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I’d like to congratulate the team at the Wyoming Livestock Roundup for 25 successful years publishing Wyoming’s leading agricultural newspaper. It seems like just yesterday we were printing the 20th edition of the Roundup. For Del Tinsley and Bill Glanz, I’m sure it seems like just yesterday that they were publishing their first edition from their then headquarters in Worland.

I went to work for the Roundup in 1999. I was fresh out of college, and the publication was making a move from Worland to Casper. I talked to Del Tinsley on the telephone, and the day after college graduation I made my way to Casper for an in-person interview. When I got back to Laramie, Chris and I sold our 1978 Ford pickup so we’d have enough cash to rent a U-Haul and move a little ways north. That was only the beginning of what proved to be a rewarding and enjoyable 10 years.

We moved the Roundup offices three times over the next five years, each move marking a growth in the publication. We shared our first offices in Casper with the Casper Journal. Monday through Thursday we had the job of writing and designing the paper. Come Friday, we were the mail crew, labeling and sorting the publication for delivery. To this day I can recite many Wyoming zip codes from memory. I also know that if you get to the post office after the bulk mail office closes, you can sometimes get your paper on the mail trucks with a little help from the crew on the loading docks. And, if the post office ever cancels Saturday delivery, they’re going to need a switchboard operator to handle the phones on Saturday. There’s a certain group of people out there who expect their Roundup on Saturday, and if it’s not in the box, they’re going to call!

When the Sun family purchased the Roundup in 2004, the publication again grew. I enjoyed the five years I worked for Dennis and the many lessons he shared. Road trips through Sweetwater county with Dennis and the many stories he would share were always enjoyable.

The highlight of my years at the Roundup was the opportunity to explore the state from corner to corner and meet Wyoming ranch families, business people and agricultural leaders. Outside of Cheyenne, in the Iron Mountain community, my grandfather and I visited Merrill Farthing for an interview including tales of early day Wyoming and the family’s pony herd.

Up the South Fork out of Cody I had a chance to visit with the Bales family. High school sweethearts, Art and Shirley, like many ranch folks, were warm, welcoming and had a great story to share. I was impressed by their appreciation for the agricultural life and their community.

In the Nowood Community outside of Ten Sleep, just up the road from the infamous Nowood International Airport, Rob and Phyllis Orchard provided a tour of their beautiful ranch. Keep driving down the gravel road past Rob’s place and you can make your way to the Hendry family’s Clear Creek Cattle Company. My first trip to see Rob and Leslie was in 1999 when they shipped their calves. They’ve welcomed me back several times over the years, and I always enjoy the trip and learn something new.

A week in Evanston provided an opportunity to explore a part of the state I hadn’t before visited. There’s much more to that area than one can see from the interstate, including some wonderful ranch country. Howard Woody shared the story of his younger years and the beginnings of Union Telephone. Richard and Carol Hamilton were wonderful hosts and teachers who frequently welcome guests to their ranch and shared the story of quality stewardship.

That’s only a few of the great interviews over the years. In every corner of this state there are hard working ranch families with a great story to share. Most start the conversation by telling you they haven’t really done much, but soon share a very unique and interesting story. It’s these ranch families who’ve made the Roundup what it is over the years and keep the stories within the paper interesting and informative.

Hats off to the Roundup for helping share Wyoming agriculture’s news and stories for 25 years. May your next 25 years be equally successful!

Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 307-351-0730.

We’re counting down the days to the 2013 Wyoming FFA Convention. I look forward to the event as much today as I did during my own days as an FFA member. Convention is slated for April 8-11 in Cheyenne. Throughout the week we’ll have the chance to see some really outstanding young leaders in action. I always leave Cheyenne feeling reassured there are up and coming leaders capable of addressing the challenges our nation faces.

Over the course of four days, FFA members in Cheyenne will attend their annual convention, but also compete in Career Development Events (CDE). These events reflect future career options in the fields of agriculture, natural resource management and more. CDEs provide students an opportunity to explore career fields while developing marketable skills while they’re still in high school. Thanks to numerous dedicated FFA Advisors, an ambitious state staff and many volunteers, Wyoming FFA will select those teams and individual who will represent Wyoming at the National FFA Convention in the fall.

On April 9 we’ll be hosting around 30 businesses, colleges and others from across the state in our first annual Career Fair. This event should provide FFA members with a great opportunity to explore future paths and visit with college recruiters. Simultaneously they’ll have the chance to attend a leadership conference featuring everything from personal growth and goal setting to animal care. It’s sure to be a fun-filled, educational event.

FFA traditions remain strong going into this year’s convention, but the Wyoming State FFA Officer Team and State Advisor Stacy Broda and her team made some exciting new changes, too. I’d like to applaud Mrs. Broda for the outstanding job she’s done as Wyoming’s State FFA Advisor over the past few months. I’d also like to give a shout out to our 2012-2013 Wyoming State FFA Officer Team for their service over the past year. I’m anxious to see them on stage in Cheyenne early April. It’s always amazing to see the change in our state officers between being elected and delivering their retiring addresses.

Bryce McKenzie, President

Jessica Pingetzer, Vice President

Colby Hales, Second Vice President

Payton Blackwell, Secretary

Nick Edelman, Treasurer

Ashley Spatz, Reporter

Taylor Smock, Sentinel

Lisa Andreen, Parliamentarian

As many of you already know, Wyoming lost an outstanding young leader when Third Vice President Teddy Weekly passed away in February. Teddy will be with Wyoming FFA in spirit as we gather in Cheyenne. State convention staff will be wearing lanyards featuring Teddy’s personal motto — “Refuse to Lose.”

The Wyoming FFA Convention is the largest youth gathering held in the state of Wyoming. What’s more exciting is that it’s growing. We’ll know for sure in a few weeks, but I think it’s safe to say that there will be over 1,000 people in attendance at many of the early April convention sessions. It’s news that’s good for our young people and good for the future of agriculture. Each one of those young leaders is gaining a greater understanding of agriculture’s importance, quality leadership, civic engagement and personal responsibility. 

There’s a lot to celebrate at the 2013 Wyoming FFA Convention! Stay tuned for more updates and please consider following the Wyoming FFA Foundation on Facebook or subscribing to our electronic newsletter at WyoFFAFoundation.com. We’ll be providing updates from this year’s convention.

Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 307-351-0730.

Those of us in the ranching business tend to appreciate a good steakhouse. After all, they help us market what we grow. I’m no exception, and Texas Roadhouse is among my favorites. It’s about more than the steaks – it’s the steaks AND their corporate culture.

Each year the Wyoming FFA Foundation and Cheyenne FFA chapters celebrate National FFA Week. Among the many activities is a fundraiser luncheon at the Cheyenne Texas Roadhouse, located just across from the shopping mall along Del Range. 

While the restaurant isn’t typically open for lunch on Thursdays, they open their doors for Wyoming FFA. We publicize the event, invite people to the restaurant and deliver meals around town with the help of many FFA supporters. Wyoming State FFA Advisor Stacy Broda has been kind enough to step forward in recent years and organize the deliveries around Cheyenne.

Cheyenne members of the Wyoming FFA Foundation – Court Schilt, Donn Randall, Scott Vetter and Brittany Wilson – along with several FFA members all worked to spread the word about the event and help sell tickets. They’re joined by countless other volunteers who come spend their time delivering meals and doing what they can to help with the event.

Texas Roadhouse’s employees volunteer their time to help prepare the meals and ensure the event goes off without a hitch. FFA members work in the kitchen, as waiters and waitresses and in other capacities around the restaurant. Callie Hurst and the rest of the Texas Roadhouse team show them the ropes and make the entire event fun. I heard more than one FFA member inquiring about after school and summer work at this year’s event.

“I love my job,” Callie frequently says. That’s a wonderful thing to hear and her passion for her work shows. Last year she helped non-profits like FFA, and other worthy causes in the Cheyenne area, raise a significant amount of money in recent years. It’s money that made a lasting and real impact in the Cheyenne area, and in FFA’s case, beyond. The generosity displayed at the Cheyenne Texas Roadhouse is to be commended! If you dine there, please pass along a thank you on FFA’s behalf.

Deserving equal recognition are the outstanding FFA members who make the event possible. When I arrived at Texas Roadhouse for the event last Thursday there were a handful of boys wearing official FFA dress and shoveling the Texas Roadhouse sidewalks. They wanted to help ensure everything was in order for a successful event. They were equally impressive throughout the event, and I heard numerous comments about what polite young people they are. And you know me — I never miss a chance to brag on Wyoming FFA members!

It’s easy to like a steakhouse. It’s really easy to like a steakhouse like Texas Roadhouse, a company that goes above and beyond to make a positive impact in the communities where they do business. Kudos to them!

Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 307-351-0730.

What was your first car? It’s a fun question to ask people and a question that’s been floating around here quite frequently. As Bryce nears the driving age, he’s giving much thought to a “new” set of wheels.

“How about this pickup?” he’ll ask me, pointing to the latest car catalog he’s plucked from the newsstand.

“Ever heard of a Vega?” I reply. “They came in the nicest orange, complete with a hatch back. Ours had a Mr. Magoo bumper sticker on the dash. I wonder if that car is still in the country?”

“Hey, Mom, check out this Mustang,” he says pointing to another page in what is starting to feel like an endless lineup of cars.

“How do you feel about the Chrysler Cordoba?” I reply. “They were last made when Ronald Reagan was president.”

“Corvette?” queries Bryce.

“No way, but what do you think of the old style Chevy Impalas? Your Dad had one in high school. He says you could fit 12 kids in it, but only pay for six at the drive in movie. The first six fit in the trunk.”

“What was your first car?” he says hoping for a snazzy pickup or a sporty car.

“It was a 1972 three-quarter ton Ford with a wooden flatbed and a snowplow mounted on the front,” I say. “Originally bright red, it had faded to somewhere between red and orange. A shovel handle shoved in the tank served in place of the broken gas gauge. As a teenager I typically chose to drive it until it ran out of gas and then call Grandpa’s ‘five gallons of gas in a can delivery service.’ I don’t recall a single occasion on which he found it amusing.”

“From there,” I tell Bryce, “I graduated up to a 1984 half ton GMC that was a two-wheel drive. Your Aunt Erin and I wrecked it into the neighbor’s hayfield about seven years before she was of legal age to drive. Bent frame and all, Papa and Gram saved that pickup, and it became your aunt’s first vehicle. It was safe to drive, barely cleared 45 miles per hour and only started on warm days. We might want to check with them. Knowing them they might have tucked that pickup away somewhere for you. They’re thoughtful that way.”

Funny thing, I haven’t had to look at a car catalog in weeks. I’m holding out for something special. I think that old 1972 Ford might still be in the country. And, Bryce could probably still get five gallons of gas from his grandpa’s “five gallons of gas in a can” delivery service.

Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 307-351-0730.

The 2013 Wyoming FFA Convention is slated for April 8-11in Cheyenne. FFA members across Wyoming are practicing the FFA Creed, putting the polishing touches on their speeches, preparing their presentations and practicing with their Career Development Event teams. 

Kudos go out to the 2013 Wyoming FFA Officer Team and Wyoming State FFA Advisor Stacy Broda and her team. Some changes are being made in the convention schedule and events that should improve the experience for Wyoming FFA’s 2,000-plus members from one of our state’s 51 chapters.

While in Cheyenne for the Convention, FFA members will compete in a variety of events collectively called “Career Development Events.” They’re so-named because of their proven ability to help FFA members explore career fields and develop marketable job skills while they’re still in high school. The competitions provide FFA members a chance to “get their toes wet,” if you will. The skills they learn give them a glimpse at work in a given career field or area. Some examples include the Agricultural Issues Forum, Environment and Natural Resources and Livestock Evaluation.

We’re also excited to see this year’s proficiency applicants. These applications feature FFA member projects or in FFA lingo, their Supervised Agricultural Experience project. For some it’s the work surrounding their time in the show ring, their commercial cattle herd or employment at an area business. Regardless of the exact project, what we know for sure is that there are some really ambitious FFA members across Wyoming who will submit stellar applications.

Once the work is done, FFA members will head to the Cheyenne Civic Center for the convention sessions and to carry out their Association’s business. Thanks to Farm Credit Services of America, FFA members and guests will hear from motivational speaker Mark Black. Mark is known as the “Adversity Advisor – Speaker, Author and Success Coach.” The heart and double-lunch transplant, who is a four-time marathon winner, is sure to give all of us in attendance some things to think about.

On the Foundation end of Wyoming FFA, we’re working to help pay the bills at the 2013 Wyoming FFA Convention. We provide a portion of the dollars to help fund the awards, aid winning teams in their travels to National FFA Convention this fall and more. If you’re a past member of FFA who would like to help or simply believe in the program and the direction it provides Wyoming youth, we’d appreciate your help. Opportunity exists to sponsor both Career Development Event teams as well as Wyoming’s proficiency winners. Beyond that, we’re expecting over six dozen scholarship applications from highly qualified and motivated FFA members who are either already enrolled in college or heading that direction Fall 2013. Sponsorships range from a few dollars to higher amounts.

The Foundation is also organizing the 2013 Career and Trade Show in hopes of bringing learning opportunities to the FFA members in attendance. If you’re interested in one of our limited (just 30) booth spaces, please drop me a line.

Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 307-351-0730.