Vicki Christensen O'Shieles
Class of 2019
Vicki grew up on the famous Christensen Bros Rodeo Ranch south of Eugene Oregon. From the time she was born horses would become an important part of her life and she learned at an early age horsemanship as she rode her pony behind her Daddy in the grand entry at rodeos scattered throughout the West.
Growing up "ranch" she rode her pony everywhere, No bikes for this cowgirl. Life on the ranch was every youngsters dream. Days were filled with hard work and a sense of how important family was impressed upon her heart. It would be that sense of heart that would become a foundation for things to come.
A former Umpqua Valley Round/up Queen, Vicki went on to win the title of Miss Rodeo Oregon and at the 1973 Miss Rodeo America Pageant she was named the winner of the coveted Horsemanship Award. 1974 found her in San Mateo CA interviewing for a position of Flight Attendant with Hughes Air West where she was hired and asked to return later that summer. Fate called as she waited at the ranch in being a phone call to her Dad from a committeeman at the Salinas California Rodeo where CB's had been a stock contractor for years that they were short one trick rider for the 4 day rodeo run and did not know of anyone who could be hired. Opportunity knocks but once or so they say & Vicki was not one to stand around and wait, she volunteered telling her Dad she could do it and she did. Borrowing a pick up horse out of the string, she successfully pulled it off and a career was launched. Along with her cousin Sherri Christensen, the cousins traveled the rodeo circuit entertaining audiences at some of the largest PRCA Rodeos throughout the Nation. Performances included: The Ellensburg Rodeo, Lewiston Round-Up, California Rodeo Salinas, Cody Wyoming, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and many others.
After a successful trick riding career, she returned to the ranch, helping build fence, feeding livestock, putting up hay and cooking for crews. There was always room for one more at her table. A lesson she took to heart from her Grandmother Mollie Christensen!!
Her son Brett Tatum was born in 1978 and being "Brett's Mom" would become her number 1 priority. During this time she was represented by a Modeling Agency in Portland and appeared in both print and television work.
Life was about to take an entirely different road for the entire Christensen family as the family ranches & rodeo outfit fell victim to the Farm Bank crisis of the early 80's. On a cold March morning on the courthouse steps a way of life ended as all the holdings were auctioned off. Faith, family & love were those things that no auction could ever take away. It's been said that through "sad endings come new beginnings". When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Relying on her faith in God she stepped forward to a new chapter in life. Skipping ahead, she would once again find her heart as life found her in Northern New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation. It was there among the red rock mesas she would learn the art of designing & crafting trophy buckles. She owned and operated a large business employing up to 30 silversmiths. Her business kept her close to the way of life she loved and her "Rodeo Family".
A second buckle company was founded in 1997 and celebrates 20 years in business has become a premier buckle company, known as Tres Rios Silver. A family business and second generation owned by Brett & his wife Keylie Tatum. Home is Llano Texas . Once again her heart has come full circle as she enjoys sharing the stories behind the stories, honoring our heritage and the western way of life.
Residing in Marble Falls TX with her husband Robert "Bud " O'Shieles she is just a short drive away from Brett, Keylie and her "favorite little cowboy" Grandson Pecos Tatum.
~"It's important to know where we came from, in order to know where we are going"~
~ "Our roots, our journey "~