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Giving Back, Tharp’s Veterinary Clinic strives to serve clients

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Worland – Steven Tharp doesn’t know a stranger, and a frown is something that will not be seen while in his presence. He is a very charismatic, energetic and captivating individual. Anyone who has meets Steven is not quick to forget him.

Steven grew up in the Bighorn Basin not far from the Washakie County border on a farm that was isolated to the world halfway between Manderson and Hyattville. 

Establishing roots

His family settled in this area in 1886 by four brothers from Karlsruhe, Germany. It is in this area that also includes Worland, as the place where Steven deems where his taproot has been placed. 

“I am deeply invested in the community, in the county and in the area. A good deal of that has to do with the relationships that have developed with the community and its people,” says Steven. “I cannot shed myself of the comfort I feel where my taproot is.”

Tharp went to the University of Wyoming and started out as a mathematics major but decided after his sophomore year that veterinary medicine was more his calling. 

After he graduated from Colorado State University he returned back to his roots to practice. 

Passion for vet science

“I have a passion for the challenges, for the animals and for the people,” says Steven. “Just when I think I have seen it all, I learn that I have not. To meet those challenges and be successful not in all of them, but hopefully the majority of them, seeing people’s concerns assuaged and moving forward gives me great satisfaction.”

In 2009, Steven was awarded the UW College of Agriculture Outstanding Alumni Award. This award is given to individuals that have shown exemplary work in their community.    

Vet clinic operations

Describing a typical day at the Tharp’s Veterinary Clinic would be classified as a fire drill and organized chaos.

“On the surface it is controlled and metered,” Steven says. “It is calculated and a very fluid motion.”

“The beauty of multitasking and having full concentration on the task at hand and knowing that. in the back of my mind, I’m already rolling into the next event and the one to follow,” says Steven.

Teamwork environment

Echo Study has been one of Steven’s treasured employees for 27 years. 

“The simplest way I can think of it is if somebody has stayed for 27 years, it says a lot about him and his personality and what a joyous place this is to work. It can be a very intense work environment, but we make the best of it and still make it a good day,” states Echo. “Doing a job I love and having somebody that nurtures and loves is very rewarding.”

“It can be a very intense work environment, but we make the best of it and still make it a good day,” she adds.

More than a vet

At a very young age, Steven was enthralled with words and life’s experiences. He attributes his broad vocabulary and yearning to write from his parents who were, as he puts it, “unbelievable wordsmiths.” 

“Writing is embedded in my DNA, and I use the metaphor of a Border collie dog always having the need to herd something. It’s in their blood,” says Steven. “I have carried that from the time I was a third grader when I started writing poetry.”

Steven periodically sees his writing appear in the WREN magazine and frequently arrives at work to tell his employees his latest story he has jotted down. 

When he does not have a story in tow when he arrives at work, he’ll have a word of the day or a profound quote for his employees to ponder over. 

“We do a lot of laughing at our job. With Steve’s personality he keeps everyone’s morale up, and we just have a wonderful day working. There’s no time to have a bad day,” says Chris Farley, one of Steven’s employees. “He also makes the customers feel like that as well. He is very welcoming and breaks the ice when things are a little hairy.” 

Other activities

When Steven is not rushing out to a dystocia, feeding his milk cow Magnolia, scribbling down a metaphorical quote or reading a good theological or philosophical book, he also grows raspberries and is an avid fisherman. 

“I love nurturing my milk cows and grafting calves on them,” Steven says. “And when I get a moment to return to the foot of the mountain, where the river runs through it, I go. I will have my fishing rod, my fly rod or my can of worms, dangling them into a beautiful hole under an old boxelder tree waiting for that fish to come to me,” describes Steven.

Giving back

Steven is also involved in a number of other arenas in the community, including attending NRA banquets, Lincoln Days dinner, Ducks Unlimited, visiting elementary schools to talk about veterinary medicine, going to Big Brothers and Big Sisters and being a keynote presenter at speaking engagements.

“What a person gives shall be measured back to them in time and maybe even tenfold. It’s not what a person gives but what they get in return,” Steven says. “Not to push a time clock, not to ring a bell and not to answer to anyone other than those whom I serve is something I get great satisfaction from.” 

“Be it delivery of a live calf by cesarean section or the same procedure on a dog on Christmas Eve delivering live puppies or correcting a severely fractured leg on a dog,” states Steven. “I enjoy what I do.”

Madeline Robinson is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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