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Green River Valley Cattlemen, CattleWomen recognize members for achievements

Written by Joy Ufford

Big Piney – On March 11, the Green River Valley Cattlemen and CattleWomen Association (GRVCA) gathered at the Daniel Schoolhouse to recognize members and receive updates on the latest issues affecting the livestock industry.

The daylong meeting culminated in a banquet and dance, where members took the chance to catch up and celebrate another year of cattle production in the Green River Valley.

Among the awards presented were the Ranch Woman of the Year, Friend of Ag and Lifetime Member awards.

Ranch woman

Madeleine Murdock was presented with the 2017 GRVCA Ranch Woman of the Year Award, which recognizes her numerous years in the livestock industry.

Nominator Molly Landers wrote, “Madeleine married Stan Murdock in 1973, beginning her ‘career’ as a ranch wife. Within the first year of marriage, Stan bought Mad a purebred Hereford heifer for a gift.”

At that time, Murdoch began a herd of purebred Herefords, and since then, she has continued to serve as ranch wife on the family operation.

“Madeleine loved all the animals that she cared for, and as I understand, she was given the charge of all the bottle calves,” continued Landers. “Madeleine loved to ride and be outside, always taking in the landscape.”

Murdoch helped move cattle during the Green River Drift each year, and she was instrumental in irrigating, cooking, vaccinating and more on the ranch.

When her husband passed away in 2007, Murdoch continued the ranching operation.

Landers concluded, “And here she remains, smiling and continuing to give back to her family, friends and the community.”

Friend of ag

As the 2017 Friend of Ag Award winner, GRVCA honored the Mackey Family and the Chuckwagon Days Barbeque Committee. 

“This year 2017 will mark the 83rd anniversary of serving Wyoming beef to hungry locals and guests,” said Bob Beiermann in his nomination letter. “The Chuckwagon Days Barbeque has the distinction of being the longest-running free barbeque in the nation.”

Chuckwagon Days has been an important part of Big Piney’s Fourth of July celebration, and each year, beef donated by area ranches is served to attendees, bringing with it a reputation for high-quality hospitality and its ability to feed large groups.

“The barbeque committee hasn’t let anyone down in this regard in the past 80 years,” Beiermann added. “The barbeque is the highlight of the festivities that brings everyone together. It is a much anticipated community event and part of our culture and custom in Sublette County.”

The Chuckwagon Days Barbeque Committee, he continued, is much deserving of the honor of Friend of Ag for its support of the livestock industry and beef promotion, as well as its commitment to fostering community spirit at the event.

Lifetime members

Three lifetime members were honored during the meeting, as well, including Shirley Tanner, Betty Lou McLoughlin and John and Susie Blaha.

Tanner was honored as a 2017 Lifetime Member of GRVCA for her commitment to the farming and ranching operation.

After she moved from California during her eighth grade year, Tanner jumped right into the agriculture industry, cooking for haying crews and running equipment, among other duties.

“Mom cooked for haying crews of what seemed like 20 people, three meals a day, every day – full meals,” said Tanner’s daughter Lynn Rodell. “She often also was the equipment runner and ran to town to pick up that needed part to fix a piece of equipment.”

She added, “Mom never missed a meal, and she always kept up with us kids, too.”

McLoughlin was born and raised on a cattle ranch in the Kendall Valley on the Upper Green River, and she started working as soon as she could walk, helping with fencing, haying and cooking.

“In 1969, Betty Lou and her husband Melvin built ‘The Place’ in Kendall Valley and, with the help of family and many friends, operated the café and bar for over 20 years,” says McLoughlin's daughter LaDonna. “She has had a very busy life raising three children, working on the ranch and operating The Place.”

John Blaha moved to Wyoming after he graduated high school, coming from Illinois with a dream of owning a cattle ranch.

After moving to the state, he soon learned about Boulder and met his future bride Susie Bousman at a square dance. That same summer, he started working on the Richie brother’s ranch on East Fork.

In 1974, the couple was married, and Susie started vet school at Colorado State University. John moved to Fort Collins, where he worked at Larimer Equipment, while she worked on her degree.

After graduation, they moved to Saratoga and then Boulder in 1983, where she started Boulder Veterinary Clinic. John worked for Susie’s parents on the family ranch.

When her mother passed away in 1990, Susie’s father sold the ranch to his children, and John’s dream of owning a ranch came true.

“John and Susie’s ranching dreams rightly came true as they have owned and operated Blaha Ranch since that time,” reads their nomination letter.

Joy Ufford of the Sublette Examiner and Pinedale Reporter compiled the biographies and nomination letters for these awards. Saige Albert, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup compiled this article from her work. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..