By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Her childhood and adolescent years were dominated by her father’s dairy farm business, caring for the cows that strolled through the milk house and back into the field. Her love for animals evolved from those experiences, so when she married, it was nothing unusual for Sue Barrett Wagers to adhere to her husband’s hobby of horse riding.
“He taught me how to ride and we joined a riding club,” Wagers said.
As members of the Laurel Trails Riding Club, Wagers became even more familiar with the trails along the county’s rural areas. A flatland area near Sinking Creek on her grandparents’ property became the gathering spot for many of the trail rides that the couple participated in, most of which were during her husband’s role as president of the club.
“Harold was president several times, and we were involved for over 20 years,” Wagers added. “We went all over the place with the horses. We have camped at South Fork Horse Park in Tennessee, at Mammoth Cave, Land Between the Lakes, and Bear Creek.”
She has intermingled her hobby between working full time, taking only a few years off after her job as a telephone operator ended.
“My girls were little then, so I just stayed home and took care of them,” she added.
But even when she went back to work at Baptist Regional Medical Center, she and her husband continued their horseback riding hobby, taking their vacations to various campgrounds and horse shows across the United States.
More recently, however, they have changed their mode of touring.
“We traded in the horse for an iron horse,” she said with a laugh. “Now we have a trike and are members of the Gold Wing Road Riders.”
The “iron horse” has taken them to the Midwest United States, visiting Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota and Jackson Hole and Cody, Wyoming.
“We went to the cowboy camp in Cody and have been to the Cowboy Camp during Cheyenne Frontier Days,” Wagers said. “We’ve been there two times and are going back. They advertise that as ‘The Granddaddy of Them All’ for the frontier days that includes a rodeo.”
The couple has also seen much of the northeastern coast, taking their trike to Bar Harbor Park in Maine.
“It’s beautiful there. There’s a beach, but we went in July and had to buy coats to wear back. We were served fresh lobster at the campground and you could stop and buy fresh blueberry pie on the side of the road,” she said.
They have also been to Washington D.C., Virginia and other eastern coastal states, taking in the beauty of the country along the way.
But when she isn’t touring on her vacation time, Wagers stays busy with her full-time job at the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office as an administrative deputy, and with her daughters and their families as she remembers her roots of growing up in Laurel County.
She hasn’t forgotten her love for animals, especially the horses that reside on the Wagers’ farm.
“Since we have the trike now and go on trips, Harold has said we should get rid of the horses,” she said. “But our littlest granddaughter is riding now and I want her to know about horses. We traded in our horses (riding trips) for the motorcycle, but I still don’t want to get rid of the horses.”