…Missouri that is.

Yep… Licking, Missouri.

Did I make you nervous?

That’s where Otey grew up on his family’s ranch.

Are you snickering?

I KNOW… Licking… I couldn’t believe there was actually a town named LICKING. After almost seven years of being with Otey, I still enjoy a good Licking joke every now and then. All jokes aside… Licking, Missouri is located in central southern Missouri (just south of Rolla) and it is a beautiful place.  There isn’t a whole lot to do in town (and I use the term “town” lightly).  The fine people of Licking were recently introduced to fast food with the addition of a Sonic.  The closest WalMart is 30 minutes away… and the closest mall?  An hour and a half.  Yikes.  Despite all of that, there is a FABULOUS salon in town (owned by my sister-in-law, Brandy).  And just a short fifteen minute drive away… down several miles of gravel road… one of the most peaceful places I know, Otey’s family’s ranch.


Otey’s family moved from Texas to Missouri when he was just a little older than Cooper.  Otey’s Dad (Bill) is a cowboy.  ***Sidenote, he’s going to be really embarrassed that I’m blogging about him.***  I don’t mean he wears a cowboy hat and boots and goes to rodeos, or listens to country music, or rides a horse every now and then.  I mean he is a get up before sunrise, saddle your horses, doctor cattle, break colts, provide the world with yummy steaks kind of cowboy.  I’ve been raised around horses my entire life, and been around rodeo for well over a decade, but I really didn’t GET it until the first time I went home with Otey.  We all rode across pastures to gather cattle… they branded and worked the cattle the way REAL cowboys have done it for years (minus the Pizza Hut carryout that Otey’s Mom brought us for lunch).  Otey’s younger brother Ben and his wife also live there in Licking and Ben works on the ranch with Bill.  They run 100’s and 100’s and 100’s and 100’s and (you get the point) head of cattle and raise a whole bunch of colts.  Otey’s Mom would shoot me if I didn’t take this chance to tell you that they have (in her words) “way to many horses” and there are always a bunch of really nice ones ready to sell if you’re in the market for a new steed.

Anywho, we went home to Licking last weekend for Bill’s surprise 60th Birthday party.  Otey’s older brother Cody flew in from Atlanta and everything.  It was quite the event in the little town of Licking.  For those of you who know me well, this next part is going to be hard to believe…  On Saturday morning they were shipping cattle, and so I got up and went out just after sunrise (I KNOW… HOLY. COW.) to shoot some pictures just because I never just shoot to shoot anymore.  Anyway, the ranch is a beautiful place year around, but at sunrise, with a sprinkle of snow, and 12* freeze on the air… it was exceptionally picturesque that morning.  I wish that I wrote eloquently… I wish that I could better describe the “vibe” at Otey’s parents house.  It is going to ba a wonderful place for my kids to grow up visiting.  It’s the kind of place that makes a good kid.  example… Otey McCloy






And for those of you that are thinking that you are so impressed that I was braving the 12* weather to shoot for no reason?  I must admit… all these photos were shot out the window of the truck while I sat in a heated seat.  Hey… I never claimed to be a cowgirl.


OH!  Did you notice the Level Five hair?  Again, please remember that I was up JUST AFTER SUNRISE and since it was JUST AFTER SUNRISE… I  am pretty sure that I hadn’t brushed my hair… okay… or my teeth yet.

Seriously, how cool is it that my kids have one Grandpa who’s a scuba diver, and one Grandpa that is a real life cowboy?  I guess that’s a fair trade since they also have a Mom who doesn’t brush her hair or her teeth.

I leave you with this…

“Cowboy Grandpa” (that’ what Coop calls him) & Super Duper Mini Cooper.


  • Bruce - I grew up hunting/fishing on the next door farm (Hanks Farm) and never had the pleasure of meeting Bill but spent many hours from the Stanley Hanks bluff watching from two miles away as the sun came up over the McCloy farm.

    It’s a magical place, I love that river / area.


  • Heather - Kathy, that is a picture that speaks a million words! Awesome!! Definately one to cherish!

  • Kayla (sister) - that picture (the one everyone else is talking about) belongs in a book.

  • Emily - The photos were great, but the picture of Cooper and Bill is one of my favorites ever!

  • Heather Mears - Cooper will absolutely cherish this photo with his grandpa someday. Every little boy and girl should have memories like this captured by photograph! Priceless!

  • cody - Love the shots — next time I’m out there we will both have to get up that early and take pix 🙂

    I just have to add that on my original birth certificate (which I hope I still have somewhere) dad’s occupation was listed as “Cowboy.”

  • Tanya - I am the privileged one who gets to live in the town about 30 mins (Houston) away that has the WAL-MART. You did a great job describing Licking and this area is a perfect place to raise kids. Don’t worry we even like a good Licking joke whenever we can get one in. Keep up the great work. I know of at least five people in Houston who loves your blog.

  • dad - Kathy, I would like the picture of Bill and Cooper in color…

  • dad - Kathy, I would like the picture of Bill and Cooper in color…

  • Kay McGee - I love the shot of Bill & Cooper!
    I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the McCloy’s for many years and have been to the ranch before for a barrel race! I remember the drive from black top to the arena wasn’t much more than a logging road!Tell Bill the McGee’s said “Happy Birthday!”

  • Jolyn - I love the picture of Cooper and Bill!!

  • sharon turner - The picture of Cooper and his Grandpa looks like something that needs to be blown up big time and hanging on a wall! It is absolutely precious! Keep up the great shots.

  • kari - WOW! What an awesome pic of Bill & Cooper

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