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Geoff G: Living the Life
“Nothing to it.” That’s exactly what Geoff G said when I asked him what it’s like to be starting a family while running a Ferrier business and selling his iron and wood work to customers. Geoff G is a man of many talents. He’s always doing some kind of a project yet he’s always willing to help a neighbor whenever they need it.
Where were you born?
I was born in Johnson City, New York on a small farm.
What kind of responsibilities did you have as a kid?
Ever since I could walk I was on garbage duty. Every Saturday morning I had to take the garbage out until I graduated from high school. I also had to take care of the horses and cattle and do garden chores. I was the best egg collector of the family, we had about 30 laying hens and I always brought in the most eggs. We had a wood burning fireplace to heat our house and at the age of twelve I could cut an 18” tree in twenty minutes.
How many siblings do you have?
I have two brothers and one sister.
What careers do your siblings have?
My older brother is a mechanical engineer, my sister is an environmental biologist for the USDA and my younger brother is a DEA forensic chemist.
What influenced you to be a country boy?
My grandpa came from a family of twelve and was a farmer in Pennsylvania. My great-grandpa was the man who influenced me to be a blacksmith and stick with the country boy lifestyle.
How has rodeo influenced your life?
I’m really into roping so I did that in most of my spare time growing up. I wanted to get more involved and do team roping, but I never got around to that.
What kind of education did you get?
I got my Associate’s Degree in General Agriculture, my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a minor in Ag Business.
How long have you lived in South Dakota?
I’ve been living in South Dakota for eleven years and one month.
How long have you been working with horses?
I’ve been working with horses as long as I can remember. My first horse I rode was the family pony named “Red.” I was probably four years old when I went out for my first ride.
Why did you become a Ferrier?
I thought it was the right thing to do. I wanted to choose a career that I enjoyed and I could do anywhere in the country. Horses are all over so I knew there would be business wherever I decided to settle down.
What kind of training did you go through to become a Ferrier?
I went through three months of school in Oklahoma. It definitely wasn’t an easy school. I went to class from 7a.m to 5p.m six days of the week. I also had to take the practical and written certification tests.
While I was attending South Dakota State University, I helped shoe horses at the Horse Unit. That was the best training I got because it was hands on. That’s actually where I met your horse!
How many horses do you work with a week?
On average I work with twenty five-thirty horses a week. Right now it’s a little slower because I took some time off because of the baby.
How much longer do you plan on working with horses?
I plan on working with the horses full-time for three more years. After that I’ll go part-time. My back’s starting to bother me so it’s time to get out of the business.
What made you want to become a blacksmith/iron worker?
I enjoy it. I’m a self-taught welder so I’m really proud of that. I started when I was eight and I still enjoy creating my own crafts. I go to shows and look at other people’s creations and adjust them to the way I want them to look.
How does technology affect your daily work?
I just made my own website for my wood and iron work. That definitely took me awhile!
Otherwise I haven’t seen any big changes in technology since I started but if you look back to when my great-grandfather worked with wood and iron crafts there are many changes in technology. Most of the changes were for safety but they were also made for convenience. I bet no one today uses the same tools my great-grandfather used.
Was it hard starting your own business/getting your name out there for customers?
I wouldn’t say it was hard, it was just scary. If you think about it, going out and meeting people isn’t that bad but word travels quickly. People are more likely to pass the word about someone that did a bad job working with their horses than someone who did a really good job.
I also had to be worried about how busy I would be. People aren’t very good about getting their horses hooves worked within the winter months so from December to February work is pretty slow. I get pretty anxious for the phone to ring around the end of February so I get some more business.
Has your job become more or less popular since you started?
Personally I’ve become more popular. The word of mouth advertising has been treating me pretty well.
Where did you meet Chaundra?
I met Chaundra at South Dakota State University while we were in school.
What’s it like starting a family?
Oh there’s nothing to it! Chaundra and I have been married for six years and with our cattle, horses, cats and dog we pretty much already had children. Our pets were our children and still are.
How are you balancing your job and family?
I’ve cut back on how many horses I work with a week. My priorities are with the family, so I’ve been balancing how much time I spend with Chaundra and Kyle with my work schedule. Soon Kyle will be going to daycare so I’ll be able to work with horses during the day but for right now I need to work with the horses at night time when Chaundra is home to be with Kyle.
What kind of activities are you involved with?
I try and do local rodeo competitions during the summer but I’m mostly involved with church activities. Our church has a band and I’m the drummer and also sing. During the summer months I keep myself busy with my garden too.