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Heart of Wyoming: Ag Hall of Fame recipients, WAIC educator recognized during picnic

Written by Saige Albert

Douglas – Nearly 300 Wyomingites gathered from across the state at Riverside Park in Douglas for the 2017 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame picnic, where Peter John Camino and Keith Geis were inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame and Jill Blazovich was recognized as the 2017 Wyoming Ag in the Classroom Educator of the Year.

On hand for the event were U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Congressman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), University of Wyoming (UW) President Laurie Nicholls, UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Frank Galey, the families of the awardees and a number of past Agriculture Hall of Fame inductees.

“We’re honored that everyone is here tonight,” said Wyoming Livestock Roundup Publisher Dennis Sun.

Enzi commented, "Thank you all for being here to honor these people. I know there are a lot of Hall of Famers around every year who come back every year.”

“It’s our pleasure to be here at the Wyoming Ag Hall of Fame picnic every year to actually see the heart of Wyoming. You are the people that make Wyoming continue to tick, and we appreciate all you do and the way that you show up,” Enzi added, addressing attendees. “It’s an honor to introduce two more people for the Ag Hall of Fame.”

Sheep industry

Enzi said, “I’m going to read from the Congressional Record a speech that was given on the floor of the United States Senate. Peter John Camino is being inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame. Every year since 1992, Wyoming has recognized individuals who have made substantial contributions to agriculture and our state.”

“As a third-generation rancher who dedicated much of his life to Wyoming’s agriculture industry, Peter John is well deserving of this honor,” Enzi continued. “Fortunately for Wyoming, Peter John not only stuck with the agriculture industry during the good times but took on leadership positions and persevered through the hard times, as well.”

He continued that Peter John’s leadership in the Wyoming Wool Growers Association has been exemplary, guiding the sheep industry through challenging periods, and the sheepman has been dedicated to selflessly advocating for sheep producers and the agriculture industry.

“I want to extend my congratulations to Mr. Camino and thank him for his service and hard work,” Enzi emphasized. “Peter John truly lives the Code of the West, and I’m proud to have the opportunity to recognize his achievements. Wyoming is well-served by his lasting and continuing contributions to our state. Congratulations.”

Camino recognized his wife Jackie and his family for their support throughout his endeavors. He also recognized others in the ag community who have lead alongside him through the years.

“Together, we all make the industry strong,” he said.

Banking influence

Next, Barrasso welcomed Keith Geis and, also reading from the Congressional Record, said, “Wyoming has a longstanding tradition of recognizing individuals who make invaluable contributions to agriculture in communities across our state. Each year, Sen. Enzi and I have the pleasure of introducing these honorees.”

“This year, Keith Geis is honored. In Wyoming, we talk a lot about the Code of the West. Take pride in your work, always finish what you start and ride for the brand are just a few tenants of the creed that motivates the way we live in Wyoming,” Barrasso continued. “Growing up on a dairy farm in Wheatland, Keith learned these principles early and abides by them today.”

Barrasso further explained that Geis’ commitment to Wyoming communities, serving as president of Platte Valley Bank Wheatland and leading many organizations, is instrumental.

“The list of boards and associations that have benefited from Keith’s leadership and involvement is long,” he said. “Most notable is Keith’s focus on the youngest members of all of our Wyoming communities. Keith knows that a community’s strength is in its future, and he has worked hard to ensure that the next generation will be as dedicated to our state as he is.”

Barrasso emphasized, “Keith is one of the people who makes our Wyoming home so special.”

Also recognizing his family for their encouragement and support over the years, Geis said, “There are many people who have made this moment successful.”

“What a great industry we have here in the state of Wyoming. The Code of the West and the value system that portrays is very true and runs deep in the ag industry. That is one of the reasons I am so passionate about promoting the ag industry and trying to instill that in the next generation,” he added. “Only through that are we able to preserve the identity we hold so close to us.”

Education focused

Rounding out the program, Cheney recognized the Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom 2017 Educator of the Year, Jill Blazovich.

A Rock Springs second grade teacher, Blazovich focuses on student engagements and dedicates much of her time to educating students about Wyoming’s resources.

“Jill has participated both in the bookmark program and in the Wyoming Stewardship Project, which brought together the cream of the crop of our educators across the state to develop authentic Wyoming resource units,” Cheney said.

Blazovich also piloted the units in her classroom, saying, “I was very excited to implement the lessons in my classroom. We learned about the history of agriculture in Wyoming and grew our own bean seeds, but most importantly, the students learned of the importance of Wyoming ag.”

Cheney continued, “When Jill was asked why she participated in the Wyoming Stewardship Project, she shared, ‘As a native Wyoming, I have always been so proud and excited to live in such a beautiful and amazing state, and I want to instill that same pride in my students so that our great state can remain strong, independent and unique for all the generations to come.”

Blazovich was recognized with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Anadarko Petroleum, Wyoming Livestock Roundup and Mantha Phillips.

Sun concluded, “We appreciate our Congressional delegation for showing up to recognize these people, and congratulations to all of tonight’s awardees.”

Do you know someone who should be inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame? Visit wylr.net to find an application form. Nominations for the 2018 class are due June 1, 2018.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..