If you ask Terry Brown and Hilda Machado-Brown to tell you their “story”, you might want to have a cup of coffee in front of you…a big cup. Although they were from different parts of the country, their roots are surprisingly similar. Terry was born and raised on a farm / ranch just outside of Gracemont, Oklahoma. A small town of about 500 residence. Hilda was born and raised on a dairy just outside of Los Banos, CA. A town of about 5000 at the time. They both grew up and developed a great love for the land, the animals and the crops. Both were born to parents who were horse people and learned to ride at an early age. Hilda’s parents, Thomas and Lucille Machado had both immigrated from Portugal in the early 20th Century, while Terry’s parents, Delmer and Fern Brown’s ancestry was Scottish, Irish, English and Dutch. They both had a great passion for the performing arts and started developing those skills early in life. These are just some of the parallels, but, let’s look at their lives separately for a moment before we come back to how they met and their life together.
Hilda Machado’s father, Tom, was known in the community as a hard-working, man of his word. He owned and ran a dairy and was considered one of the best horsemen around. He was also an accomplished Trick Roper. Although he was self-taught and never pursued it as a profession, he was quite good. As a small girl, Hilda would watch in fascination as he would perform tricks with his lariat that he had seen the great Will Rogers do. Being a girl, her father didn’t believe she should be allowed to do things like that, so he never actually taught her any of the tricks. But, being Hilda, she would sneak out to the barn and practice with his ropes, emulating what she had seen him doing when she thought he wasn’t around. What she didn’t know was that he would be watching her from the window. He passed away when she was only thirteen and it wasn’t until many years later that her mother, Lucille, told her that Tom would watch her from the window and once made the statement, “You know what, she’s going to do it?”. Although her mother lived to see some of her successes, she doesn’t think either parent would believe their little girls accomplishments over the years.
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