Flying M Stables Always Honoring Roger Musgrove

tumwater horse stables


By Tom Rohrer

Nick Pearson, the son of Flying M Stables owners Sandie and Shannon Pearson, dresses up as a ninja for the stables second annual Halloween Show this past fall.

Work ethic, like many other traits, can be passed down from one generation to the next.

Sandie Pearson, who owns Flying M Stables south of Tumwater with her husband Shannon, inherited her late father’s work ethic.  Roger Musgrove is a man whose legacy lives on through the stables which he built himself.

“I think one of the things I tell people most is that he built this place on his own,” said Sandie Pearson about her father, who passed away on February 11, 2011. “He had a sawmill and he milled all the wood himself to build every stall and set of railings.  Working here and walking around, it amazes me every day. He couldn’t have afforded to build a place like this by not doing the work himself and he’s the hardest working man I’ll ever know.”

Musgrove opened the doors to horse boarding in 1993, and as time moved on, the facility kept growing, and new stalls and amenities were added.  The facility now includes about 30 stalls and large indoor and outdoor arenas.  Flying M Stables holds events year-round, such as horse shows, gaming shows, cattle events, cutting practices, team penning and ranch/arena sorting.  Both the North Thurston and Tumwater Equestrian teams practice at the facility, as does the Equi-Stars Women’s Drill Team, the American Made Rodeo Women’s Drill Team and the Thurston County Mounted Posse, a male drill team.

Following Musgrove’s death, the Pearson’s had to make a decision whether they would give up their respective careers to continue the stable’s legacy.  It would seem a tough choice, but there was only one option for the husband/wife team.

“When my father passed away, people assumed we closed the doors since they knew we had our own careers,” Sandie Pearson said. “This place was my father’s dream forever, and my dad and I were always very close.  I had helped manage (the stables) since 2000 on the side.  I just couldn’t imagine it falling out of our family.   I don’t have any regrets.”

The Pearson’s have three young children.  Sandie noted that while operating the facility can be challenging, it is a healthy life, and their seven days a week attitude allows them to keep the stables operating at a high level.

Some of the duties the Pearson’s must undertake include, planning events, buying and purchasing cattle for events, repairs, making sure the animals are fed with grass grown by Shannon, and maintaining a solid arena footing for the horses and their riders.   While the duties are challenging, the Pearson’s are reinforced by the community’s support.

“I mean, its constant, there’s always repairs and upkeep and something to do,” Pearson said. “We get an overwhelming amount of compliments. People are very thankful.”

After a rough period of initial business, the word got out to the community that the Pearson’s were constantly working to improve the facility for the community.  Most recently, Shannon built a business office on site overlooking the stables.  This allows Sandy to perform her administrative duties at home.  Shannon, a lineman, has also been able to help the community in times of natural disasters and storms, and traveled to the East Coast to help with Hurricane Sandy Relief.

“We want to help others and still maintain our sense of independence and we’ve been able to do that,” Pearson said.

To help honor Musgrove’s already established legacy, the Pearson’s instituted the Roger Musgrove Memorial Ride in 2011, and this year will mark the third annual event, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Flying M Stables.

The event itself is the sport of ranch sorting, which involves two riders sorting cows in order into an empty pen.  A very fast paced sport that has become extremely popular in the last decade, ranch sorting requires riders to sort ten cows in correct order in ninety seconds or less.  Six different classes will be featured in the event ranging in competiveness from open, amateur, pro-am, novice, below amateur, newbie and finally 17 and under.   The rider who has successfully sorted the most cows will win a Billy Cook Saddle which will be engraved with Musgrove’s name and the year.

It’s only fitting that the event focuses solely on a sport Musgrove helped make popular in the Thurston County area.

tumwater horse stables“My father really enjoyed it and there is a similar sport called team penning that he started with.  He was first one I know of in Thurston County putting on team penning practices and made it very popular in the area.  Once he brought it here, it took off like wild fire,” Pearson said of her father, who was a member of the Thurston County Mounted Posse for over thirty years. “Then ranch sorting came about and he started putting on those practices and it became more popular than penning.”

Pearson said she expects anywhere from 50-100 competitors in the event, and that in past years, riders from Oregon have attended and some from Canada have already committed this year.  The fact that riders travel from afar to take part in the event and honor her father’s legacy does not surprise Pearson.  She is reminded of his memorial services, which drew hundreds of people from across the region despite severe weather conditions, and those who came to pay respects to the lifetime Thurston County resident.

“When he passed away, there was a huge snow storm and still, 400 people were there with more people standing outside.  We had two services, one invite only and another that we publicized because we knew so many people would come.  He was like a celebrity,” Pearson said. “Some came east of the mountains, friends from other men’s posse’s, even though the passes were hard to cross.  He touched so many people’s lives, and really, he always will.”

For more information on Flying M Stables, visit

To register for, or to obtain more information on the Third Annual Roger Musgrove Memorial Ride, which will also feature donated and cash prizes, email Sandie Pearson at, or call 360 943-4470.

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