Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie

He’s a politician who decided to first run for office after watching two Bighorn Sheep fight in the wilderness. He owns and trains approximately 50 horses and last year was awarded two world championships. A father of two who rides in his line of work a stallion named, “Moonshine”. This Republican Utah County Commissioner who is “tone deaf”; loves cheeseburgers and hates pickles, and wanted to be a rock star is Nathan Ivie. The guy who had to get used to not wearing his cowboy hat at his commission office.

Clark H. Caras of Candidates.vote recently spent some time with Utah’s horse whispering county commissioner to find out just what it is that makes him tick, and how many times he’s been bucked off Moonshine?

Candidates.vote – So why, exactly, was it two Bighorn Sheep fighting the reason you ran for political office?

Commissioner Ivie – It was exactly December 26, 2015 along the South Fork of the Shoshone River and I was photographing these Big Horn Sheep. Two of the rams began fighting and all at once they hit heads and their horns tangled together.

And while I watched them struggling to untangle themselves from each other — it reminded me of the conflict going on in our nation. I knew then and there I wanted to run for office and hopefully be a voice of reason in all of the head butting.

Candidates.vote – Were the rams ever able to unlock their horns?

Commissioner Ivie – Yes.

Candidates.vote – I’m guessing you have pictures to prove it too. So along with the horses and commission you do the work as a photographer. How long have you been taking pictures?

Commissioner Ivie – My whole life. I really wanted to be a singer. I took voice lessons and all, but I was born tone deaf. I wanted to be a recording artist like my mother, she recorded two records.

Candidates.vote – What drew you to the photography to the point you’ve made it a career as well as training riders and horses?

Commissioner Ivie – The light; and capturing the light. Physically that is the way photography works and what it is; capturing light. I have to say I love the way through the pictures you can bring light to the world.

Candidates.vote — I know you enjoy taking pictures of wildlife, but what would you say is your favorite thing to photograph?

Commissioner Ivie – I have two favorite things to take pictures of; brides and bull elk.

Candidates.vote – Brides and bull elk? Now that’s an interesting combination. Why those two in particular?

Commissioner Ivie – With brides there is so much light to capture. They’re happy and in love. Bull elk are so majestic and powerful. It’s probably just the majesty and the fact they rut at my favorite time of year (October/September). With both there is so much light at those moments to capture. 

Candidates.vote – (Commissioner Ivie’s photography website is– nathaniviephotography.com)

Candidates.vote – From my personal experience in knowing you and being a farmstead neighbor in unincorporated Utah County’s, Benjamin. I know you have several acres filled with beautiful horses and an indoor arena for teaching and training of both horses and riders. I know you had some personal and professional milestones this past year.

Commissioner Ivie – We do have about 50 horses there; and yes, we had two world championships in 2018. There was the World Champion in the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and another World Championship in the American Paint Association.

I love to compete and see the horses and my students win. (Ivie’s horse Touchdown Cali was the winner in the AQHA. The champion horse in the American Paint Association was Moonshine N Juice.)

Candidates.vote – What is it that drew you to make a living involving horses?

Commissioner Ivie – Growing up horses were always my sanctuary. Horses are all unique individuals with personalities and traits; just like people. That’s what I love about the training is I work with each; the people and the horses and I like both.

Candidates.vote – What’s the name of your own personal ride?

Commissioner Ivie – A stallion named Moonshine.

Candidates.vote – Has he ever bucked you off?

Commissioner Ivie – Nope.

Candidates.vote – When you’re not riding horses what books would we find you reading?

Commissioner Ivie – “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”, by Brene Brown. It’s a book detailing how in today’s society to find true belonging and group identity.

Another book I read recently is one that was turned into a film released at Sundance. “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”.

Candidates.vote – You took office in 2017 in Utah County. Are we going to see you in a campaign for commissioner come 2020? (There has been talk about Commissioner Ivie challenging Congressman Ben McAdams, Dem., in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District.)

Commissioner Ivie – You’ll see me in a campaign in 2020 – for something.

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