Kevin and Jamie Bartel love western decorations and a “country lifestyle.”
The walls of their living room are dotted with horseshoes, bits, and ropes. However, the centerpiece of the Western decor is an almost 7-foot tall rusted horseshoe that stands in the front lawn of their home in 108 N. Cedar Street in Hillsboro.
The large horseshoe was originally made by Hillsboro welder Todd Jost for the Bartels’ wedding in April 2008. The horseshoe stood on the stage of the church, flanked by hay bales, as decoration for their Western wedding.
After the shoe sat in the Bartels’ garage for over a year, Kevin decided to use the horseshoe as a Christmas decoration.
It was adorned with lights and green garland during the 2009 Christmas season. They liked it enough to make it a regular feature of their Hillsboro home.
With their love of all things country-Western, a culture that often idealizes the simple life and tradition, it seems peculiar that this couple was brought together by technology that epitomizes today’s fast-paced culture — they met via text message.
While hanging out with mutual friends, Kevin’s phone went dead. He asked to borrow a friend’s phone and he saw Jamie’s number. He asked if he could text her.
The couple shared an interest in rodeos. Years ago, Kevin was a rodeo rider. Jamie is originally from Pretty Prairie, home of Kansas’ largest night rodeo.
“Basically, I’m a country farm girl,” Jamie explained.
“I just always enjoyed the country atmosphere,” Kevin said.
Kevin is a welder for Tradesmen International in Wichita and Jamie works in the cafeteria at Tabor College.