Producer: Ed Jahn  Camera/Editor: Todd Sonflieth


At 98 years old, Frankie Dugal carries on a ranch tradition of horse-hair “mecate” ropemaking, a skill she’s passing on to the next generation in the southeast Oregon town of Jordan Valley.

Dugal has lived her whole life without modern conveniences — like electricity — but what she does have is her horses. Along with running her 3,200 acre ranch, Dugal uses hair from her own horses to make “mecate” steering reins.

And did we mention she is 98?

Hand-made mecate rope by Frankie Dugal

Hand-made mecate rope by Frankie Dugal

Todd Sonflieth/OPB