They’re Sharp Riders on horseback with plenty of hands for getting all the ranch work completed.
Lance and Jada Sharp and their five children are widely recognized for their most diverse 14-Hands Ranch.
“We keep busy that’s for sure,” Mom Jada said. “With our five children from a daughter 18-years-old, three sons, and our youngest daughter, five, there’s always something going on.”
Lance, Jada, Hailey, Cody, Colton, Lane and Kinzie live on a 40-acres farmstead near Leonardville in Riley County.
“With the additional 30-acres rented from Lance’s grandma, we have horses, sheep, goats, and enough work for everybody,” Jada said. “The ranch takes all of our 14 hands to operate it so that’s how we came up with the name.”
Daughter of Perry and Bonnie Owens, Jada grew up at Leoti where she graduated from high school. “We always had horses and I participated in 4-H activities,” she said. “Lance also worked with horses as a youth, and his dad David Sharp was in the racehorse business. We met at Fort Hays State University and horses have evolved into our family now too.”
Both graduated from Fort Hays, Lance in math education, and Jada in speech pathology. “We were married and started our family at Hays before moving back to Lance’s home area,” Jada said.
Lance went to work for Copeland Insurance in 2011. “He was a longtime acquaintance with Jay Copeland,” Jada said. “Coming back to Riley County provided the perfect opportunity to raise our growing family in the country.”
Rural homesteads were rented until they were able to acquire the small ranch where they now reside. “It works out well for us to live in the area where everybody knows the Sharp family,” Jada said. “We are involved in so many community and school activities.”
Carrie Sharp, Lance’s aunt, was a horse enthusiast growing up and is now with the Texas A&M Extension horse program. “Between Carrie and my dad, they got the kids some of their first horses,” Jada credited. “With that encouragement, everybody in the family is excited about horses.”
All five of the children are enthusiastic horseback riders along with their dad. “I go with them sometimes on trail rides,” Jada said. “But I enjoy it more helping them with their horses. I’m their cheerleader you might say.”
Keeping all members of the family mounted is no small task. “We have eight-and-a-half horses I guess you’d say. One is just a pony and he’s going to be given to my nephew,” Jada said.
The family feels fortunate that their horse investment has not been too high. “My dad as well as my brother have always been heavily involved with horses,” Jada said. “So, they’ve all helped make sure our whole family including Lance have good horses to ride.”
Using home raised horses checking cattle, Perry Owens is manager of Lindsey Creek Feeders at Minneapolis. “My parents moved from Leoti to Ottawa County about 18 years ago,” Jada said. “Dad has broodmares, and my brother has a stallion, so they partner on raising colts.”
Members of the Leonardville Hustlers 4-H Club, which Lance was a member of years ago, the Sharp children have various projects. “Horses probably has to ranked as the favorite project though,” Jada said. “Lance is the Riley County 4-H horse project leader and helps all 4-H members with their horses.”
Horsemanship abilities of the Sharp children have improved through showing in county and state fair 4-H horse shows. “Horses aren’t always the most predictable, and the children have had occasional issues,” Jada admitted. “They’ve worked them out to become better all-around horsemen.”
Oldest daughter Hailey has trained a two-year-old to ride and competed in the state fair futurity. “She learned so much,” Jada said. “Now Cody, 16, is also training a young horse and working another horse requiring additional learning patience,”
While Jada’s dad has long participated in Kansas Western Horseman’s Association (KWHA) events, the Sharp family is newcomers to the organization. “Now the children only compete in 4-H horse events on the county level,” Jada said. “Lance and the kids enjoy the KWHA so much for the variety of competition and the comradery of participants.”
While speed events are the children favorites, they ride in every division. “The kids sometimes don’t want to ride in pleasure and reining, but we insist they ride in those classes too,” Jada said. “That only makes them better riders.”
Perry Owens, a KWHA board member, continues to ride in KWHA events as well. “So, the shows are really family affairs,” Jada said.
Participating in a handful of KWHA shows annually, the Sharp family decided to sponsor their own Sharp Riders Show this year. “My dad as well as Ross and Tammy Clouston of Valley Falls have been a big help getting it organized,” Jada said.
The three-day KWHA show at Cico Park in Manhattan was canceled earlier due to wet conditions. It has been rescheduled for July 8-9-10.
With the Sharp children involved in many school and community activities, their oldest daughter and son are successful distance runners. “We don’t know if the other kids will be interested in running, but they’ll have enough going on,” Mom admitted.
The 14-Hands Ranch has about 100 head of Finsheep, Dorper sheep and LaMancha dairy goats. “We make several varieties of handcrafted goats milk soap, lotions, beeswax candles
and other natural products,” Jada said. “We are using modern day technology to take homemade products past the county and state lines selling throughout the country.”
Sikes Department Store, a well-known downtown Leonardville business decades gone by, has been idle for a number of years. “We have now bought that building and the former Nelson’s Landing to renovate them into a public venue,” Jada said. “It’s quite an investment, but with Lance and Cody doing the work, we’re optimistic for future success.”
They hope to have most of the venue completed for Hailey’s upcoming high school graduation party. “We are on target to have most everything done by then,” Jada said. “We then intend to host any type of gatherings from wedding receptions to family get-togethers.”
The venue has capacity for more than 300 people on the main level. “Eventually, we will also renovate the upstairs that will have additional space including six bedrooms to rent out,” Jada said.
Homeschooling their three youngest children, Jada keeps extra busy managing business ventures and running the ranch.
No slowdown in sight for the Sharp Riders at the 14-Hands Ranch “The family will always be involved with horses in some way,” Jada and Lance Sharp predict.