Celebrating centuries of service: WLSB retires nine brand inspectors with nearly 240 years combined experience
On July 17, the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) gathered in Cheyenne to celebrate the retirement and service of nine brand inspectors, with a total of nearly 240 combined years of brand inspection experience.
“These inspectors have decided to call it a day, and we will sorely miss their knowledge and experience,” stated WSLB Director Steve True. “Thank you is not nearly enough regard for the work and dedication these gentlemen have supplied to our industry and the state of Wyoming.”
Gov. Mark Gordon commented, “The work of Wyoming’s brand inspectors is what makes Wyoming livestock so secure, and as a producer, I want to thank those retiring for their service, from the bottom of my heart.”
Retiring with an impressive 48 years of service is Gary McColl of Park County.
“Serving as a Wyoming brand inspector has been a pretty good life. I started in 1972 and have stuck with it for 48 years,” McColl said.
“Being a brand inspector is a 24 hours a day shift. We get called out at all times of the day for just about anything, even animals on the road in the middle of the night,” McColl continued. “The young brand inspectors just starting out need to realize they are working a job that has to be done at any given moment.”
Also among the retirees, are Ron McDonald of Laramie County, after serving on the WLSB for 38 years and Rusty Sturgeon of Goshen County after serving for 35 years.
“Being a brand inspector in Wyoming has been a great job for me for a lot of years. I met a lot of good people, and I truly enjoyed it,” Sturgeon said. “I learned a lot about how to handle cattle in a corral afoot, and I really improved my counting and bookkeeping skills.”
As far as his future plans following his retirement go, Sturgeon says, “I really don’t have any plans now. I am just going to stay home and catch up on what I didn’t get done for the last 35 years.”
Greg Bybee of Laramie County is retiring after 33 years.
“Everyone does things a little differently, and my favorite part of serving as a Wyoming brand inspector has been the opportunity to go out to everyone’s outfits and see what they are doing,” Bybee stated.
In his newly found free time, Bybee says he is going to do a lot of hunting and fishing.
“I really like shooting sports, so I am also going to be doing more of that,” he said.
When it comes to advising young brand inspectors who are just starting out, Bybee suggested, “They need to follow the rules, regulations and Wyoming statutes, while also using some common sense. Once they make a decision, they should stick with it and don’t let anyone talk them out of it.”
Also among the retirees is Dick Baker of Niobrara County after serving 28 years.
“I have really enjoyed visiting with all of the ranchers I have met along the way and seeing how different people work their cattle,” Baker said. “We have a stud and raise horses so I will be spending more time doing that.”
Kevin Behunin of Uinta County is retiring after 26 years of service.
“What a great experience it was inspecting livestock. The best part was being able to work with all the producers,” Behunin said. “I miss visiting with them, but I made a lot of new friends. I am just moving on to new trails.”
Additionally, Brett West of Niobrara County is retiring after serving 17 years, Calvin Clayton of Sheridan County is retiring after serving nine years and Keith Eisenbraun of Campbell County is retiring after serving four years.
“It means a lot to me to honor these wonderful people who have served the state of Wyoming, most of them for the majority of their adult life,” said Lee Romsa, state brand commissioner. “We have earned a lot of grey hairs together, and I am going to miss them a lot.”
“As a customer, I have always appreciated what brand inspectors do. Thank you again to all of the retirees for their service. It means a great deal,” added WLSB District One Supervisor Mark Eisele.
True concluded, “I want to thank all of the retirees personally for making this their life’s work and for their unwavering devotion to give back to the industry.”
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.