Jan Swan Wood: Sorry Chet, benefits, WNFR airing, wolves | TSLN.com

Jan Swan Wood: Sorry Chet, benefits, WNFR airing, wolves

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving gathering with family and friends. We ate too much, laughed too loud, and the little kids ran wildly through the house, so I would call it a perfect Thanksgiving. Having all of us there to be together was more than enough to be thankful for too. I hope yours was as sweet as ours.

I need to make a correction from a recent column concerning the Canadian National Finals Rodeo. I should have written that Chet Johnson was third in the average and third in the standings. Sorry for the error but it doesn't change that we're proud as punch of him and his accomplishments.

I recently attended two benefits for the Rancher Relief Fund. One was in my own little home town and it was a soup supper and silent auction. It raised a phenomenal amount of money and had items and certificates donated from folks and businesses all over the region. It's just amazing what can happen when a handful of people decide to do something and others jump in with them. Made me proud to be a part of this community.

The second benefit was the Grand Encampment "All About The Livestock" cowboy music and poetry show at the Lead Opera House. First of all, the folks putting this on are from Encampment, Wyo., which is clear down on the Wyo/Colo border west of Laramie. It's a really small town and a very rural area, yet they decided to help their neighbors to the north with all they had. The Lead Opera House donated the facilities and it just rolled from there. An amazing facility combined with outstanding entertainment and a near full house crowd made it quite a shindig. There was a silent auction and then a regular auction of items, mostly donated by folks from the Encampment region. The entertainers were from California, Wyoming and South Dakota and all donated their time and travel. It was just an outstanding success on every level.

I know there are so many great organizations and groups doing fundraisers and I can't possibly mention them all, but these two are ones that I personally attended and enjoyed. It moves me deeply that folks care so much. With everything from cattle donations, piggy banks emptied into envelopes, 4-H clubs selling calendars, and the myriad other things done to help the fund and therefore the ranchers and the industry, it just chokes me up. I have wept tears of grief for those who lost livestock and I have wept tears of joy for the caring of the country for them. Thank you, whoever you are, for the help, encouragement, effort and giving that you have done. We will never forget.

Some of the people affected by the devastating October storm decided to do something themselves to raise money for their friends and neighbors, and several young ranch women worked together to produce a calendar called Highway 34. It features photos of the big country as seen from Hwy 34 between Bear Butte and Hayes. The photos are laid over a vintage atlas of the area. It's big, beautiful country that can frighten the city folks with it's size, and this calendar honors that country with the photos therein. If you want to pre-order one, you can send a $25 check made out to Rancher's Relief Fund, to Jodene Shaw, P.O. Box 82, White Owl, SD 57792. You can email her at jjsshaw@gwrc.net or call her at 605-985-5489. This would be a great gift for someone for Christmas and could be mailed out direct to them I'm sure. They are expected to be shipped Dec. 20. There will only be 1,000 available.

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The rodeo world lost a legend with the passing of stock contractor Bob Barnes, of Iowa. Barnes, 84, started Barnes PRCA Rodeo and they are going to be at their 55th WNFR this year. The Barnes have hauled stock to rodeos for over 60 years and the family will continue on from Bob's start.

The WNFR runs from Dec 5-14 and all ten performances will be aired on the Great American Country network. Good thing people have ways of recording the perfs and the sleep deprivation from the late airing of the rodeo would be the end of some of them.

In Washington, 75 members of Congress sent a letter urging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered List in the lower 48. Preliminary de-listing had occurred, but the final word will come down from His Majesty whenever he gets around to it after the comment period ends. There are actually this same species of wolf found in 46 countries around the world. So, they aren't endangered. Anywhere. You can leave your comment about the de-listing until Dec. 17 on the USFWS site at http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery.

My circle is finished for this week, so we'll talk again soon. Send me your items and upcoming events.