This column is a little different from what you are used to reading as you open up the Roundup every week. I am of the opinion that some stories just need to be told. I am going to take the opportunity to share this one with you.
If you look up the meaning of the word “fate” in a dictionary you will find the following definition: “that which is inevitably predetermined; destiny.” I know most people either believe in fate or they don’t. Even if you fall in the latter, the following story should make you wonder.
During the 2009 Wyoming State Fair a group of Mary von Forrell’s friends held a fundraiser to support the charity “Wheel Get You There.” Mary formed this charity, prior to her recent passing due to cancer, with the goal of providing cancer patients free transportation to and from their treatments. To further support the charity Mary’s friends decided to raffle off a bronze depicting a cattle judge slapping the back of a steer being shown by a youngster. It was a very well done piece of art and anyone would have been glad to win it, but not just anyone did!
On Saturday during the final drive of the junior market beef show the organizers reached into a large feed bucket filled to the brim with ticket stubs and pulled out a single name. It could have been anyone of what I assume to have been hundreds of people who had bought tickets to support the cause. In total they raised over $11,000. The name on the piece of paper just happened to belong to a gentleman from Meeteetse named Russ Renner. The Renner family seemed to have a wave of emotion come across them after receiving the award. It is understandable that someone would feel emotional, considering the circumstances surrounding the moment and the cause.
Nothing out of the ordinary at all, but now, as the great Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story.” According to Mr. Renner the very first cattle show that his daughter had exhibited cattle at just happened to be judged by Mary von Forell. As Renner went on to tell me the story he explained the lasting effect that Mary had on his daughter as she explained things to her throughout the show. He said they even had pictures of Mary talking to his daughter, giving her advice. You could tell by the seriousness in his voice the impact she had on his daughter was quite substantial considering the briefness of their meeting.
If you knew Mary you would know that this was very typical. She loved showing cattle and loved sharing that passion with the younger generations of showman even more. I don’t know what the odds of the Renner family winning the raffle were, but I am sure it was quite slim. I have a hunch, though, that fate may have staked the deck in their favor, making sure that the award went to someone who would forever treasure it.
Fate? Maybe, but nonetheless a story worth sharing.