Cowbelles/Cattle Women host annual convention
March 8, 2011
The Green River Valley Cowbelles/Cattle Women's hosted their annual convention on Saturday, March 5, 2011 in Big Piney.
The Green River Valley Cowbelles/Cattlewomen is a non-profit organization made up of a group of dedicated women whose objective is to develop educational awareness of BEEF and to promote a better understanding of the various roles the beef industry plays in the environment and the economy.
Tara Miller was selected as the 2011 Ranchwoman of the Year.
Hazel James and Mary Fear were honored as the 2011 Lifetime Members.
Bonnie Cannon was given an Honorary Member for her 12 years of service.
The Cowbelles quilt was won by Sherri Bohleen.
The Sundowner Band from Farson received the Friend of Ag award.
New members are always welcome. For more information, visit their website at www.greenrivervalleycowbelles.com.
The Cowbells have received their new napkins with new brands on them and they are for sale.
Nomination for the 2011 GRVC Ranchwoman of the Year – Tara Miller
For over 35 years, this ranch woman has worked side-by-side with her husband on their Centennial Ranch, here in Sublette County. Born and raised in the Green River Valley, she is a devoted wife, a loving mother, a doting grandmother, a fair employer, a treasured friend and a savvy business woman. Perfectly suited as a ranch wife, she performs all the duties demanded of a ranch wife and more. Those that know her well, know of her affection for animals and learning, and her deep love for her family and the ranch that she calls home.
Her love for animals became apparent early in her life. As a little toddler, her folks would often find her in the chicken coop eating mash with the chickens. She loved baby lambs, and would cry at the end of each episode of Lassie, because she was, "Just so happy". As a girl, she loved long horseback rides with her friends, and would ride her horse to the arena in Pinedale to practice barrel racing, which she enjoys even today.
In the early years of their marriage, she spent her summers and early falls with her husband at a remote cow camp that had no electricity or indoor plumbing. There, they would take care of cattle on summer pasture and fix fence. She spent evenings reading, for pleasure, but more so, because she loves to learn through books. She has self-taught herself about everything from cattle feed to all things horses. Topics including veterinary medicine, horse bloodlines and calving methods are familiar to her; because she reads anything she can get her hands on to make the ranch better.
She can be found on long cold cattle drives in the fall, dressed in so many layers, one would think she was just one of the cowboys. She spends countless hours, during the winter months, helping her husband train the young horses they’ve raised to be exceptionally great cow horses. In the spring, she is swamped with calving and foaling. She takes expert care of her mares and foals, and has learned to use methods such as embryo transplant, recipient mares and artificial insemination, which she incorporates in her equine breeding program. In the summertime, she enjoys gardening, giving the ranch a good straightening up and being horseback, just as much as she can. All year long, she helps wherever she is needed and is an experienced and capable hand. When she isn’t working out on the ranch, she is doing bookkeeping for the ranch or promoting it through the ranch website she maintains. These days, her favorite pastime is playing with her grandsons, whom she adores. She makes them healthy cookies, lets them run amuck in her beautiful home and takes them out for big adventures on the ranch. She intends to teach her grandsons all she knows about ranching, just as she did with her boys when they were young.
She is a conservationist, a lover of the land. She has worked with the Green River Valley Land Trust in an effort to preserve large portions of land and keep it from development, thus saving wildlife habitat and much of their beautiful, historic ranch. She has a great appreciation for history, especially the history of the ranch she has made her home for over 35 years. She loves her family most of all, but the cows and horses, and the ranch, surely run a close second. A long time member, and former officer, in the Green River Valley Cowbells/Cattlewomen, she encourages others to join the Cowbelles, as she appreciates the importance of the Cattlewomen to the Beef Industry. She is one of the most hard-working and dedicated women one could meet, and so it’s an honor to nominate Tara Miller as the Green River Valley Cowbelle’s, 2011 Ranchwoman of the Year.
2011 Green River Valley Cowbelle/ Cattle Woman Lifetime Member - Hazel James Ranching Days
By Hazel James
I was raised around cattle, horse, sheep and dogs. I was not personally involved with any of them until I married and moved onto the ranch. There we raised our four children. We all worked together as a family. Our fun was our work. When moving cows and calves to pastures and onto forest permits, we had a picnic most every day. Our city relatives and friends would come to visit and say, "Let’s go on a picnic." We would turn green.
Haying was another family affair. I was the cook and took hot meals out the field, ran errands and sometimes milked the old milk cow.
I was introduced to the cowbelles by my wonderful mother-in-law. I served in this organization as president, secretary, was on the quilt committee and anything else that came along.
I think my saddest day in the cattle business was when we sold our cattle herd and started pasturing calves. I watched out my kitchen window as the cows were wanting to turn into the ranch road, but had to pass it by. When they reached the bridge, they would turn back and try to go to the ranch road. I shed a few tears that day.
On that day, I was told then when calves brought 45 cents, they would build me a new home. Low and behold, that fall, calves brought 45 cents and I got a new home.
I am so glad we raised our children on the ranch. There is no better place than that.
2011 Lifetime Member – Mary L. Fear
Compiled by Mandy Norris
On a beautiful fall September day at the Carroll Noble Ranch in Cora, Wyoming, Swede and Ann Gurney were blessed to have a bouncing baby girl born. They named her Mary Lou. Her sister Ellen was also very proud to have a new sister to play with. Mrs. Clementsen assisted with the birth as Swede had to drive to Big Piney to get the Doctor and did not make it back in time as it was a very long drive in those days.
Mary was raised with no electricity until 1947 and no running water until after she was married for a couple of years. They had to carry their water in buckets from a nearby pump.
Her family did have a radio but they could only listen to the evening news as to not run the batteries down unnecessarily.
Mary’s early child hood days included an education at the one room country school in Cora.
The Gurney’s moved into Pinedale in 1945 and went to work for John Bloom at the Bloom Ranch which is now known as Redstone. Mary finished her education in the Pinedale school system. After graduation, she started to work for Dr. Howard Smith at the Dental Center working as a dental assistant and keeping the books.
At a St. Patrick’s Day dance in March of 1955, Mary met the love of her life Kenneth Fear, Jr. on Valentine’s Day in 1957 their two hearts became one. Married life started out on the Fear Family home ranch in Big Piney where they lived for 7 ˝ years. 1961 and 1963 brought new additions to the Fear family when their daughter Mandy and son Jay joined them. In 1964 Ken and Mary moved to the Cottonwood Ranch where they resided for 41 years.
Book work continued to be no stranger for Mary as she kept the books for Fear Ranches. Anytime there was an extra hand needed on the ranch she was there to help, whether
it be driving a tractor in the hay field or helping in the calving barn at night her only one request was that she not have to ride a horse very often. As a child her horse Ginger spooked when she was riding around their home, running back to the barn taking a sharp corner and Mary exited head first flattening the curlers she had in her hair.
The aroma of Mary’s kitchen was always a drawing point as 3 large meals a day were prepared. If a visitor was around come meal time, no one ever walked away before eating a great meal.
Mary always found time to make sure that her kids participated in school sports and 4-H. Volunteering her time as a secretary for the 4-H and fair horse shows was nothing to Mary, as she and Beth Bray always made sure the shows were covered.
Being an active member in the Green River Valley Cowbelles, Mary served as President in 1974-75 and was honored with Ranch Women of the year in 1987 an honor she has been very proud of, along with her and Ken receiving the Lifetime Membership to the Green River Valley Cattlemen in 2009.
In August of 2005, Ken and Mary retired from the Cottonwood ranch moving to Marbleton where Mary spent her first year battling a courageous battle with breast cancer. Since her successful fight against breast cancer, Mary is the first to offer support to any lady needing an ear to listen to help them through their battle. In the winter months you can find Ken and Mary traveling in the warmer climates. Although Mary does not like to be away from her family for more than a couple months, she returns home to be near her kids Mandy (Harvey) Norris, Jay (Ann) Fear and granddaughters Lisanne and Abigail Fear.
Honorary Member of Green River Valley Cowbelles/Cattle Women – Bonnie Cannon
Bonnie Cannon is a 3rd generation Wyomingite whose Scottish/English ancestors settled in the tiny ranching community of Burntfork around 1890, barely escaping being a Utah resident by a scant 2 miles. Bonnie grew up in Green River and graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1979. Although a degree in history does not always translate into gainful employment, Bonnie was fortunate enough to receive an internship with Senator Malcolm Wallop in Washington, D.C. What was supposed to be a 3 month stint turned into a job lasting 16 years. Upon the Senator’s retirement, she returned to Wyoming and after several years in the private sector, landed a position with Congresswoman Barbara Cubin in 2000 as her field representative in Rock Springs for six southwest Wyoming counties. Her greatest satisfaction in her job comes from being involved in positions and issues that impact southwest Wyoming. With the Congresswoman’s retirement at the end of 2008, Bonnie became Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis’s field representative in Rock Springs. Bonnie has been president of Sweetwater County Republican Women and a member of the Rock Springs Rotary Club. She became the club’s Treasurer in July 2008. Politics, movies and gardening are among Bonnie’s interests. Her greatest passions are travel and art, and having seen only 20 percent of the "1001 Paintings You Must See before You Die", her long-term aspiration is to check off as many of those from her "art bucket list" as possible. Bonnie Cannon has been coming to the Green River Valley Cowbelles/Cattle Women’s annual convention and giving political updates for the last 12 years, so it is with great pleasure and honor that we give her this honorary membership.
Thank you to Jonita Sommers for her contribution to this article.