Honors highlight CSA’s annual meeting
Colorado Simmental Association (CSA) members recognized a charter member, current active leaders and outstanding youth during the 53rd Annual Meeting on Nov. 9.
CSA Pioneer Award
Oran Cunning was recognized with the CSA Pioneer Award.
Cunning was one of CSA’s 13 founding members who created the association on Aug. 22, 1970 in Denver. Cunning and his brother Myron were numbers six and seven of CSA’s 28 charter members and held membership number 243 with the American Simmental Association (ASA).
Cunning was also one of the initial board members and an early officer.
“We were primarily dairymen and created CSA from scratch,” he said.
Membership took its task of developing and promoting Simmentals in Colorado seriously. Cunning, who saw benefits of the Continental breed, was among those immersed in Simmental activities right from the start.
Despite being only five months old, CSA helped ASA host the 1971 ASA Convention in Denver during the National Western Stock Show. Files show CSA members helped manage the ASA convention for many years.
Colorado also hosted the first national all Simmental sale on Jan. 16, 1971, with 300 head of half-blood or greater Simmental cattle being auctioned in Denver.
Cunning was a CSA director from 1970-79 and was CSA secretary/treasurer from 1973-79. With the help of his wife Joy, he coordinated and recorded the association’s business, advertising and activities in its formative years.
The Cunning brothers were in the Holstein business, but their OK Farms also included a cow/calf beef operation and a farrow-to-finish hog operation near Brighton, Colo.
They initially used Simmental semen to artificially inseminate their Holsteins to make crossbreds.
“We had a few half-bloods and three-quarter bloods then,” he explained. “We had several crossbred Holstein-Simmental cows in our milking string. We had 130 to 140 head, which was large at the time.”
They also raised alfalfa, corn, wheat, milo and sugarbeets from their Brighton, Colo. headquarters east to Wiggins, Colo., plus farming south toward Denver, southeast to Byers, Colo. clear to Last Chance, Colo.
Cunning, now 87, said he was in the Holstein business until about 40 years ago. The OK Farms partnership was dissolved in 1998. Myron currently lives in Arizona. Oran and Joy now live in Thornton, Colo.
CSA’s Pioneer Award recognizes long-term leadership from Simmental founders, whose foresight blazed the trail for the association. CSA is grateful for the efforts and formally recognized the leadership of Cunning with its 2023 Pioneer Award.
CSA President’s Award
CSA President Willie Altenburg gave the 2023 President’s Award to Paul and Nia Hill and Susan Russell.
The Hills reside in Nunn, Colo. and are active Colorado Junior Simmental Association advisors, instrumental in the annual multi-breed Breed Bash youth event and assist in preparing American Simmental Foundation’s bred heifer lot, sold at the NWSS.
They were recognized for their extra efforts during 2023 with a clock plaque.
Susan Russell of Sugar City has served in the pivotal role of CSA secretary/treasurer for 25 years, coordinating all of the association’s business, finances, marketing, social media, membership and events.
Her 25th milestone was commemorated with a custom silver brand necklace presented at Fall Focus.
CSA youth scholarships
CSA also recognized outstanding youth with scholarships.
Jason Dias received CSA’s Herd Builder Grant and one of two CSA youth education grants.
The Herd Builder’s $1,500 stipend is designed to supplement Dias’ establishment or enhancement of his cow herd. The second $500 grant will be used for expenses as he pursues college.
Dias, who will graduate from Fort Morgan High School in May, was lauded by Greg Ditter, his FFA advisor, who wrote, “Jason has exhibited great leadership skills and has guided our younger members using his past experiences. He has been a vital part of not only our chapter membership, but also assisting when we have hosted district contests.”
Ditter and Heath Deway, a U.S. Department of Agriculture market reporter, also commended Dias’ community activities, which include 4-H, baseball and National Honor Society involvement, in addition to being a fourth-generation rancher.
He is the son of Chris and Raychel Dias of Fort Morgan, Colo.
CSA gave its congratulations to Bradie Midcap, who was also a $500 Youth Education Grant recipient.
Midcap, who will graduate from Butler Community College in May, is the daughter of Nate and Jolynn Midcap of Wray, Colo. She is competing on the college’s livestock judging team.
Upon earning her associate degree, she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal science and accounting.
“Bradie is an incredible people person,” wrote Travis Taylor, a CSU livestock Extension specialist. “Her passion for livestock, especially her own Simmental herd, has allowed her to become a strong businesswoman.”
Midcap has many successes with her cattle and swine and in livestock judging. She has excelled scholastically, in addition to actively serving in community involvement and leadership roles.
The Colorado Simmental Association was formed in August 1970 to promote Simmental genetics. Annually, CSA sponsors the National Western Stock Show breed activities in Denver and the Colorado State Fair Simmental Show in Pueblo, Colo. For more information, visit coloradosimmental.com.