Dan and Traci Bates


Dan and Traci Bates, Lincoln, KS, are Rural by Choice. (Photo by Bree McReynolds-Baetz)

Dan and Traci both grew up in small towns in Kansas, but after living in Kansas City for a number of years they relocated to Lincoln to get back to the rural lifestyle.

“We both worked full-time jobs, with long commutes that took away from time with our boys,” Traci said. “I wanted to be able to stay home with the boys while they were little. We wanted to raise our family in a community that reflects the same values that are important to us.”

And their own small-town upbringing drove their desire to see their three boys (Levi, 10; Clay, 8; and Dane, 5) raised in the same setting.

“Both of us grew up in smaller communities, and we wanted our kids to experience that lifestyle. We wanted our boys to make lasting friendships with their classmates and families, and have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities. And we wanted a slower pace for our family; to have time for floor parties in front of the fireplace in winter, and s’mores around the firepit in summer. Time for fishing and camping and swimming, space for go-carts and bikes and baseball. We chose Lincoln County specifically because it was centrally located, had the amenities we were looking for, and was just the right size.”

When it comes to Lincoln County, Traci said the people are the best part.

“We love the people!,” Traci declared. “I love that we were made to feel welcome from the very first moment we moved here. A local couple graciously let us rent their house for a month (sight unseen) while we looked for a more permanent place to live, and even met us at Mity Mart to welcome us the night we caravanned into town. A young mom with a boy my son’s age walked up to me at the grocery store the first month we were in town, introduced herself, and invited me to a women’s Bible study.”

Traci calls it sense of community.

“When you know everyone, you tend to be kinder and (hopefully) more willing to work together even when you have a difference of opinion. I love that my oldest can tell me who is driving every car we meet on the road, and what kind of wave they are going to give. I love that my youngest talks to everyone we see, and they all have time to make him feel important. I love that the best part of my middle child’s day is seeing his big brother in the hallway of a school that lets him jump out of line and hug him. I love knowing that, no matter where our children are, our ‘village’ is watching, caring, loving, and even disciplining them as if they were their own. I love that our neighbors will feed our pets and rush to put out fires while we’re gone.”
Traci said they are definitely living Rural by Choice.

“For us, choosing to live in a rural area was a conscious decision. We gave up some conveniences of a large city, but the value added to our family’s life is the reward. The values we want to teach our children, and the memories we want to create as a family are enhanced by where we chose to live. We are where we are supposed to be.”