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One of this year’s contestants heading to the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR), July 14-20 in Rock Springs, is senior Casey Sellers of Buffalo. Sellers will be competing in calf roping and steer wrestling.

Sellers recently won the all-around cowboy title at this year’s Wyoming High School Finals Rodeo (WHSFR), also placing first in the tie-down calf roping. 

This is Sellers’ second time winning both of these events. 

“It’s very rewarding being the all-around again. I’ve been working very hard towards that all year,” comments Sellers. “I just wanted to make sure that my senior year was just as good as my junior year.”

Sellers also placed third in steer wrestling at the state finals, which were held in Douglas June 11-14. 

Nationals

Since being named all-around cowboy, Sellers’ game plan is to conquer a national title in Rock Springs and hopefully have a shot in the all-around there, as well. 

“At Nationals, I’ll just have to see how everything pans out and see what I draw,” he says. 

To help prepare himself for the WHSFR, Sellers elicited some advice from World Champion Bulldogger, Frank Thompson.

“The best advice I’ve ever received is to just go and do my job,” states Sellers. “No matter what steer I draw I have to do my job, and that’s what I’m going to try and do at Nationals. I have to stay focused, get my calves tied down, throw my steers down and be smart about what I’m doing. Hopefully, it will all go well.”

Rodeo

Sellers mentions he began competing in rodeo when he and his brother were just old enough to hang on to a saddle horn. 

“My brother and I grew up around horses, and I love to ride and rope. It’s something we have a passion for,” explains Sellers. 

“Our parents got us involved in rodeo, and we decided to stick with it, practice it as often as we could and work to be the best we can be at it,” he adds. “I’ve been around rodeo my whole life, and I plan on continuing to be around it for a while.”

When asked what advice Sellers would give a new competitor to rodeo, he says to listen to everybody and try everything. 

“Rodeo competitors should always work to be the best and do their job,” states Sellers. “If someone wants to win, they have to expect it of themselves and prepare to win. They can’t just show up at the rodeo and expect to win without first preparing for it.”

Challenges

Sellers notes that one of his biggest challenges being a part of rodeo is finding the time and place to practice. 

“It’s a big deal for me to go and practice because I have to haul my horses to an arena. In another way, it helps me prepare for my rodeos because when I go to practice I have to make it count,” he says.

“When I go to practice I have to make sure that I achieve what I want, make sure my horses are running good and that I’m sharp and fix the things that I need to,” explains Sellers. “It teaches me to make sure my runs count and that everything is running smoothly.”

People

There are numerous reasons why Sellers’ loves rodeo, but he especially loves all the people he is able to meet. 

“It’s very meaningful to be around rodeo people because they are very supportive and want to help others,” he says. “I don’t know how many people I’ve met through high school rodeo, but I’m sure I’ll remember them all my life.”

Sellers also expresses gratitude to all who have helped and encouraged him along the way.

“I would like to thank Jake, Deb and Klay Ready for letting my use their bulldogging horse for the past two years,” expressed Sellers. “Also, I can’t help but thank Dean and Teigan Sinnerty for all their help and Dan, Brandi, Casey and Clancy Reimler for all that they have done for me.”  

Future plans

Sellers recently graduated from Buffalo High School and will be attending Gillette College this fall to earn his associate degree in business and compete on the college rodeo team. 

“I’ve been keeping tabs on how the Gillette team is doing at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR), and they are sitting pretty good to win this year,” says Sellers. “I’m excited, and I look forward to being a part of that and the team next year.”

Sellers also recently obtained his Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) permit and plans on attending and competing in a few rodeos this summer. 

“I’m just going to get my feet wet and see what it’s all about,” he claims. 

Madeline Robinson is 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..

 

Yoder – Mike and Cindy Ridenour and their daughter Mary, owners of Meadow Maid Foods, have diversified their operation by managing it as a non-certified organic operation. They raise 100 percent grass fed beef and heirloom vegetables that are open pollinated and never see pesticides or herbicides.  

They also try to save as much of their own vegetable seeds, with the exception of potatoes.

“We’ve never taken the time to become organically certified primarily because we market all of our products directly to the consumers,” explained Mike. “Since we have those face-to-face personal relationships with our customers we never saw any benefit to becoming organically certified.” 

He added, “Also, to become organically certified, it is a lot more expensive, and we’d have to raise our prices.” 

Beneficial insects

The Ridenours refuse to apply any pesticides or herbicides to their produce, even if the National Organic Program (NOP) approves them. 

For insect control, they utilize beneficial insects and natural insect repellants, such as sunflowers, bachelor’s buttons and chamomile.

“A lot of insecticides that are approved for organic use are really hard on insect larvae, which is not good for the beneficial insects that we use,” commented Ridenour.  

“Our weed eradication program here is that my wife is really good with a hoe, and unfortunately, so am I,” he stated. “We work diligently at maintaining habitat for the beneficial insects.”

Some of the beneficial insects they use are five different species of ladybugs and Minute Pirate Bugs. Ridenour mentions his beneficial bugs are quite effective against Colorado potato beetle larvae and eggs, aphids, cabbage loopers and various other insects. 

Farmers’ markets

Along with marketing their produce locally, the Ridenours also attend farmers’ markets in Cheyenne and in Fort Collins, Colo. during the summer. 

“We attend two farmers’ markets a week in the summer, one in Cheyenne on Tuesday afternoons out by the mall and one on Saturday mornings in Fort Collins off of Drake Road,” explained Ridenour. 

“Farmers’ markets are really nice because our vegetables are bright and colorful. When people come up to purchase some, we have a chance to talk to them about our beef and try to get them to try it,” commented Ridenour. “That’s why we take cuts of our beef to all of the markets.”

CSA

The Ridenours also like to use farmers’ markets as a convenient pickup location for their community supported agriculture (CSA) customers and to give them an advertising venue for their beef.  

“Customers of our CSA program pay upfront, and we deliver vegetables to them all throughout the season,” explained Ridenour. “Farmers’ markets give us a convenient location to deliver the product to our customers, and we also do a delivery for the CSA in Torrington.”

He continued, “We’ve had a lot of customers who started buying our vegetables, and then they become what we call a full-scale customer when they start buying our beef, as well.”

Grass fed cattle

“We started out primarily with Herefords from the Lamplighter line out of Oklahoma,” he said. “I really liked the cattle, but the cattle did not like Wyoming. There’s a big difference between Oklahoma and Wyoming, and it’s called winter.”

The Ridenours then began incorporating Black Angus into their herd with a little Shorthorn influence the past few years. 

“Shorthorns are supposed to be good for grass fed beef,” noted Ridenour. “I haven’t had a chance to eat one yet, so we’ll find out.” 

All of the cattle are raised on grass pastures and slaughtered between 24 to 30 months of age. The Ridenours take their cattle to Steving Meat Processing in Kersey, Colo. 

“The reason we have our beef processed in Colorado is because we have to have a USDA-inspected facility since we sell across state lines, and we don’t have a USDA-inspected facility in Wyoming yet,” he explained. 

Carcasses

“We sell whole, half and quarter beef carcasses to people,” Ridenour mentioned. “Also, about 25 percent of everything we slaughter every year is packaged into different cuts, and we sell them at farmers’ markets throughout the year.”  

“The average steak that hits the grocery store travels about 1,500 miles. Our cattle only have one big day where they go on a trip of about 130 miles, and that’s it,” described Ridenour. “It makes a big difference.”

Meadow Maid Foods was one of the premiered tour stops for the 12th Annual Diversified Ag Tour that took place June 24 in Goshen County. The Wyoming Business Council and Wyoming Women in Ag hosted the tour. 

Madeline Robinson is 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..


SIDEBAR:
Diversified Ag 

This year was the 12th Annual Diversified Ag Tour, and it was held in Goshen County on June 24. Wyoming Women in Ag and the Wyoming Business Council hosted the tour. Other contributing supporters of the tour were the Goshen County Chamber of Commerce and Goshen County Economic Development.

The tour began at the University of Wyoming Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) in Lingle where attendees learned about high tunnel production and other research projects the center is working on. 

The next stop on the tour was Ellis’ Harvest Home in Lingle, and participants learned about their operation selling produce in the summer and having a corn maze, pumpkin patch and other festivities they have at their farm during the fall. 

Lunch was served at Table Mountain Vineyards in Huntley, and people were able to partake in wine tasting and learn about vineyards and winemaking. 

The last stop of the tour was at Meadow Maid Foods in Yoder.

 

Wheatland — Laramie Peak hasn’t changed locales from where it has for millennia dominated the skyline and watched the business of life in southeast Wyoming.
    Not so for the guy in the corner office – the president’s office – of Platte Valley Bank not far off Interstate 25 in Wheatland. Laramie Peak saw Keith Geis uprooted to Laramie as a high school junior from the dairy he grew up on southwest of town. He was sidetracked to Alabama and Iowa before returning to the mountain’s landscape.
    Crisscrossing the country, raising a family, and returning to his hometown haven’t seemed to alter the ideals Geis was taught when young.
    “I’m an advocate of being the very best you should be and giving back to the world around you,” says Geis about what he would say to University of Wyoming freshmen. “Pay your dues forward. Do something for someone else, and don’t expect anything in return. If you do, you will be successful no matter what you do.”
    A cowboy creed hangs on his office wall. Spurs rest in a cubbyhole not far from his desk.
    “Anyone who knows Keith knows he loves Wyoming and the University of Wyoming,” writes Billie Addleman of the Hirst Applegate law firm in Cheyenne. “He wears that passion on his sleeve, and I cannot think of a better ambassador of our state and university than Keith Geis.”
    Dennis Sun, publisher of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup in Casper, has served with Geis on several non-profit organizations. “The values and passion he has in helping others is unequaled in Wyoming,” notes Sun.
    Not bad for someone who had worked as a laborer at the UW Stock Farm and huddled with his wife, Marie, in the bachelor’s huts while attending UW. His parents, Zane and Gladys, and the rest of the family moved to Laramie in 1969 when his father went to work for the university’s micro veterinary laboratory.
    A graduate of Laramie High School, he attended Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. He married Marie when a sophomore and moved back to Laramie. “My wife is from Mobile, Ala. and she can share some interesting stories,” says Geis. “She had never experienced winters like Laramie can periodically provide.” He earned his bachelor’s in agriculture economics from UW in 1975.
    Why economics? “It was intriguing to me in finding ways one might increase efficiency or be better at allocating resources to increase profitability to the bottom line,” he says. He interned with the then-Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) in Basin and worked in Torrington after graduation. He then took a political appointment with FmHA in Geneva, Ala. After a year and a half, his wife encouraged their family to move back to Wyoming.
    “Even though she was from Mobile, she did not realize a place existed in rural Alabama like Geneva,” he relates. “It was evident after administrations changed I was a Yankee. I was told I would move to Winston County, Ala.”
    Winston County is known for its independent thinking. Deep in the South, it gained notoriety for its opposition to secession during the Civil War, which was so strong it was sometimes referred to as the Republic of Winston.
    Geis never went to Winston County; he went to work for the Federal Land Bank in DeWitt, Iowa, then for Farm Credit Services in 1982. He was vice president of marketing. The organization began consolidating offices in 2002, but Geis had been through that process in the 1980s. “It had left a void in customer services,” he says.
    Then came a phone call from Platte Valley Bank while he was driving one day. Would he be interested in moving to Wheatland to manage a bank?
    “It was interesting and challenging,” he says. “I said, ‘Let’s go see what we can get done.’ It’s been a very rewarding endeavor, taking something from ground zero and creating and developing not only the bank building but the furniture, artwork, and portfolio and the relations that come with Platte Valley Financial Service Companies, Inc. Our footprint covers the eastern side of Wyoming and western Nebraska.”
    There are offices in Wheatland, Casper, Torrington and Cheyenne in Wyoming, and in Scottsbluff, Minatare, Morrill and Bridgeport in Nebraska.
    “Their philosophy of customer service and giving back to the community really fit well with my personal philosophy,” Geis notes. “You leave the world a better place than how you found it.”
    There was a professional carrot, too. Geis had always been in the top five out of 500 lenders with Farm Credit Services but could never change how it operated. “In a $5 billion organization, unless you are the leader, you don’t have the ability to change the way it sails,” he says. “I could see at Platte Valley Bank I could have the latitude to paint my own picture. It’s been very rewarding.”
    He and Marie have a grown son and daughter and four granddaughters.
    Article courtesy of the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture.
Harshbargers continue CCAA work
Weston County — Although Bob Harshbarger didn’t join his wife Jean on her family’s outfit until 1987, where she’s lived for 70 years, he’s wasted no time joining in on new projects since his arrival.
    Some of the couple’s biggest projects in the last two decades have been a variety of water developments throughout their ranch and a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA), which has been ongoing for 10 years and is reaching completion, pending a take permit from the Denver, Colo. office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
    Jean’s grandfather bought their ranch in 1924, but never lived there himself. He also owned two ranches in Colorado, and Jean’s parents moved to Wyoming in the 1930s when she was a toddler. “I think this place is one of the nicer ranches in this part of the country, because it’s on the Cheyenne River,” says Jean of their location. “There are big ravines for the cattle in bad weather, so it’s a good winter ranch, and it’s just a really neat place.”
    “Bob came from Illinois, and how we met is one of those funny things,” says Jean of Bob’s hunting trips to Wyoming. “We met in 1968 and one year when he came out we decided he should stay.”
    “He’s a real quick study,” says Jean of Bob’s adjustment to life in the West. “He says he didn’t know the front end of the cow when he came out. I always say he didn’t yet know the rules of the West.”
    “Ever since Bob’s been here we’ve been doing a lot of water development because it’s such an important thing is this country,” says Jean. “We’ve put in a lot of wells, and many of them have been solar units and we really like them. They’re cost-effective now, and they’re no more expensive than a propane generator pump or a windmill.”
    “We have a lot of wells, and it takes a lot of hard work to keep them going,” she says of the ranch’s main water supply. Although the Cheyenne River runs through their ranch, it’s ephemeral and for the last several years has only run a few days out of the year.
    One of Jean’s daughters now lives down the road from the home ranch, while the other works as a lawyer in Arizona. Jean says the one nearby used to help out on the ranch, but hasn’t had to as much since the return of a grandson and his family to the ranching operation.
    “When he was a kid he’d come out for the summers, and he and his wife came back to the ranch after he served nine years in the Service,” says Jean, joking, “He does the heavy work now and we sit here and watch him.”
    The Harshbarger family runs a Red Angus cow-calf operation and half their cowherd is bred to Charolais bulls. “We just returned from Illinois, and I jumped up and down when we came back because I was so sick of seeing black cows,” jests Jeans. “We like Red Angus. Cows at 1,100 pounds are big enough for us, and the smaller cattle are more thrifty and we can run more of them.”
    The ranch supports hay ground and millet for hay on good water years. “With all the years of drought our crops have been very poor, and most of the alfalfa, which used to be really good, has pretty well died out,” says Jean. “We’re hoping for a few good years to get another stand established.”
    She says one of the hard things about their country is the Forest Service grasslands they use to run their cows. “They can do a little dictating if the drought starts to look bad. Sometimes they have regulations that don’t make a lot of common sense and when I’ve been on this ranch for over 70 years I know there are a lot of things that aren’t perfect, but we have to work around them and they don’t understand that.”
    Jean was the first woman to graduate from the University of Wyoming with a range management degree. “The first thing I learned after graduation is that practical sense has a lot more to do with things than book learning,” she says.
     “The CCAA is 99 percent complete,” says Jean of their efforts to protect their ranch’s way of operating should the prairie dog become listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. “It’s been published in the Federal Register, and we were pleasantly surprised that it didn’t receive a whole lot of comments like we were expecting.”
    Bob says they continue to wait for the take permit to be issued from the Denver FWS office. “If the species is ever listed as threatened or endangered we’ll need the take permit to continue our population control on the species listed in our CCAA to maintain the population level we agreed upon,” he says.
    The Harshbargers have made an agreement with the FWS to maintain 3,000 acres of prairie dog habitat on their lands and to allow the prairie dog at certain populations. The Harshbargers’ biologist will monitor the 19 management areas on the ranch. “When the prairie dogs reach about three per acre we’ll start population control,” says Bob, adding they hope to maintain the population between three and five prairie dogs per acre. “When that population is met we’ll attempt to keep them in check.”
    The CCAA, in addition to prairie dogs, will cover mountain plover, burrowing owls and ferruginous hawks. “Sage grouse require a completely different habitat than prairie dogs, so they couldn’t be in the same CCAA, but we hope we can add them on later if they are going to be listed,” says Jean.
    “I’ve been ready to throw up my hands on the whole thing many times,” says Jean of the CCAA’s decade-long duration. “I have great hopes that when we finally get this one through other people will be able to start something similar, and not have it take 10 years.”
    She says staff with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the Cheyenne FWS office have been good to work with and have done a lot of work on the project.
    “This is the last hoop we’ve got to jump through, and then it’s ready for signing,” says Bob of the take permit. “We’re just hanging in there right now. Everybody’s asking us about the CCAA’s progress, but Denver is dragging their feet over the take permit.”
    Christy Hemken is assistant 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..

Riverton – For Terry Angel of Angel Quarter Horses, one of the most rewarding parts of raising registered performance Quarter horses is seeing their clients do well with their horses.

“Seeing the foals and horses we’ve raised go on to be trained in performance-specific jobs and doing well is very rewarding,” he says. “We’ve got quite a few horses around Wyoming that people are using for team roping horses and other jobs, and it’s pretty neat to see.”

Angel and his wife Jackie own and operate Angel Quarter Horses near Riverton.

Starting out

Angel Quarter Horses began approximately 20 years ago with the goal of raising high-quality registered Quarter horses, says Angel.

“The stallion we started with came from the Arapaho Ranch over in Thermopolis. He was a Beau Bonanza-bred horse,” he continues.

The couple first began breeding the stallion to mares they already owned, and then, they began to build up their broodmare herd with additional purchases.

“We had some good quality mares already, and we started to buy more good mares as we went,” comments Angel. “We kept breeding and buying mares every once in awhile.”

After an incident in 2009 that resulted in the death of their first stallion, Angel explains they continued the program with two new stallions they purchased the year prior.

“We continued breeding with those two stallions and bred them to some of the mares we had and some of the mares out of our old stud,” he notes.

Breeding operation

Angel Quarter Horses’ goal is to produce top-quality performance horses, breeding six to 10 mares per year, says Angel.

“Mostly, we’re just focusing on performance horses – mainly rope horses, ranch horses and rodeo horses,” he says.

In the past, the business has utilized auctions and consignments for selling their horses, but Angel explains they now market primarily to private buyers through word of mouth.

“In the last few years, we’ve been doing more private treaty than anything else,” he comments.

While they primarily market to Wyomingites, Angel notes that Angel Quarter Horses has attracted buyers from as far away as Louisiana.

“We also have horses in Washington state and Montana,” comments Angel. “Mostly we sell in Wyoming, of course, but we’ve had horses go to quite a few different states.”

As they continue their operation in the future, the couple hopes to continue improving the quality of the horses they produce.

“We just want to focus on producing the highest quality we can and specifically on raising performance rope horses that are top notch,” he says. “We might not breed quite as many mares and focus on quality instead.”

Stallions

Angel Quarter Horses finds it important to use a variety of performance proven bloodlines.

Angel explains, while their first stallion came from Bonanza bloodlines, the couple is utilizing new bloodlines with two new stallions.

“One of our stallions is a son of Gallo Del Cielo, and he’s out of a daughter of Rosie O’Lama,” he says. “Our other stallion is out of a stallion called Nu Circle N Cash and the performance mare Sparkles Suzana, which is a half sister to Shining Spark.”

They have also combined the genetics from their original stallions with the new bloodlines.

“We’ve been breeding some of the Bonanza-bred mares to these studs and been getting some really nice colts,” comments Angel.

Other influences

In addition to their outstanding sires, Angel explains their breeding program incorporates notable performance bloodlines in their mares.

“One of the mares that’s been a big influence on our breeding program goes back to Joe Queen and Joe Reed II,” he says. “We have a lot of daughters out of her.”

From reputation breeder Hank Wiescamp’s program, Angel Quarter Horses also uses bloodlines that trace back to Scooter W.

Doc Bar bloodlines also make an appearance in the breeding program for Angel Quarter Horses.

“Then, we’ve got one mare that’s a High Brow Henry mare,” he comments. “We’ve got some Colonel Freckles influence, too.”

Summarizing their breeding program, Angel says, “We’ve got some diverse, different bloodlines. It’s not all one bloodline, which is important.”

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