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Cheyenne – Lifetime horse breeder and trainer Lorraine Grigsby of Cheyenne is the 2009 honoree of the Cowgirls of the West organization in Cheyenne.
    Involved with the group since its beginning, Grigsby says it formed in 1995. Of the annual honoree, she says, “They look for someone interested in the history of Cheyenne that has helped to support it in many ways, such as raising horses or helping in the museum and helping support the Cowgirls of the West organization.”
    “In the past they have picked someone who’s no longer living – someone who gave a great deal of effort to helping colonize the West and bring civilization here and make it a better place,” says Grigsby. “We go back and we like and study history, which includes programs every month on the history of how this part of the country was settled and how it came to where it is today.”
    “I didn’t grow up on a ranch, but I got my first horse at age seven and I’ve had them ever since,” she says, noting that she’s raised Thoroughbreds for the track, registered Quarter Horses and American Saddlebreds, which she says she loved.
    Grigsby was born in Milwaukee, Wisc. when her father was in medical school. “He brought us out here right after his graduation because he wanted to be near fishing, hunting, open spaces and good living. I love Wyoming,” she says.
    Of the Cowgirls of the West, Grigsby says the group participates in the Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) parade each year. In addition to a float they run an antique car that carries the honoree of the year.
    At a luncheon on July 20 she says 567 people attended the silent auction, raffle and style show. The group also has a store and museum downtown. “People came this year from Canada, Australia and New York,” she says of this year’s event.
    Throughout the year the Cowgirls of the West helps with Denim and Diamonds, which raises money for local municipal hospitals, and Laramie events. At CFD they also organize a kids’ costume competition, with 100 entries in 2009.
    “I still have horses, and I now live on an acreage outside of Cheyenne with six left,” she says. Currently she has one Thoroughbred and the remainder are Quarter Horses. “My Thoroughbreds have always had the bloodlines of Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Native Dancer, and in my Quarter Horses I like Impressive, Hollywood Dun It, Hollywood Gold and Zan Par Bar.”
    Because she enjoys training young horses the most, Grigsby says she keeps her foals until they’re three or four and fully trained. “I like a really gentle, easily-handled horse for everybody, and for that you have to start when they’re just born.”
    Of living in the West and in Cheyenne, she says, “I like the blue skies and the people, because they’re really patriotic Americans. They really believe in this country and Cheyenne is known as volunteer city. People volunteer for everything, they’re good neighbors and there’s a lot of history here. We have many organizations that pursue history. It’s just a great place to live and raise kids.”
    Of Cowgirls of the West, she says, “It’s a wonderful organization, and if you have one in your own town, it’s worthwhile, because you meet the nicest people.”
    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..

Cheyenne – For Jessie Dafoe, agriculture has always been a part of her life, and she has taken her ag roots and used them to inspire her career.

“I was thankfully born into agriculture,” says Dafoe. “I grew up on a ranch 25 miles northeast of Cheyenne.”

Life on the ranch for Dafoe has always been a story of women working in agriculture.

“My brother was just young enough that when my dad needed help, it was always the three of us girls,” explains Dafoe, referencing her sisters Amy and Stacia Berry. “Ranching was never thought of as a man’s job. The three blonde Berry girls were always dad’s crew.”
Because she grew up in a place where women were strong and necessary to making their operation run, Dafoe notes that agriculture is, has been and will continue to be part of her life.

Growing up

Dafoe grew up on a ranch homesteaded in 1910.

“My great-grandfather and his sons ran the operation until 1980,” she comments. “At that time the brothers decided to divide everything up.”

Dafoe’s father and grandfather reinvested in the Hereford cattle that had been sold. Today, the ranch continues to run Herefords, and Dafoe is proud to be a part of the operation.

“I am thankful and humbled by the opportunity have been raised on family-run operation,” Dafoe says. “I was able to grow up showing steers and breeding cattle in 4-H and FFA and experiencing county fair, state fair and all of the in-between events that entail growing up on a ranch.”

Whether she was putting up hay, branding, moving cattle or learning the leadership and business skills integral in a ranch, Dafoe notes that agriculture is an industry in which she is fortunate to be a part. 

“Having a calf die in your arms, being dad’s right hand man at age eight and coffee breaks at grandma’s house are experiences that made me fall in love with agriculture at an early age,” Dafoe says. “My family has also played an incredible role in my life. They have been so supportive in everything I do.”

Continuing education

Following high school, Dafoe says she was fortunate to be selected as the Wyoming State FFA Association President. She made the decision to attend the University of Wyoming, where she studied ag business.

“I took the five-year route before I graduated,” Dafoe notes. “At UW, I was an ag ambassador, an ASUW senator for the College of Ag and a member of the Tri-Delta sorority.”

Dafoe also competed in the Wyoming Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet, where she won a trip to the national contest.

“One of the issues for the national discussion meet was water, and I didn’t know anything about water,” comments Dafoe. “Kerin Clark set up a meeting with Harriet Hageman and Kara Brighton to help me learn more.”

After competing in the national contest, Dafoe says Hageman and Brighton offered her a summer position with the organization now called the Wyoming Resource Alliance.

“Those ladies encouraged me,” she adds, noting that Hageman and Brighton’s influence led her to spend a semester interning for Representative Cynthia Lummis in Washington, D.C.

She says that each experience of her college career shaped her in a different way, particularly citing her time in Washington, D.C. as an incredible experience.

“After I graduated, I continued to work part-time for the Wyoming Resource Alliance,” Dafoe continues.

After eight months, Dafoe notes that the position she currently holds opened.

“I first read the ad for the Wyoming Ag in the Classroom opening in the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. I remember sitting back in my desk and thinking, there is no way they will hire someone of my age or experience. My advice to young women is to try anyway.” 

Dafoe started with organization in April of 2011.

Ag education

Though Wyoming Ag in the Classroom (WAIC) wasn’t where she pinpointed her future, Dafoe says, “I feel incredibly fortunate to be working for WAIC. The board is really a grassroots effort of men and women who believe in this cause.”

“To be surrounded by the people of the WAIC board is a phenomenal experience,” she continues, marking an emphasis for agriculture and the youth engagement in the industry as being inspiring.

“It is very exciting, especially as someone who is vested in Wyoming’s growth and growing the next generation of Wyoming’s stewards,” Dafoe says. “I take this job very seriously.”

In the position, Dafoe notes that she is an integral part in helping the next generations of Wyoming youth to understand where their food and fiber comes from. 

Additionally, she says, “Really, we are working as trustees for Wyoming’s future.”

“I’m very thankful that every day I wake up, I’m doing something I care about, something I have a passion for and something that carries great weight,” Dafoe comments. 

Making changes

“I remember being in high school and like many FFA students, I wanted to be able to make a difference, but figuring out what that looks like is more challenging,” Dafoe explains. “With WAIC, I have come into an organization ready to tackle a challenge, grow and educate our youth. It is very exciting and very humbling.”

At the same time, she notes that WAIC is more than just a publication or a bookmark contest.

“We are true trustees of Wyoming’s youth,” she comments.

For the future

Looking forward, Dafoe comments that she doesn’t know where life will take her next, but she feels strongly about continuing to be involved in agriculture.

“I want to be involved in ag and to continue being a trustee of Wyoming’s future,” she says. “Right now, I look at one day at a time to see where I can make a difference in the ag industry.”

“Working for this nonprofit is similar to working on the ranch. There are days that are long and it is challenging but every minute is worth it. I feel blessed to work where my heart is,” Dafoe adds. “The exciting part for me is that I don’t know what my next step is, but I know the people I have met and relationships built will always be there.”

Advice to young women

Dafoe says that the secret to being a successful woman in the agriculture industry is to develop strong mentors. 

“I think about Cynthia Lummis, Bobbie Frank, Harriet Hageman, Kara Brighton, Mantha Philips and other women that I have been surrounded by who helped me grow,” says DaFoe. “It is worth taking the time to find a great mentor and get to know those women who are successful.”

Dafoe suggests continually reaching out to those mentors for support.

She adds, “There is something to be said for people who are passionate.”

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..

Kemmerer – Bob Peternal has lived in Kemmerer all his life, and now operates a small ranch west of town with his wife Shirley and son Steven.  

Bob’s grandfather started the family ranch that he now runs in 1934. 

“A long time ago, when my grandfather first bought the ranch, he opened the Union Meat Market in Kemmerer,” Bob says. “They raised and slaughtered beef and pork to sell in the shop.”

After Bob’s grandfather died, his father and two uncles took over the ranch, and they acquired two additional ranches. 

Diverse ranch

Peternal Brothers Inc. also ran pigs and sheep, but Bob notes that his father sold the sheep in 1957. The Union Meat Market remained open until 1985.

“My grandma died in 1979, and the brothers decided that they would dissolve the corporation,” Bob explains. “Each one of the brothers got a ranch.”

On the property they now occupy, Bob’s father ranched for a number of years. Bob took over the operation of the ranch in 1990 after the death of his father. 

Bob hasn’t always been strictly a rancher, rather working for Utah Power and Light for 27 years. When he retired early, he came back to the ranch to have a few cows and put up some hay.

“Our son has an ag engineering degree, but he decided that he wanted to be involved in the family ranch,” says Bob. 

Hams Fork operation

Today, Bob, his wife Shirley and son Steven run 300 Black Angus cows in the valley of the Hams Fork River west of Kemmerer.

Steven’s wife Laurie, who also helps on the ranch, is a teacher. They have two sons Wyatt and Tucker.

“About one-third of the cows are our sons,” says Bob. “We also put up around 600 or 700 tons of hay. It is all wild hay, so there is no second crop.”

“We used to have some Red Angus, but black cows bring a better price,” Shirley notes. 

Because of the high altitude, Bob notes that feeding usually starts around Dec. 15 and continues through the middle of May before they turn out on BLM or private rangelands.

“We feed hay half the year,” Shirley says. “The cows don’t care if it is Christmas or not; they still want to eat.”

Each cow eats about two tons of hay each year, explains Bob, who notes that because of their crop they occasionally have to buy hay. 

An average year

“An average year starts when we calve in the spring,” Shirley explains. “We don’t start calving until mid-March.”

Heifers calve two weeks before the main herd and calving continues through the early parts of May.

“After May 15, we turn out to various allotments,” she says, noting that they have higher land in the mountains. “After we turn out, we start irrigating the fields, followed by haying which begins around the first of August.”

In order to maintain a healthy calf herd, Shirley notes that they vaccinate calves twice each year. 

“It gets too cold at night and too hot during the day,” explains Shirley. “We give them a viral shot and 8-way combined with pneumonia in the spring, and then repeat the process in the fall.”

At the end of October, they sell calves by private treaty. 

“We begin feeding when the snow comes, and the year starts over again with spring calving,” she says.

“We make some adjustments,” Shirley adds, saying that, for example, last year they fed liquid supplements. “That was really costly, so this year, we are going to buy alfalfa to supplement our hay crop instead.”

Specific care 

Because their cows are important and the lifeline of the business, Shirley says, “We are very particular about how our animals are handled.”

By providing particular care for the animals, Shirley says their treatments are more effective, noting that shots, for example, are most effective when given correctly to animals that are calm.

“Our cows aren’t rushed through the chute, and we make sure things are done exactly right,” Shirley continues. “We also keep intensive records.”

In their records, the Peternal’s note all details, from the demeanor of the cow to data about her calves. They also age and source verify their cattle through the Wyoming Business Council. 

Beyond cattle

“We’ve had emus for a long time,” Bob mentions. “They were supposed to supplement the cattle market.”

With emu marked as the next potential lean, red meat, the Peternal’s invested in the market and intended to sell the emus for profit, until the market fell out.

“We had 50 emus at one time,” Shirley says. “We only have two remaining pairs.”

Shirley used to decorate and sell emu eggs as well, but today she keeps the emus as pets to live out their lives. 

They also have llamas on the property.

“More than half of our llamas are rescue animals,” Shirley says. “They patrol the area around the chicken and emu pens keeping predators away.”   

In addition to helping run the ranch, Bob also participates on a number of local board and organizations, particularly those related to conservation efforts. As a member of the Lincoln County Conservation District Board, the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts Area V Board, the Coalition of Local Governments and the Senior Citizens Board, as well as a Farm Bureau member, Bob stays busy.

Leaving a legacy

The Peternal’s son, Steven, and his family currently live on the ranch property. He manages the operation. 

“Steven will take over the ranch,” says Shirley, “adding a fourth generation of Peternal ownership to the property.”

“The reason we have stayed on the ranch is so we have the legacy of the land to pass on to our son – that is the main object,” she continues. “Some springs after a rough calving season, we wonder why we keep ranching, but we do it for the future generations.”

Shirley adds, “The land is a legacy that must be preserved because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.” 

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..

Tinsley joins Wyoming Ag Hall of Fame

Casper – Sitting in a motel room in South Dakota in the early 1970s, Del Tinsley would have never guessed what seemed at the time to be a struggling career selling advertising would lead him to a position as one of Wyoming agriculture’s most widely recognized leaders.
    Having recently completed auctioneering school, it was 1970 and Del was offered a job as a field man with then Cheyenne-based Wyoming Stockman Farmer. “I made a $1,000 a month and they paid all of my expenses,” recalls Del, noting his territory as everything outside of Wyoming. Out on his first trip to make sales for the summer breeders’ directory, he’d traveled across Nebraska and into South Dakota. “I’d opened 150 gates and hadn’t sold a single ad of significant size,” he says. “I thought I was going to get fired when I got home.”
    Del sat down with the Hereford Journal and, flipping through the pages, came to an article that noted Wyoming’s position as the state with the highest averaging bull sales in the nation. New information in hand, he started calling people back. “By sales time I’d sold more dollar-wise than the field man who had Wyoming as his territory,” recalls Del. By the time he left the publication five years later he was selling advertising across the region, Wyoming included.
    It was a job offer from the Record-Stockman, the leading publication for Hereford breeders at a time when the breed dominated the industry, that lured Del to Colorado. “We had the top field men in the nation,” recalls Del, who went on to be one of the top salesmen in the industry before returning to Wyoming. “I was watching my kids play in our back yard and thinking about my own childhood and some of the opportunities I had,” says Del of his decision to return home.
    Still a young man with a young family, Del’s accomplishments in the agricultural industry, by the time he parted ways with the Record Stockman, were noteworthy for a kid whose family lived in downtown Guernsey and whose father worked in the nearby mines. Not born into an agricultural family, Del knew early on that was his life passion and made every effort to learn the industry. Drawn to agriculture at a young age, he’s mastered the art of combining that passion with the drive to succeed.
    “I hated living in town,” recalls Del. “I had a love for horses, cows and the outdoors.” One of the very few town kids who knew every ranch in the region, Del could often be found riding his bike through town in search of local ranchers willing to take him home and put him to work.
    Chet Hazelwood, who ranched north of Hartville, took a liking to Del and would often take him home to work for a few days. While he was there he taught him how to break colts, a trait that proved useful in subsequent ranch jobs. At 13 Del took a summer job up Horseshoe Creek working for three dollars a day and the following summer he went to work for the Frederick family outside of Guernsey. Between his junior and senior years of high school he went to work for “Peach” Shaw at Jay Em on the Red Cloud Cattle Company. His ability with a horse earned him the right to work with the livestock while the seven or eight other boys employed for the summer worked in the hay field.
    A love for ranching and livestock, along with the desire to raise his children in Wyoming, brought Del back to the Cowboy State following his stint with the Record Stockman. Back at home, Del put his auctioneering talents to use at local farm sales and partnered in what was then Stockman Livestock and leased ranches in the Glendo area. “I wanted to ranch so bad I went broke trying to do it,” says Del of the early 1980s, a time that proved challenging for many in agriculture. He says he soon learned he needed to think like a businessman and broaden his pursuits so he got his real estate license and spent a few years selling real estate in Wyoming and later in Arizona. While it was a difficult time, it undoubtedly left him better prepared to tackle the opportunities ahead.
    In the late 1980s Del had the opportunity to become part owner in the fledgling Wyoming Livestock Roundup. While logic left him wondering if a state the size of Wyoming could support its own livestock publication, Del says he felt compelled to grasp the opportunity and try it. It’s an endeavor he says held pleasant surprises and new opportunities around each corner.
    Thinking outside of the box, he began attending Wyoming Ag Lenders meetings and asking bankers to purchase the publication for their agricultural customers. Bank after bank signed on and the publication continued to grow. In areas where banks didn’t purchase the subscriptions, Del says the subscription cards just kept rolling in. Traditional with Wyoming ag, however, he laughs, “I’d get to looking and sometimes notice there would only be one subscription along a given county road. I’d call and ask for a subscription from the others and soon learn the paper was being shared among neighbors. That’s just the way Wyoming agriculture works.”
    The Roundup also landed Del in a new position as a voice for the state’s agricultural community. Via a weekly column and service as chairman of a very active Wyoming Board of Agriculture he continually grew his knowledge base and advocacy on behalf of the industry. More than one of Del’s weekly columns resulted in a flood of phone calls and letters to Wyoming legislators or the state’s Congressional Delegation. His work on behalf of the industry earned him recognition by the Wyoming Stock Growers with their Guardians award and by the Wyoming Wool Growers Association with their media award. Del has also been honored by the Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association and received a belt buckle as the outstanding Wyoming State Fair supporter.
    Del’s efforts have earned him recognition as an inductee into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame. He, along with Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna, was honored Aug. 13 at the Wyoming State Fair. Each year, readers of the Roundup nominate individuals they believe to be deserving of entry into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame, started in 1992. A panel of judges selects two inductees from among the candidates for their work to improve the state’s agricultural industry.
    It’s befitting that Del’s induction into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame took place at the Wyoming State Fair. A long-time advocate of the Fair, Del has often spoken out on the positive benefits youth see from participation in the event. He’s often reflected on how nice it is to see the next generation of Wyoming’s leaders gathered in Douglas for the week.
    In 1999 Del bought out his partner in the Roundup and he and his wife Sandy relocated the publication to Casper. “We could be centrally located, attend more agricultural events and have access to a more skilled labor force and more technology,” recalls Del. In its new location Del continued to grow the publication and in 2004 he sold it to local rancher and businessman Dennis Sun.
    “It was important to me that somebody purchase the Roundup who would keep it alive for the long-term and the benefit of the state’s agricultural industry,” says Del.
    Later in 2004, after Del sold the publication, late U.S. Senator Craig Thomas asked him to serve as Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development offices in Wyoming. In that role Del continues to keep Wyoming agriculture at heart growing awareness about programs to expand and diversify Wyoming agriculture.
    Del’s wife Sandy is a field representative for U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, working from the Senator’s Casper office. They have three children-B.J. Axford of Wheatland, Wendy Meagher of New York and Jana Schankle of Germany. They recently lost a son, Brigadier General Thomas Tinsley. Services with full military honors will be held for Tom at Arlington National Cemetery in mid-September.
    Del’s tenure with Rural Development will come to an end with the end of President Bush’s term. Hopefully he’ll spend a little more time fly-fishing and enjoying retirement, but it’s almost certain he’ll continue to be one of Wyoming agriculture’s biggest fans and most widely recognized leaders.
    Jennifer Womack 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..

Lusk – Dax Dockery says when he was thinking about a junior leader project for his final year in 4-H, he realized that there were some 4-Hers in South Dakota who weren’t as lucky as he was and decided to reach out.

“My dad and I sat down and thought that a good project would be to give back to 4-H members who lost livestock during Winter Storm Atlas,” Dax says. “I figured I’d help out with a couple of heifers.”

Dax’s parents Matt and Tandy Dockery note that they quickly jumped on board to support their son.

“We didn’t send any money to relief efforts and thought that it would be better to help some kids who had lost cattle,” says Matt. “Dax thought this might be a good project.”

Setting it up

Dax began working with 4-H Extension Educators in South Dakota to begin the project.

“I wrote up a criteria of what I wanted the applicants to put in an essay to apply for a heifer,” he says. “I wanted them to tell me what happened, what they lost and what their occupational plans for the future were.”
He spread the word about the heifers by contacting the Extension Educators and received essays from several applicants.

“We chose a couple of girls who we felt deserved these two heifers,” Dax says.

The Dockery family donated one heifer, and Pat and JoAnn Wade donated a second animal.

“When I contacted the family who won, they were very excited,” he continues. “Then, I started working with the heifers.”

Positive experience

Dax notes that he didn’t want to take away part of the project by halter breaking the heifers, but he also didn’t want to give two young girls wild heifers, either.

“I started halter breaking the heifers just to make sure I wasn’t giving them a wild one,” he says. “When I start halter breaking them, I put the heifers in a small square pen and make sure they are comfortable with me. Then I put a halter on them and rub them down, so they are comfortable around humans.”

Matt notes that Dax enjoys the time he spent with the heifers and preparing the animals was a positive experience.

“It was a really good learning experience for Dax,” Matt comments. “He had to make a lot of phone calls and develop the different criteria he thought should be required.”

Delivery

Laney and Morgan Mackaben were selected as the recipients of Dax’s two heifers.

When Dax and Monte Wade delivered the heifers to Belle Fourche, S.D., it was 25 degrees below zero, but the feeling was still rewarding. 

“I get a pretty good feeling, especially when we saw the look on their faces and how happy they were,” Dax explains. “It really meant something to them that someone cared.”

“It sure makes a guy feel good,” he adds. 

Proud parents

Matt and Tandy both note that Dax’s effort made them extremely proud as parents.

“I’m awful proud of him,” Matt says. “It was quite a collaborative effort with Pat and JoAnn Wade. After talking to them, they said they’d like to donate a heifer, and Dax was awful excited about the project.”

Tandy comments, “We are proud of him. He has such a big heart and it makes me so happy.”

She also notes that the response Dax has received has been incredibly positive, and the experience has been really great.

4-H experience

Dax is a 10-year Niobrara County 4-H member. He has raised a steer for the market beef project every year he was involved in 4-H.

“The past two years, I have raised the Champion Black Angus Steer,” he says. “I’ve also been in meat judging for nine years. Last year, I was able to attend the national contest in Kansas City, Mo.”

At the contest, the team placed fourth.

Dax is also a three-year livestock judge and has competed in shooting sports for four years.

“After I graduate high school this year, I plan on going to Sheridan for a diesel degree,” Dax comments. “I hope to get a job, and after I pay off my school, I’d love to come back to the ranch and work here.”

He adds, “I’ve always known that there is more to learn about leadership and helping others. I want to continue to improve on those skills.”

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..