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For Clark Stith, the office of Secretary of State provides a match to his skill set and the opportunity to address Wyoming’s growing government sector.

“I really do care about the state and direction it is going,” Stith explains. “I’m a small government republican and a small government kind of guy.”

Stith, who grew up in a small town in Kansas, has two children Kirsi, 18, and Steve,16, and practices law in Rock Springs. 

Applicable skills

Both Stith’s background and experience foster a skill set that is ideal for the office of Secretary of State, he says. 

“I’m a business lawyer in Rock Springs, so my day job is to deal with the same laws the Secretary of State is charged with – corporations, limited liability companies, uniform commercial code, etc.,” Stith comments. “Being chairman of the Sweetwater County Republican Party forced me to figure out how election laws work on the ground.”

He adds, “I feel comfortable with the daily activities of the office.”

Politics, he continues, are an area he is passionate about. 

Government growth

As a major platform for his election campaign, Stith remarks that, likely because of the state’s large revenue streams relative to our population, Wyoming’s government sector has growth. 

“It is a one-way ratchet of government growth,” Stith says. “Wyoming ranks number one for having the biggest percentage of its labor force employed by the federal, state and local government.”

He further notes that he believes the government should invest in the future, rather than in growth of government.

Additionally, Stith believes that government is appropriate in areas where the marketplace is unlikely to provide an adequate response to the state’s needs, such as in education. 

“I think it is appropriate for the government to invest in those things,” he says. “I also think the agriculture community has interest in having the size of our government be appropriate.”

Stith says one of his goals of office is to work to right-size Wyoming’s government.

Business laws

At the same time, Stith notes that the number of corporations in Wyoming has grown steadily in the past few years. 

In visiting with the Secretary of State, Stith says it was predicted that more than three-quarters of Wyoming’s 112,000 companies do not own land, live in Wyoming, buy or sell anything in the state or employ Wyomingites. 

“My proposal is those companies who don’t have business ties here tell us who they are,” he explains. “By asking that question, my guess is that there will be thousands of companies who would go away.”

Stith predicts that many companies are shell companies laundering money, and because Wyoming grants a high level of anonymity to companies registered in the state, they can start up here without much trouble. 

“If we ask for disclosure of who these companies are, it doesn’t require new employees or an enforcement team,” he comments. “I believe a lot of those companies will self-select and go away. I don’t think Wyoming should sell its good name for a $100 filing fee.”

Plan in office

As a result of growing government, Stith says, “One of my specific commitments is to reduce the staff of the Secretary of State’s Office by nine percent. That is three positions over four years.”

Stith feels that this effort would not be egregious and would be the first step in reducing the size of the government in its entirety. 

Additionally, Stith hopes to unify the Republican Party in Wyoming.

“There has been robust debate inside the Republican Party,” he adds. “I hope to help unify Republicans.”

Boards and commissions

In serving as one of five elected officials on a variety of boards and commissions in the state, Stith says, “One thing I’ve realized about the boards that all five electeds sit on is that it is probably a good idea to have a good working relationship with other members.”

Further, he comments the he has a good working relationship with Governor Mead and supports working together, even though consensus may not always be reached. 

Additionally, when looking at state lands in particular, Stith says he supports the current systems allowing for multiple use, including grazing leasing.

“Even with a government sector that is too large, the state will never have enough people to manage all these disparate parcels of land,” Stith says, “but the good news is, we don’t need to because we have grazing lessees who are doing it.”

He supports continued use of grazing to manage state lands and multiple use into the future. 

“I believe in multiple use, and I stand against environmental extremism,” he says. 

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..

Riverton – After building a new facility and undergoing a name change, Stotz Equipment in Riverton celebrated its grand opening on May 4 and welcomed over 400 guests to explore the facility and participate in a number of contests.

“The grand opening went fantastic,” comments Dave Tuttle, manager of both the Casper and Riverton locations of Stotz Equipment and the company’s Northern Region manager. 

Jerry Thorson, service manager for Stotz Equipment, adds, “It was a huge success, and we had a good turnout. Overall, it went really well.”

Grand opening event

At the event, Thorson explains that attendees had the opportunity to participate in clinics for a number of products, including John Deere’s round balers and windrowers, and to enter drawings for a series of prizes.

The event also showcased their new, 35,000-square-foot facility.

“This new building changes how we can do business,” comments Thorson, who notes that they have more room and a modern facility to better carry out the company’s mission statement. “Stotz built the new facility because we felt the community deserves to have a more modern facility.”

“In order to provide that service to our customers, we needed a facility that allowed it,” he continues. “We are making our commitment to Fremont County and the counties that we service. We are setting down our roots here, and we’re here for the long haul.”

The facility allows space for a better-stocked parts area and more shop space to allow the company to grow. The shop area is also very modern and will allow for more technicians to be hired in the future, he adds. 

“We want to offer our customers up-time availability, flexible solutions and long-term relationships,” says Thorson. “We have places that we can grow into now, as well as a better atmosphere for customers to do business.”

In conjunction with increased space in the store, the new location allows Stotz to more effectively display equipment so customers know what is available on the lot.

“We moved all of our equipment out here from in town,” Thorson says. “The visibility of the equipment is much better.”

“The new facility provides a better working environment for our employees and our customers,” comments Tuttle. “It is also built to where we can operate our service and parts departments more efficiently, thus creating less cost for customers.”

Name change

At the same time the Riverton facility was opening its new doors, both the Riverton and Casper stores, formerly Greenline Equipment, were renamed as Stotz Equipment.

“We started out as a family run business with three stores in Arizona,” explains Tuttle of the company history. “Through acquisitions and market and industry changes, we are now at 23 locations in eight states operating as three different named companies.”

Because of John Deere’s dealership requirements and the geographical positioning of each locations, they operated under three names. Arizona Machinery in Arizona, AA Equipment in California and Nevada and Greenline Equipment in Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming are run under the same family ownership.

“With the latest acquisition, we were able to join the areas,” says Tuttle. “Within the next year or two, everyone will be identified as Stotz Equipment.”

The Stotz name comes from a childhood nickname given to the current company President Tom Rosztoczy and Vice President Rob Rosztoczy.

“Because their name was a difficult Hungarian name, their classmates called the boys Stotz,” explains Tuttle.”

“This is strictly a name change,” he adds. “The Casper and Riverton stores are the first two to become Stotz Equipment. 

Company values

With the change, Tuttle emphasizes that the company remains the same.

“We are still the same family run organization – no different than a lot of the ranchers or farmers in the state of Wyoming,” says Tuttle. “We try to provide a higher level of service to our customers, and we try to go the extra mile.”

He continues that the company strives to treat customers as they would like to be treated and to invest resources in providing the best experience possible for customers.

“We are also investing in our communities,” he adds. “For example, in building the new store in Riverton, we used all sub-contractors from Riverton, all the labor and the majority of the materials also came from Fremont County.”

“We are big in supporting organizations like FFA and other groups,” Tuttle says. “Community is one of our core values, and we try to invest back in our communities. We instill that value from a company level and from a personal level, as well.”

Visit Stotz Equipment in Casper at 4920 Lathrop Road or in Riverton at 10801 Highway 789 or see their ad on page 3 for more information. 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..

Thayne – Star Valley-based Western artist Clark Kelley Price, who created the cover art on this year’s Rocky Mountain Horse Edition, says he’s drawn and painted Western scenes from the time he was young.
    “My dad exposed me to the outdoors when I was a little boy, and he took me hunting and camping. I was always interested in things like that,” says Price of his earliest days in the art world.
    Although he didn’t grow up on a ranch, Price says his father grew up on a ranch in southern Idaho, so Price grew up visiting and working in that part of the country.
    “The first painting I can remember selling was a little pastel drawing of a deer that I sold in junior high school for $1.76,” remembers Price, who went on to obtain an associate of arts degree from Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho and a bachelor of arts degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
The inspiration
    Today, Price says he visits new ranches and new areas for ideas for his art, and he also refers back to his own experiences working on ranches.
    “I also refer to experiences some of my friends have told me about,” he adds.
    To paint his scenes, Price imagines how they would work and how they would look, and then he uses a combination of photographs and his memory to paint.
    “Sometimes I paint strictly out of my mind, and sometimes I use photos for reference for things like the landscape,” he says.
    “I enjoy creating a scene that is reminiscent of something I’ve seen or done, or reminiscent of things I’ve read or heard about,” says Price, mentioning he enjoys historical scenes. “I like the idea of recreating things that have happened.”
    “The challenge in Western art is creating scenes that are authentic,” he continues. “They need to look and feel real, especially the animals and people, and not only their anatomy and structure, but also the way they look and their expressions – especially with horses. Many people can paint horses from a photograph, but there’s another element in painting not just how they look, but how they feel, and their personalities. That’s the most challenging and difficult part of Western paintings – making them feel right, and making them feel authentic.”
The process
    A 24- by 36-inch painting can take him one to two months to complete, while smaller works can take a week to two weeks, says Price.
    “I usually have at least three and up to seven paintings going at one time,” he says. “It depends how much pressure I’m under, but that works best for me, because if I work on only one at a time I get jaded and tired and start seeing cross-eyed. I like to set my paintings aside after a couple days, because a change is as good as a rest, and in painting that’s really true.”
    Price says his favorite medium is oil paint, although he also works in watercolor, pen and ink and some sculpting.
    “My main thing is oil paint, because I can cover all up my mistakes,” he says with a smile.
    Price says he doesn’t even know who many of his customers are, because he sells most of his work through four main art galleries in Florida, Arizona, Texas and Wyoming. However, he says he also has quite a few customers who buy directly from his studio in Star Valley.
    “I’ve sold paintings overseas in foreign countries – you never know who will be interested in Western art,” he says.
    He also does commission work for customers from coast to coast who ask him to paint a specific idea.
Patience and endurance
    “I love being an artist, and I’m glad I can do it for a living,” notes Price. “It’s very rewarding, but it’s also quite taxing. Painting is hard, and requires a lot of patience and endurance.”
    However, he says he believes paintings are a special thing that add richness to people’s lives.
   “When they have paintings, they can go back and look at them every day. I’ve had customers say they enjoy something new about my paintings every day, and that’s very satisfying to me,” he adds.
    Christy Martinez 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..
Crowheart – “I used to start colts when it was 10 below zero, standing outside on frozen ground,” remembers Steve Mecum. “If your feet are frozen long enough, you start thinking it would be nice to do something inside in the winter. That was the catalyst to me beginning to learn how to build saddles.”
    Mecum and his wife Kathy worked for the CM Ranch in Dubois for 15 years and have been cowboying for the Diamond D Cattle Company intermittently for the past 20. Mecum became interested in saddle making through his desire to ride good saddles, and looking at many of them through the lens of how he could improve them.
    “Whenever I purchased a saddle of my own, I could only think about how it should be different,” Mecum says. “Once you start building saddles you find out how hard it is to make a perfect saddle. There are about 104 individual pieces of leather that go into each saddle, and there are about 10 things that can go wrong with each one of them. Every year something else happens that I’ve never messed up before.”
    When the Mecums moved away from the CM, Steve had enough clientele to begin making saddles full-time. He found it hard to stay indoors and concentrate on leatherwork in the summer, though.
    “I jumped at the chance to run the cow camps for the Diamond D,” Mecum says. “They were having trouble keeping people. As soon as they saw a wolf or a bear sitting on dead cow and they were supposed to run it off, they didn’t like it. But I guess I’ve been around enough bears that it doesn’t bother me, or I’m dumber.”
    Mecum has built as many as 30 saddles in a year, but with cowboying in the summer for the Diamond D he now makes about a dozen each winter. For 10 years, Mecum enjoyed a waiting list of over two years. The troubled economy has lowered it to a steady one and a half. Mecum mainly builds slick forks, as their popularity has grown, which he attributes to natural horsemanship clinicians.
    “Ray Hunt promoted quality horsemanship, and he was riding quality gear,” Mecum says. “Hunt traveled all over the world riding Dale Harwood saddles. Harwood has the highest quality saddles that I’ve ever seen, and they’re consistently smooth. People may think if they have a saddle like Ray Hunt, their horse will act better; too bad it doesn’t work that way.”
    Mecum’s prices start at $4,500 for a basic saddle with minimal stamping and carving. He customizes everything from the stamping/carving to the saddle horn size to the type of stirrups. Mecum built his first saddle with oversight from Bob Douglas of Sheridan, and it took him over three weeks. Now he does a roughout in a week, with much better quality.
    “I try to build a saddle absolutely as fast as I can build it without making a mistake,” Mecum explains. “I’ve had saddles in shows where there was a contest and I’ve had judges tell me that they couldn’t find a mistake. It is nice of them, but they just didn’t find it. It is hard to make a perfect saddle, but there is nothing wrong with trying.”
    For seven years Mecum was a member of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA). To join, a new member must be voted in by 75 percent of the membership and create two museum-quality pieces a year to exhibit at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.
    “It was an honor to be a part of it, but also extremely stressful, as you’re under a lot of deadlines and pressure,” Mecum explains. “I did a lot of artistic saddles for TCAA and enjoyed it, but the saddles were mainly for rich people to display in their collections, and I didn’t like that.
    “My base price is expensive, but it’s still within reason for many people for a good saddle. It is nice to see a museum-quality saddle sell for $30,000, but I find it more gratifying to see one ridden every day. Whether I’m in the TCAA or not, it doesn’t change how I do things. I make all my stitches straight and even, and the leather pieces fit tightly and line up exactly.”
    Some customers have specific designs, while others choose from his patterns and a few allow Mecum free reign with the design. Smaller flowers increase the cost of a saddle, as they take longer to carve, while a basket weave stamp shortens the process and thus the price.
    “I would like to make a saddle some day where every single open spot is carved,” Mecum says. “Everything from the gullet to the stirrup leathers, just to say I did it.”
    Melissa Hemken is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup from Lander. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Powell – While Wyoming hasn’t always been her home, farming runs deep in Klodette Stroh’s blood.

“I was raised as an Assyrian in Tehran, the capital of Iran, where I learned to speak Aramaic, Persian, Hebrew and Turkish,” Stroh says. “The Assyrians are known as the nations of Mesopotamia, or the cradle of civilization. They farmed along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. I was raised with great respect for the land and the farmers who till God’s land to grow food to feed his people.”

Stroh also notes that the Assyrians are Christian Catholics and says her faith is a big part of her life.

“Raised as Christian Catholic, I take my faith in God very seriously, as does my husband Rick, whom I met while attending Northwest College in Powell,” she explains. “I consider myself as an instrument in God’s hands to serve Him and His people to do His will.”

Farming in the Basin

After meeting Rick, Stroh was immersed back into agriculture.

“Rick was raised on a farm near Powell,” she says. “His father, Reuben Stroh, moved from his childhood home in Colorado to Powell in the 1940s and began his career in agriculture.”

Rick was raised working alongside his father on farms around Powell.

“When we got married, I set aside my dream of becoming a doctor,” says Stroh. “Rick’s dream was being able to operate his own farm, and in 1989, with God’s blessing, our dream of operating our own farm became possible.”

The Stroh family raises beans, malt barley, corn and hay, which is fed to their Black Angus cattle.

“Each member of the family works on the family farm,” she continues. “I take care of the budget and much of the office work. Rick Jr. and our nephew Paul help with our farming.”

“Paul and Rick Jr. are Rick’s right-hand men, and it is such a blessing to have the strong relationship,” Stroh notes. 

The Wyoming Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta honored the Strohs in 2009 as the outstanding agriculturalists of year.

Bigger picture

After years of farming in Wyoming, Stroh says she began to look at U.S. agriculture as compared to that of foreign countries.

“I realized U.S. agriculture and farmers have built a strong foundation for this country,” she comments. “I got involved and began asking questions of our representatives in Congress about the industry.”

When Stroh began to see unstable commodity prices and government regulations beginning to impact agriculture more, she wrote letters to United States lawmakers.

“Farmers and ranchers spend money 364 days a year and have only one payday, if everything goes right,” Stroh says. “As my interest in agriculture policy grew, I joined and became active in the Wyoming Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) organization.”

Involvement

Within WIFE, Stroh represents the sugar and corn sweetener producers as the National Sugar Chairman.

Stroh recalls, “I travelled to Washington, D.C. for the 1996 Farm Bill to testify and meet with Dan Glickman, who was the secretary of Agriculture, and Kika de la Garza, who was the ranking chairman for the House Agriculture Committee.”

Stroh’s involvement in WIFE continues today, as she continually advocates for the agriculture industry in Powell, throughout Wyoming and across the nation.

Representing others

From there, Stroh continued her involvement by serving as the Shoshone Irrigation District Water Commissioner in 1997.

“The Shoshone Irrigation District Board appointed me to represent them on the Joint Power Board,” she says. “I worked with a $15 million budget for the rehabilitation and betterment of the 97,000 acres of land with water rights.”

She also represented Park and Big Horn Counties water users as part of the board for Wyoming Water Development. 

“I love to learn, and I make sure I do my homework,” Stroh says. “Water law has a language of its own, and I know the federal and state water laws by heart.”

Just this year, Stroh was elected to serve as a member of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) board in Powell.

“The FSA office is the official communicator between local farmers, landowners and the USDA,” she says, emphasizing the importance of the agency. 

She continues, “It is also an honor for me to serve Wyoming’s Senator Mike Enzi as his agriculture advisor.”

Continuing in ag

“It is truly humbling and a great honor to serve on all of these boards and represent the farmers of my state and nation,” Stroh says. “This is my mission, and I take it very seriously.”

Stroh works for hours on end each year to research, study and prepare for every meeting and presentation she makes at the state, local and national level. 

“It takes hours of research to prepare,” she comments, “but my speeches and presentations make an impact on decision makers and educates them about important issues facing the minority group of our country – farmers.”

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..


SIDEBAR: 
Women Involved in Farm Economics

Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) is a non-profit agricultural organization that started in Sidney, Neb. in December 1976. 

The grassroots organization is open to anyone involved or interested in agriculture.

WIFE is an independent entity that is policy-oriented, non-partisan and is dedicated to improving profitability in production agriculture though educational, legislative, communicative and cooperative efforts.

“WIFE will continue to work as a catalyst to bring about cooperation between farm organizations,” says the organization.