See Buckaroo Bling live at West Valley School Holiday Craft Show & Festival, and shop till you drop! Saturday, November 23rd, 10am-4pm

Buckaroo Bling Ranch Hands

Jelena - Chief Wire Wrangler & Boss Lady

If you were to write Jelena's biography, the title could be something like, "when life bucks you off, get right back in the saddle." There are surely people out there who've had a more interesting life and a more compelling story to tell than hers, but few have had a life that changed directions and locations more abruptly than she had.

Jelena (pronounced similar to Helena) grew up in South-Eastern Europe during the time when communists called themselves socialists and claimed that God was just a figment of human imagination, and when being an artist meant you were the laughing stock of society. Unlike in westerns she saw on TV, good guys never won in her native country. The values of hard work and honesty her parents instilled in her were nowhere to be found in the world around her.

Teaching herself how to read and write at the age of five, Jelena tried to blend in with her surroundings, but the pull toward artistic expression could never be quenched. Knitting, drawing, singing, bead stringing... and all of that before starting first grade. Six years of music school to perfect her accordion playing skills, language competitions, painting, learning to sculpt, and still, when the time came to go to college, powers to be put their foot down and gave a firm "no" to enrolling in art school. Ah, but God, whom she wanted to know from an early age but was forbidden to mention in the communist society, had different plans for Jelena. Not long after graduating college with double majors in English and Russian, Jelena got a plum job at the U.S. Embassy in her native country, and things seemed to be on the up and up. But then, civil war broke out, local communist authorities started harassing her and threatening the lives of her aging and ailing parents, and in a move orchestrated by none other than The Almighty, Jelena managed to catch the last flight (literally) out of her native country before all travel was suspended for several years to come.

Immediately after her escape, Jelena landed in Southern California, where she spent several years living both in big cities and the vast expanses of the High Desert. She financed her own way through art school and earned a degree in Textile Design, produced fine art that hung in juried shows in California and Texas, sold hand painted silk wearables at shows in her area, and worked a cushy job at a major research facility. But God had different plans for Jelena, so He abruptly moved her to Alaska. The peacefulness and natural beauty of a SouthEast Alaska island were just what she needed. There, Jelena not only got to know Him who alone gives life and knows our frame, but she picked up some new artistic skills by apprenticing with a local jeweler for two years. And just as life was getting cushy again, a new move came. This time, to Kansas.

 In addition to gaining a husband, Jelena also gained recognition for her jewelry making while residing in Kansas. Numerous art and craft shows, sales at a local boutique, an Etsy shop, and a couple of Best In Show awards later, change was on the horizon once again. Due to corporate downsizing at her husband's employer, Jelena and her little family had to move again, this time to South Dakota. Talk about feeling like a tumbleweed rolling down the road, never being able to grow deep roots anywhere you're planted! In South Dakota, she again built her life from the ground up: shelf space for her jewelry in local galleries, her own website, features in Cowboys & Indians Magazine... living in the city but drawn to the country life with its hidden romance and solid values that followed the cowboy culture from the Old West into modernity. Little did she know she'd get a chance at such a life before she'd even fully settled in her South Dakota surroundings.

In the spring of 2018, Jelena and her family were on the move again, this time to the NorthWestern corner of Montana. This was a move orchestrated by The Great Planner for sure. A job for her husband in Kalispell, a country apartment to live in amidst the woods above Smith Valley, and a group of God's people to befriend before getting to know anyone else; a horse friend in the pasture next to the apartment, deer and wild turkeys coming to visit on a daily basis... what more could a person want? There was just one more thing: her own jewelry making business. So, Jelena started Buckaroo Bling in the fall of 2018, and this story still has to be written. Would you indulge Jelena's passion for jewelry making and her love of country life and cowboy culture by helping Buckaroo Bling grow? If you value turquoise above diamonds, quietness of country over the city hustle and bustle, faith, honesty, and simplicity over the trappings of contemporary culture, come join Jelena and Buckaroo Bling on this journey. We'd love to have you in our family.

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David - Computer Whisperer

Say, "howdy" to Mr. Buckaroo Bling! David prefers to stay behind the scenes, but without his way with all things computer and iPhone, Buckaroo Bling wouldn't be able to function as well as it does now.

David grew up in Kansas doing all things Kansas boys do: catching crawdads, jumping into creeks, playing with snapping turtles, hunting bullfrogs and rabbits. It's not been recorded how many wild critters that he brought into the house his saint of a mother had to put up with when he was a kid, but once he grew up, his wild ways turned into geeky ways, and he's been a computer whisperer ever since. Buckaroo Bling wouldn't be what it is now without him. So, if you see him hanging around a Buckaroo Bling show booth, make sure to stop by and let him know you appreciate what he does.

 

 

Dottie - Studio Security Manager

Don't you even think about breaking into Buckaroo Bling studio when Dottie's on duty! If you're so foolhardy to attempt a break-in, be prepared to get mauled and licked half to death.

Miss Dottie, or Firefly's Dot as her legal name happens to be, hails from Colorado. She grew up on a farm, hunting quail and swimming in horse tanks. Her life was supposed to be one of setting birds, but because someone decided her hunting skills were not up to standard (puh-leeze!), she became a member of Buckaroo Bling family and was assigned the important duty of maintaining high studio security standards at all times. You can often see her making sure those visiting deer and wild turkeys don't pull off anything funky, or ensuring pesky butterflies, grasshoppers, and other critters don't enter the studio uninvited. Unfortunately, you won't be able to see Dottie in a Buckaroo Bling show booth, because after all, someone has to keep the studio safe and secure at all times.