, she’ll miss her family while she’s away but plans to return to help out for the annual branding and during hunting season — her family also guides.
“I grew up with this life,” she said. “I’d be bored if I didn’t have cows to look after and horses to tend to.”
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