Where Two Dynamos Meet

Where Two Dynamos Meet

May 12, 2023

By Keri Whitney

Julie Castaneda has several different business ventures. She and Phil, her husband, have 10 kids, ranging in ages from 17 to 41. Their 40-acre ranch is just south of Topeka, Kansas.  By profession, Julie is a dog trainer, owning two dog day care centers. The first was established in 1999. The Doggie Dude Ranch sits on 5 acres of grass, tree lined trails and 2 ponds just outside the city limits. It's best described as a country spot for city dogs. In 2015, the second location was established, The Pet Ranch and Resort. 

Most recently Julie ventured off in a completely new direction, by purchasing a nightclub that had recently announced it was closing. The club, Wild Horse Saloon, had been a local hotspot in Topeka for 20 years.  

"My daughter told me it (Wild Horse Saloon) was closing," Julie said. "So, I reached out to the club's owner to see if there were any western memorabilia that I could purchase. They told me to 'go look'. The current owner's plan was to close it up and the landlord was going to tear the building down. Well, I made an offer on all the contents in the building and they made me a deal I couldn't refuse. So, I now own a bar!"

Julie will be fixing up the club and adding a true western touch, complete with barnwood and tin. Rodeo friends are loaning their personal cowboy memorabilia, trophy saddles and tack to be put on display. Photos of wild horses from wildlife artist, Jim Brown will be displayed throughout the bar. The club will also bring awareness to America's wild horses by supporting the American Wild Horse Campaign and the Wild Beauty Foundation. 

One thing is for sure, Julie is an entrepreneur.  When asked what advice she'd have to offer someone, she promptly responded.

"Follow the unfolding of life. If something presents itself to you and you feel a connection to it, investigate it. It doesn't have to be in your industry, it doesn't even have to be what you know.  Honestly, it's good for your brain to have to learn something completely off the wall. So, when opportunities present themselves, take a good look. Maybe you don't know what you don't know but follow the unfolding and trust the process. And have fun!"

These are words she lives by. When she was 15, her and her family moved from California to Kansas. They arrived in February. By that summer she had saved up enough money from babysitting jobs that she was able to purchase her very own horse for $350. She participated in saddle club and in 4H events. Adult life took over and Julie got married and was without horses for 10 years, until 1999. By then, barrel racing had changed, 3D and 4D formats had been developed. She got involved in barrel racing, became the director of the National Barrel Horse Association KS09 and produced barrel races between 2002-2005. She never looked back.  

"In 2021 I saw the stallion, Dashin Dynamo ("Dynamo") was consigned in a Solo Select online horse auction. I thought it would be fun to bid on him, so I did. I took a screen shot of the bid, and jokingly showed my husband. Well, I had the winning bid of $7,500 for most of the day. I started wondering if something was wrong with him, so I called my repro vet. She ensured there wasn't anything wrong, his demands were good and she had bred two mares to him just a few months before and encouraged me to buy the stallion. He had been a Ruby and Pink Buckle stallion and he was being sold without his slots, that's why he was so cheap. I didn't care though about that, so, I upped the standing bid. And then I watched. I really couldn't believe what he was selling for. The sale ended and I was the proud owner of Dashin Dynamo. Now what, I thought? I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There was a steep learning curve. And to top it off, Dashin Dynamo had more friends on Facebook that I did!"

Christi Christensen from Highpoint Performance Horses almost immediately called. Julie left him at Highpoint until the breeding season was over, she then hauled him to her home ranch. He hadn't been ridden in a while, and when she got on him, he was quiet and gentle. She also was able to keep his stallion spot in the Ruby Buckle program. Dashin Dynamo is sired by First Down Dash (Si 105) and out of Ronas Cover (Si 94).

As soon as Julie caught word about the Riata Buckle Stallion program, she immediately emailed Riata Buckle and got an application in. Because of the Pink and Ruby Buckles, she knows that stallion focused programs have made themselves important to the industry. 

"There are a lot of incentive programs, and a lot are over incentivized. A stallion owner must choose wisely. The yearly fees for the Riata program are doable for stallion owners and payouts for competitors are great. Competitors are going to go where they can make the most money. I'm trying to get as many owners as I can to enroll. I believe in him and his progeny.  Dashin Dynamo is so mild mannered. His babies are the right size and are very versatile. His offspring are really an all-around horse and are great in the rope pen. And there is a lot of money to be made. Payouts for competitors are great. They will go where they can make the most money. It makes stallion owners take a look at what's happening in the industry."

Dashin Dynamo lives on the ranch and is hauled to Kansas Center for Equine Reproduction to be collected every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  

To learn more about this stallion - Dashin Dynamo | Riata Buckle