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Sheepmen in San Diego

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) held their annual get together recently in San Diego, Calif. Bob had meetings to attend and I tagged along. Who wouldn’t want a break in sunny California, a room overlooking the marina and ocean views? Last year’s meeting was a “virtual” one, so it was good to reconnect with friends. 

Over the course of the trip, I encountered a few new “bests.” 

Best plane ride: flying from Denver International Airport to San Diego in a window seat and clear skies. We flew over the Colorado mountains, the Arizona desert with a glimpse of the Grand Canyon and caught a view of the Imperial Valley in California, which is home to various crops and alfalfa fields and is fed by the Colorado River. During the winter, the valley feeds thousands of lambs. 

Best margarita: hands down, the margarita Brad Boner made when we had a get together in his room. 

Best animal contact: the giraffe at the San Diego Zoo who walked up to us and we chatted for 10 minutes.

Best boat ride: the harbor tour we took, where we motored by the Midway and a fleet of famous ships and even took a trip under the Coronado bridge. 

Best two minutes of football: After the harbor tour, we caught the second half of the Bills versus Chiefs game. 

Best market day in January for someone from wintry Wyoming: the Saturday market at Little Italy. The flowers, fruits and vegetables on display, as well as the food vendors, all made for a delightful morning. 

Best sheets I’ve slept on in a while: the crisp sheets at our hotel. How come when I buy 300-count sheets they’re never that nice?

Best lamb ribs: the meal served at the opening reception of the convention.

Best hypnotist show: performed by Dr. Al Snyder. Snyder, who was born in Ten Sleep, went on to become a veterinarian and now travels the country doing his hypnotist show. ASI had him at the meeting in Sacramento, Calif. 19 years ago when Dr. Jim Logan was the hit of the show. He was hypnotized to be a CIA operative who was receiving faxes (toilet paper) and had to hide them. Dr. Logan was stuffing them in his boots and everywhere. 

This year’s show was just as hilarious, and Dr. Logan was again up on the stage with about seven others. Dr. Snyder had participants milking sheep, gazing at his bare bottom – of course he was fully clothed, driving a stick shift on bad roads and receiving phone calls out of a cowboy boot. The end of the show was a Luke Bryan concert, with “Luke Bryan,” and others belting out songs, groupies dancing and members of the band. It was a great show. 

Best heated pool and hot tub in January: again, at our hotel.  

Best ring man and Luke Bryan impersonator: Lane Nordlund. He did an awesome job at both.  The highest bid item at the Thursday night auction was a lion hunt with Sandy Bob Forbes in Kaycee.

Best food and drink I didn’t have to prepare: everywhere. The chef did an admirable job with the lamb served at the convention, and the meals we ate outside of the meeting were all good. Expensive, but good.

San Diego has one of the best climates in the United States, it’s lovely there and you pay for the whole experience when you visit. I finally gave up grousing about the cost and just enjoyed my time.  

Best ambassadors of our wool industry: the Make It With Wool contestants. Their annual showcase is the last evening at the banquet, but well-mannered youngsters were all over the hotel during the week. Our two representatives from Wyoming were Madi Dunning from Encampment and Cassie Downare from Buffalo. Cassie finished in the top 10.

Best representation of our industry from Wyoming: sheepmen who are at home and going through the daily grind don’t always recognize and consider the folks who are attending these meetings throughout the year.  

Many thanks to: Brad Boner from Glenrock, who is the current vice president of ASI and will move up to president in 2023 – a big job; Peter John Camino from Buffalo, who is the new chairman of the American Lamb Board for the next two years; Amy Hendrickson from Casper, who serves as the executive director of the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA) and on the ASI consultant team; Regan Smith from Powell, the current president of the WWGA; Vance Broadbent from Evanston and a past WWGA president; Cat Urbigkit from Big Piney, an award winning author and photographer; Lee Isenberger from Wright, who serves on the Wool Council; and Bob Harlan from Kaycee, who sits on the National Lamb Feeders Board ASI Board of Directors. 

Many past presidents and members of WWGA attended meetings over the years and were nominated for various councils, committees and national offices. These are just a few of the Wyoming volunteers who have represented Wyoming sheep producers and the state’s sheep industry. 

Best speakers: all of them. Many folks have commented on how easy it was to attend the meetings. 

Best South Dakota voices for the lamb and wool industry: Peter Orwick, who has been the ASI executive director for over 20 years. In San Diego, the Camptender Award was renamed the Peter Orwick Camptender Award; and Chase Adams, who serves as our liason in Washington, D.C., 

Best Shepherd’s Voice Award: the Wyoming Livestock Roundup

From the Sheep Industry News, The Shepherd’s Voice Award for media recognizes outstanding year-long coverage of the sheep industry by either print or broadcast outlets. Nominations may be publications, networks or specific reporters exhibiting a strong commitment to balanced reporting and consistent coverage of the sheep industry locally, statewide and/or nationally.”

Congratulations Dennis Sun, publisher, and the crew at the Roundup. Dennis was slated to appear and accept his award, but circumstances came up and he was unable to travel to San Diego. I have a paltry connection with the Roundup, so I was asked to accept the award.  

My acceptance speech was painful to say the least. This is what I meant to say… 

“Hello, I’m Mrs. Bob Harlan. I’ve had that wonderful job for 38 years (a smattering of laughter), but for almost four years I’ve written a monthly column for the Roundup.  I’m honored to be up here accepting this award for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, the weekly news source for Wyoming’s ranchers, farmers and agribusiness community.”

And additionally, from Andrea Zink, Dennis’ daughter who works at the Roundup, “As Wyoming’s weekly newspaper, our goal is to get the latest news and issues to our readership. We are so grateful to work with our partners in Wyoming’s and the nation’s sheep industry to promote your work and achievements.  This award is very much appreciated!”

January is over. Had a little help with a fun trip to sunny California. February is full of early calving, shed lambing, ultrasounding ewes and living the life. The stores are full of red hearts and boxes of chocolates. 

Don’t forget your amazing partner in all this wonderful life!

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