Who knew? She says if you're horse lover, you can't beat living in this area

Michelle with a couple family members! Photo courtesy of  Galloping Dreams Photography .

Michelle with a couple family members! Photo courtesy of Galloping Dreams Photography.

Did you know west central Minnesota is actually a “huge equine community?” Yes, we’re talking horses! That’s how Michelle Gallmeier describes the area and it’s probably one reason (among many) she stays on her ranch near Dent.

Simply put, it’s home.

You see, Michelle grew up in Wisconsin and she remembers how scary it was to move to Minnesota, where she became a “stay-at-home Mom and a sheep farmer.” Some years later she found herself single again. So she relied on skills she learned growing up on the farm to land a job with the Brunswick boat manufacturing plant in New York Mills.

That first job was eight years ago and since then Michelle has worked in numerous capacities in the plant, including serving on the emergency response team, and she’s been promoted twice. “There’s always opportunity for you to move up the ladder,” she says of Brunswick. “They always give you opportunities to grow.”

Michelle hopes more women follow her footsteps. She joined a “women in manufacturing” group at the New York Mills plant. “We have to let them (women) know that you have opportunity to grow in a male-dominated workplace,” she said.  She admits that some women may feel somewhat intimidated alongside their male coworkers, but she says that’s why the ladies of Brunswick are there offering support.

But life in the area is not all about work. In her spare time, you would likely find Michelle tending to her beloved horses. She points out that the area has multiple indoor and outdoor arenas that host events and rodeos year round and great horseback riding trails in local state parks.

“I was also a 4-H leader in the horse project in East Otter Tail county for many years,” she said. “That’s how my kids got started in horses and how we got to know so many people in this area.” Michelle says they have the largest 4-H horse club in this area. “I had to give up the leadership part of it when I started working at Brunswick.” she added, “but I still compete in 4-H horse shows during the summer. “

Michelle along with her son and daughters. Photo courtesy of  Galloping Dreams Photography .

Michelle along with her son and daughters. Photo courtesy of Galloping Dreams Photography.

What about winter? “As you know this winter has been a tough one,” Michelle said. “So we haven’t done much but we do go to movies a lot and there are three movie theaters in the area.  When it’s not so cold we sometimes pull a sled or tube behind the 4-wheeler or one of the horses. There’s also a ski hill in the area and my son loves to ski.”

Michelle has a lot of love for family. “My oldest daughter Savanna also works at Brunswick in the upholstery department and my younger daughter Emily goes to college in Moorhead, which is only an hour from here,” she said. “My son Jacob is a freshman in high school.

“Even though I was born and raised in Wisconsin and all my family live there, this area has become my home,” she added.

So next time you’re thinking of things to love about west central Minnesota, just remember how much horsing around there is to be discovered!