Dante Diego or should we say Pum’kin.
Dante is a 26-year-old Californian who came to the Heartland Horseshoeing School on the advice of quite a few respected farriers that he talked to. Since we kept coming up as the place to go, we ended up being the place he came to.
Growing up in California the youngest of three children in a family with two incredible parents, Pum’kin was pretty much a troublemaker through high school. His sense of humor is pretty sarcastic and dry, which can be funny or not, depending on where you are standing. His favorite thing to do is to brand calves, and Dante has been roping since the age of 12. Primarily a heeler, he is cracking out a little bit on the heading side.
Dante is one of those guys that is not overly motivated by money. The simple life is what he really wants to achieve, so if he has enough money to rope and take care of his basic needs, then he has enough money. His main hope with farriery is that he can make enough money for his simple desires, and end up with some to give back to others. This job will allow for setting his own schedule as well as being self-employed, giving Dante a freedom that few other jobs can.
One of the biggest accomplishments in Dante’s life is the TNT Memorial Roping. It is named for a couple of friends of his that passed away. Tim Sturm died at the age of 39 from the swine flu, and then 54-year-old Ted Bernard died while Dante was holding his hand. This touched Dante and he decided that he was going to create a memorial roping in their honor with the main goal of giving away a lot of prizes as well as donating some money to charity in their names. Both men loved to rope, but neither one had a lot of saddles or buckles to show for it. Teddy –N- Tim (TNT) Memorial Roping was born despite the doubt that many had in Dante’s ability to pull it off. The first year they gave away $900. The second year was $1900 to St. Judes, and last year they raised $6000 for St. Judes, and gave away two saddles and five buckles. All of it done with a $35 entry fee.
Pum’kin is with us in the Heartland for 16-weeks. The first eight have flown by and so far, Dante has done quite well. Doing handmades on feet is coming up soon, so the forge side of the class is about to kick into high gear for our Advanced Farrier Course students like Dante. I am sure he is up to the task and look forward to spending another two months with Pum’kin as he continues to grow in skill as a farrier. I would have to say that so far he has had a great start.