By Jacob LonganOklahoma State UniversityJuly 16, 2014
Linda Cline’s love of horses and equine-related family legacy have proven instrumental in creating Oklahoma State University’s Charlie Cline Memorial Equine Teaching Center. (Credit: Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)
Oklahoma State University students and Oklahoma horse enthusiasts will soon reap the benefits of a new state-of-the-art equine teaching center, thanks to Linda Cline’s passion for equine students and desire to honor her late husband.
Cline has made a significant contribution toward construction of the multi-million-dollar OSU Charlie Cline Memorial Equine Teaching Center, which will replace the current animal science equine facility on campus. The current building was constructed in the 1980s and no longer lends itself to today’s “best teaching practices” encouraged by equine industry leaders.
The new equine center will include a teaching barn with stalls for foaling mares, an indoor arena, classrooms, feed and tack rooms, a wash rack and treatment area. The center will also provide space for classes, clinics, 4-H programs and other outreach opportunities that serve Oklahoma’s expansive equine industry.
“We will be able to teach in classrooms and then step right outside to work with the horses in our labs,” said Steven Cooper, OSU animal science equine professor.
Mike Woods, interim vice president, dean and director of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, said the state-of-the-art facility will enable DASNR to better meet the growing demand for equine education.
“The Charlie Cline Memorial Equine Teaching Center will have a far-reaching and meaningful impact on the lives of young people who desire to make a difference in the farming and ranching businesses across Oklahoma and the country,” he said.
Horses are popular in Oklahoma, with the state having nearly 270,000 head. As many as 50 percent of animal science freshmen choose horses as their primary interest, and approximately 7,000 Oklahoma youth are involved in equine programs through OSU Cooperative Extension programs, horse shows and judging competitions.
The Clines first became involved with the equine industry in July 1985, when they bought a ranch west of Cushing, Oklahoma, to retire on after the sale of their successful family-owned trucking business, Cherokee Lines. Soon after, Charlie Cline purchased 17 horses, and Char-Lin Ranch was born.
“Those horses were an instant obsession for me,” Linda Cline said. “I really loved it. We hired people who knew things and from there, we moved into breeding.”
Char-Lin is well-known for the buckskin stallion CL Buckley, who earned the title of International Buckskin Horse Association world champion, American Buckskin Registry Association world champion and finalist at the AQHA Amateur World Championship Show. CL Buckley has sired 23 top-10 placings at the AQHA world shows and 141 of Char-Lin’s 212 world and reserve world champions.
Linda Cline said Char-Lin is not a hobby but a working ranch, though she and her husband thoroughly enjoyed what they did.
Neither of the Clines attended OSU, but they have built close ties to the animal science program and have always believed in helping students. Their daughter, Amy, earned her journalism degree from OSU.
“Charles truly was an animal lover,” Linda Cline said. “He also thought education was extremely important and wanted to help youth.”
The OSU equine and livestock judging teams have both used Char-Lin horses for practice, judging clinics and contests.
Cooper said Linda Cline is playing a major role in planning the facility because her experience in the business has showed her what is necessary to make the center a success.
“She has lived it and built an extremely successful business from the ground up,” he said. “That takes time, passion, devotion and a lot of hard work. That’s just how they lived their lives.”
Nor have the Clines ever done anything halfway.
“Whatever they did, they did it right and they did it big,” Cooper said. “It was either all in or all out.”
Clint Rusk, head of the division’s department of animal science, said faculty members are excited that construction will soon begin on the state-of-the-art facilities.
“We’re grateful and humbled by the generosity of Linda Cline and her family,” Rusk said. “Their gift will allow the department to build a center that will benefit students for years to come. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity to help future generations of equine enthusiasts.”
To learn more about financial support programs for OSU, visit www.osugiving.com.
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