r By Monica KapitanrrOn Saturday March 4, I joined my friend Bryce on a group horseback trail ride in Spring Lake. His cousin, Layne Batty, rides every Saturday. I was incredibly excited because although I grew up owning and riding horses, I have not had the chance in six years. As Bryce, his son Eli and I turned the corner on the side of Highway 198 off of 12000 South, we broke into a full run. We crossed the highway at Spring Lake where we made a few circles, then proceeded up to the foothills of the mountain. As we reached the first tall ridge, we posed to take pictures overlooking the nearby temple. We continued to travel over the many beautiful trails on the mountain. I must admit that in my many years of riding horses in Texas, I’ve never had such a marvelous time.
As our adventure came to an end and we headed back to the barn, I realized that my precious belt buckle was missing. I was absolutely distraught. Looking over pictures that we made on the ride, I could see that the buckle was missing at the first ridge. After one of the best days of my life, it was now ending as one of the worst. The value of the buckle is not monetary, but the family history value is priceless. It contains memories for myself and my posterity of a mother and grandmother who had a heart of gold.
The silver buckle is 4” to 6” across by 3” to 4” tall with a tarnished gold rope that lines it and a matching bronc buster in the middle. There are two name plate ribbons above and below the emblem. My maiden name, Monica Clark, is scratched into the top plate (It’s just scratched in, not engraved) and the date on the bottom ribbon is January 24, 1984. Needless to say, when I discovered that it was missing, I scanned the ground as we returned to the barn.
When I told Bryce what had happened, he realized that he saw when it fell off. He recalled, “When we were turning onto Highway 198 from 12000 South, I saw something fall from the side of your horse down from your leg. It was shinny and metal-looking, but I never thought about it being a belt buckle. I suspected that the horse had kicked up a tin can while he was running.” He saw it tumble to the ground and come to rest at the edge of the blacktop. We searched several times in that area riding and walking as well as searching on a 4-wheeler later that day and the next. The following Saturday, March 11, we went out again and traced where we had been (even on top of the mountain) just in case it was lost at another location. Our effort was to no avail.
It is my hope that someone may have picked it up as they saw the buckle laying on the side of the road or on the path. This may not be of much monetary value, but it is of tremendous emotional value to me. If anyone has any information, please contact me, Monica Kapitan, at 801-623-9715, or the Payson or county police department. Reward offered.