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Hope, Faith, and Prayers for Rain

“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.” –St. Teresa of Avila

Drought looms heavy on the minds of ranchers as another open winter quickly turns to another dry spring. The situation is starting to look bleak for ranchers peering over the abyss of high hay prices and dry, dusty pastures.

Father Bryce Lungren of Gillette, Wyoming is the parish priest for the rural towns of Hulett, Moorcroft, and Wright, which means that a good number of his parishioners are involved in agriculture. He knows their distress, and he is not waiting until the situation becomes dire: the priest is doing something about it right now.

“Always wear your hat,” says the priest who promptly places his hat on his head following each mass. Photo courtesy Bryce Lungren.

Beginning in February, Lungren has been passing out prayer cards with his Prayer for Moisture at cow sales, bull sales, during mass, and to anyone in passing. He says, “Ranchers are king of ‘it’s going to rain next year.’ Then we have a dry winter and here we’re coming into spring, and I’m like, our track record isn’t good. I don’t think these guys can survive another dry year […] It’s on everybody’s mind, but I don’t want to wait until May to start praying for rain.”

Gaining as many prayers as possible, he rallied his parishioners around praying a Novena for Rain, based upon the ancient practice of praying for a particular favor over nine successive days. The culmination of this novena was a mass held at the Durham Buffalo Ranch near Wright, Wyoming on March 30.

Some have questioned the bold claims that Lungren is making about faith. To any who doubt, he points to the Scripture which he includes in his prayer, “Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in my name, he will give it to you, John 16:23.” Still others question the efficacy of his prayers, doubting their purpose if it will rain anyway. To this he says, “I would gladly be a laughingstock if it rains.” To have hope is to have humility, and Lungren has both.

Lungren’s roots are also in Wyoming agriculture, so this is a meaningful campaign for him. He grew up on a fifth-generation homestead in Worland at the mouth of Gooseberry Creek, where he and his family farmed irrigated land. After graduating high school, he took a job working for his uncle in Helena, Montana at his trailer sales business. Later, he began calving for a family, and fell in love with their daughter. “That was my first experience of full-time ranching. I thought to myself, ‘Every gift and desire I’ve ever had is right here.’ I loved ranching. I was there for three years and we got engaged,” he said.

Lungren enjoys helping his parishioners whenever he can, so starting a widespread devotion to his Prayer for Moisture seemed like one of the best ways to serve his ranching communities. Photo courtesy Bryce Lungren.

“After 9/11, things changed. I felt a real desire to go all in with the Lord, like Saint Francis, but I didn’t know what that looked like. I just wanted to go all in with God,” says Lungren. After spending more time in study and prayer, he realized that he was not on the path meant for him. “The desire for the priesthood came back, and [God] and I had to make some tough decisions, but He made it known that He was calling me. So I left,” he says.

Like Peter and Andrew, Lungren “laid down his nets,” which meant ending his engagement and leaving the ranching lifestyle he had come to love. “When I left the ranch, I left it all. This is how I know I went all in with the Lord: I gave my pickup to the monastery and bought a Subaru,” Lungren laughs. He enrolled in seminary, and in eight years became a priest.

During the final year of his seminary, Lungren had his vocation, but was wrestling with his location. “When I went to seminary, I signed up for the Diocese of Helena, but I always longed for home. As I was trying to figure things out, I went and stayed with my priest friend on the [Wind River] Reservation. The doors were open to come to Wyoming, but I didn’t know how to reconcile that with my felt obligation to Montana. Providence played out,” he says. One day, an unstarted stallion ran into the mission of St. Stephen’s near Riverton. When Lungren saw him, he knew that would be his horse. At the same time, it signified something bigger. “When I saw that horse and I listened to my heart, I thought, ‘I am called home,’” he says. So, he accepted his position at St. Matthew’s in Gillette (as well as the three mission parishes) in 2019, and “Chief” has been with him ever since.

Father Bryce Lungren lives out his vocation in a unique way as a “cowboy priest.” Growing up in Wyoming means that agriculture and the state are close to his heart and calling. Photo courtesy Bryce Lungren.

Lungren gave his life to God, and God gave his life back to him. Being authentic as a priest is his “modus operandi,” and he has found ways to keep ties with agriculture while serving his parish communities. He now has two horses, which he rides to check his lease near Hulett.

Passionate about using his stock rack, Lungren hauls “Chief” with him whenever there is an opportunity to ride or check pasture. He is pictured here with another Wyoming cowboy, Chancey Williams. Photo courtesy Bryce Lungren.

There, he runs a dozen heiferettes every year, which he butchers himself. Lungren also enjoys building, and helps the John Paul II Catholic School students build picnic tables for fundraising. “I live out my sonship as Bryce, as I serve as Father Bryce. It’s the proper ordering. The priest God wants me to be is the man God encourages me to be. He’s not trying to transform me into someone different,” he says.

Lungren finishes and processes a dozen heiferettes each year and enjoys spending time in his personal butcher shop when not attending to his priestly duties. Photo courtesy Bryce Lungren.

“In July 2020, Wyoming passed an amendment to the Food Freedom Act that allows a producer to cut and distribute their own meat, without being a meat cutting facility,” Lungren says. After spending the morning in his parish office, he can be found on many afternoons in the refrigerator trailer which he transformed into his own butcher shop. He does not sell the meat, but shares the meat with shareholders in his herd. “I would never want to do it for a living, but a few hours here and there keeps me grounded. Knowing that the work you’re doing is going to feed somebody that you care about and love, essentially, it’s just so motivating. I gladly work into the night there. It’s a huge gift,” he says. Throughout the year, he enjoys helping at brandings, trail riding, and traveling on pilgrimages around the world.

Lungren was recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the Wyoming Priest of the Year in 2021 (awarded only recently, due to Covid). You are welcome to join him in praying for rain.

Prayer for Moisture, by Fr. Bryce Lungren

Oh God, our Heavenly Father, you promised to give your children whatever they ask for in the name of Jesus your son. (John 16:23) Therefore, I ask you to pour out much needed moisture upon our dry land. Grant us adequate means to fill our rivers and reservoirs and provide for spring and summer grass and crops. Please also send us your Holy Spirit to grant us wisdom in how to deal with these challenging times. We ask this all with confidence in your providential love and through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Busy for the holiday: Restaurants, shops welcome guests back to a Vail Village that resembles pre-COVID times

People shop and explore the village Saturday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

For the first time since 2019, visitors are returning to a Vail Village that resembles the one we all know and love from pre-COVID times.

Gone are the plexiglass barriers, the capacity restrictions and the ubiquitous mask mandates. Across all industries in the village, businesses are celebrating a return to normalcy, and are able to serve a clientele that is rapidly returning to pre-pandemic numbers and demographics.

The Red Lion, the apres-ski mainstay located right near Gondola One, is back at full capacity after operating at 50% volume all of last winter.

Raquelle Ahrens has been a bartender at the Red Lion for four years, and she said the classic communal atmosphere that the restaurant was famous for before COVID is already returning.

“Last year, we had every other table blocked off, and this year we have strangers that can sit together, so it’s really nice,” Ahrens said. “We’ve definitely been picking up this week with the holiday, and it’s been really busy — which is great for us — but I’m just excited to see that apres where we’re shoulder to shoulder and everyone is dancing and singing together.”

This time last year, if you were at one of the live music shows that take place daily in bars across the village, you are probably familiar with the little plexiglass rooms that the performers were required to play in so that they could sing safely without a mask. Thanks to the vaccination progress that has been made locally and across the country, live singers have been released from their plexiglass cages and are free to connect with audiences face to face.

The Red Lion stays busy Saturday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“We had our singer in what we called the aquarium — he looked like he was in a little fishbowl,” Ahrens said, laughing at the memory. “But that’s all gone now, and we can just have that live music the way we like it and the way we’re used to.”

Stores in the village similarly had to reduce capacity and adapt their customer service practices to help slow the spread of the virus. Canon Kirchner, a sales associate at Christy Sports on Bridge Street, said that rental and gear shop employees did everything they could to ensure the safety of staff and customers during sales interactions.

“At least from renting and selling boots and that sort of stuff, we were very aware of it,” Kirchner said. “Obviously you need to get in close, but we had barriers up on the rental benches and we were distancing ourselves when we could. Our shop was very good, last year, about cleaning and making sure our customers were wearing masks. We lasted all winter last year without anybody in our shop getting sick, and that’s because we were making sure we were staying safe.”

The effort enabled Christy Sports to keep its staff protected without sacrificing sales, as Kirchner said the shop did not see any significant reduction in gear sales and rental services last year. Now, staffers are able to welcome customers into the space without keeping them 6 feet apart or divided by a barrier, and Kirchner said that in this past week the shop has served even more customers than during Thanksgiving pre-pandemic times.

“I would say that and more,” Kirchner said. “It’s been a very busy Thanksgiving.”

People peruse the village Saturday in Vail. Business throughout the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend has been robust.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

At hotels in the village, room availability was not reduced, but capacity limitations were placed on shared spaces, such as the lobby, spa and restaurant areas. With different areas of the country requiring very different levels of COVID-19 restrictions, visitors from other states were also unclear on what they could and could not do in the valley.

Gabriel Gonzalez is the guest services manager at the Evergreen Vail Lodge and Resort, and he said a significant part of his job last year was to get guests up to speed with local restrictions.

“Last year, with everything going on and the whole mask restriction and all those details, it was a lot of explaining to everyone how everything worked,” Gonzalez said. “Some people were uncertain on where they could go eat, where they could hang out, where they could go out for drinks, so it was a little difficult there. Being able to answer those questions for them made them feel a bit better as far as going out into town.”

COVID-related questions still come up, but in general guests are confident to explore the village on their own again under looser regulations. Gonzalez also said he is happy to see international visitors returning to the valley, after being held back by border restrictions in 2020.

“We were still pretty busy, but of course, we didn’t have the international guests,” Gonzalez said. “It was mostly people coming from the Front Range area, from Denver, or from other states close by. We’re definitely going back to what would be considered somewhat normal, we’re getting international travelers this weekend. People are coming from Japan and Mexico, so I think the restrictions on some of these countries are getting a little bit looser, and we’re seeing more travelers coming from international destinations.”

While COVID-19 remains a force to be reckoned with in Eagle County, and across the globe, the difference between this November and last is dramatic. A year ago at this time, not a single Eagle County resident had been vaccinated against the virus. Julie Scales, a respiratory therapist at Vail Health, was the first local to get the shot on Dec. 16, 2020. In the ensuing 12 months, Eagle County has become one of the most vaccinated counties in a state that is among the most vaccinated in the country.

While COVID-19 transmission remains elevated in the county, the trajectory has been going down, with the one-week cumulative incidence rate dropping to 198 cases per 100,000 as of Saturday.

Walk into a hotel in the village now, and you will see guests from all over the world enjoying the common spaces and being able to interact in a relaxed environment, without the constant burden of fear of infection and the unknown.

“We’re just happy to be going back to somewhat normal times,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just nice to see more people hanging out, walking around and feeling safe, and it’s nice to see a lot more guests.”

The ability to connect and create memories is arguably the greatest gift to be restored during the holiday season this year.

“There’s just kind of been that big exhale,” Ahrens said. “I just like seeing all our guests coming in, and they don’t have that hesitancy of talking to someone new or meeting someone or shaking someone’s hand. It’s really nice to see everyone relax a little bit and lean back into meeting new people and creating new memories. I think that’s the best and biggest thing that we have going on this year.”

Country Christmas Gift Guide

We all have farmers and ranchers on our Christmas list and since we can’t gift them better weather, we are tasked with finding a gift they will appreciate… and don’t already own. Luckily, there are plenty of practical and thoughtful gift ideas to show them you care. Here are 11 gift ideas that the rural folks in your life will be sure to love!

Western Apparel, Jewelry, Accessories, Gifts and Home Decor

Allure Boutique // Wyoming

Quality fashion with a western flare for classy women and children. Top notch shopping experience including jewelry, accessories, gifts and home decor.

Allure Wyoming
211 N 2nd St, Douglas, WY 82633
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Allure.Douglas.WY
Instagram: @allurewyoming

Custom Home Decor

Crafted Simply Inc. // Colorado

Crafted Simply can make all kinds of personalized engraved décor including photo memory boards, wedding boards, welcome signs, livestock décor, wall décor, and personalized stainless steel tumblers. We’re based in Colorado and ship throughout the country. Let us bring your idea to life! Call or text us anytime!

Crafted Simply Inc.
(970) 412-2826 – Call or Text
FB: https://www.facebook.com/craftedsimplyinc/

Cross Five Cattle Livestock Vaccination Coolers

Cross Five Cattle Cooler // South Dakota

2, 3 or 4 holster dual compartment, color-coded vaccination and medication livestock organization cooler systems.

The Cross Five Cattle Cooler system has color-coded vaccine gun holsters and an 8-inch barrel with enclosed ends to ensure optimal safety. The “gun” side of the cooler has a space for an ice pack. The holsters promote viability of your vaccine by keeping your vaccine cool and shaded while not in use. All compartments can be easily removed for washing.

Cross Five Cattle Coolers, LLC
(605) 490-3253
FB: https://www.facebook.com/crossfivecattlecoolers/

Storage Buildings, Minibarns and Utility Sheds

Cumberland Buildings // Colorado

Built in Colorado with care and pride.
When Cumberland Buildings first started in 2012, the idea was straightforward: Build storage buildings that are made of heavy-duty, durable, high-quality materials. Simple! Ever since then, each building has been built in the tradition of Mennonite craftsmanship and manufactured in the United States by our highly-skilled American craftsmen.

Cumberland Buildings
FB: https://www.facebook.com/cumberlandbuildings

Quality Hemp & CBD Products

Hempward Farms // Colorado

Feeling Stressed? Sore from all the decorating?Christmas is coming. While it is a wonderful time of year, the holidays can be stressful as well. Give yourself a gift this season, and find relief with CBD.

  • promote relaxation
  • quiet the mind for restful sleep
  • provide overall wellness
  • ease joint discomfort
  • calm inflammation
  • aid a healthy gut

Hempward Farms
(303) 479-3631
FB: https://www.facebook.com/HempwardFarms/

Mineral Tub Lifter

Mineral Tub Lifter // Montana

Work Smart…Not Hard
We make it easier for you to handle your Mineral Tubs – plastic, metal & biodegradable! Can be used with all bale beds. Purchase a Mineral Tub Lifter TODAY!!! Call or email to order!

Mineral Tub Lifter
Malta, Montana
Jason 406- 390-0826 • Shyla 406-390-1339
FB: https://www.facebook.com/mineraltublifter.lifter

Saddles & Tack

Latigo Lariat // Colorado

One Stop Shop
Offering the best in skilled, knowledgeable customer service to find everything you need for all your best friends!

  • Onsite Tack Repair
  • New and Used Tack
  • 100+ Saddles
  • Ropes and Roping Products
  • Rough Stock Equipment
  • Mini to Draft Sized Items
  • Over 23 Years in Business
  • Friendly Customer Service

The Latigo Lariat
3611 S Lincoln Ave, Loveland, CO
FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheLatigoLariat

EGO POWER+ Snow Blower

Poudre Valley CO-OP // Colorado

The EGO POWER+ Snow Blower is the only cordless snow blower that’s as powerful as gas. Featuring Peak Power™ technology, it combines the power of any two ARC Lithium™ batteries for the power to clear heavy, wet snow.

Poudre Valley Co-op
225 NW Frontage Road, Ft. Collins, CO
FB: https://www.facebook.com/poudrevalleycoop

Gift of a lifetime!

Schroeders All American Home // Wyoming

From tiny homes to large family homes, Schroeder’s All American Homes has options in every style and layout you can imagine. It’s a short drive away to save thousands on your dream home. Call today for an appointment to talk about the perfect home for your location and needs – it’s the perfect Christmas gift! The only thing LOWER than the PRICE is the pressure!

Schroeder’s All American Homes
10 Morrie Avenue, Cheyenne, WY
(307) 634-7399

Generac Generators

Warehouse Supply Inc. // Colorado

Gift some peace of mind this winter!

Generators in stock. Authorized Sales & Service Location.

Warehouse Supply, Inc. is a locally owned and operated industrial and agricultural supply company. We not only have a comprehensive product line in our 10,000 square foot warehouse, we can get what you need if we don’t.

Our prices are competitive and, in many cases, we can deliver to you in the field or to your business.

Warehouse Supply Inc.
300 N. 2nd St., La Salle, CO 80645
(970) 284-2041
FB: https://www.facebook.com/warehousesupplyinc/

Datamars Livestock Management and Animal Health Delivery Solutions

Western Ranch Supply // Montana

20% Off All Premium Datamars Products*
*Excludes Feedlot Tags

Western Ranch Supply
Multiple Locations in Montana
(406) 252-6692
FB: https://www.facebook.com/westernranchsupply/

USDA Begins Issuing New Market Reports

The new reports can be accessed through this link: https://www.ams.usda.gov/market-news/national-direct-slaughter-cattle-reports

(AUGUST 5, 2021) – On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that beginning Monday, August 9, 2021, it will issue two new Market News reports based on Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) data. The news follows a letter the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) sent to USDA on July 13, 2021 requesting the publication of additional data collected under the LMR program that would provide important insights into the cattle marketplace. 
Specifically, these two new reports will include the following information: 

  • The National Daily Direct Formula Base Cattle reports will enable stakeholders to see the correlation between the negotiated trade and reported formula base prices, as well as the aggregated values being paid as premiums and discounts. Daily formula base price reports will be national in scope and released in morning, summary and afternoon versions. The weekly and monthly formula base reports will be both national and regional in scope and include forward contract base purchase information. 
  • The National Weekly Cattle Net Price Distribution report will show at what levels (price and volume) trade occurred across the weekly weighted average price for each purchase type – negotiated, negotiated grid, formula and forward contract. Currently, the market speculates whether large or small volumes of cattle trade on both sides of the price spread. And in fact, with premiums and discounts applied to the prices, the spreads shown on reports can be wide. Publishing a price distribution for all cattle net prices will offer more transparency to each of the purchase type categories. This report is a window into what producers are paid for cattle (net) and retains confidentiality by segregating volumes purchased in $2.00 increments +/- the daily weighted average price depending upon premiums and discounts. AMS has published a similar net price distribution report for direct hogs since January 2010.

USCA President Brooke Miller issued the following statement: 
“USCA appreciates the swift review and prompt follow-up of USDA Agricultural Marketing Service leadership and staff in response to USCA’s letter. The publication of this additional market information helps to fulfill part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to Promote Competition in the American Economy, as outlined in the most recent Executive Order.
“USCA looks forward to working with USDA leadership to continue identifying areas where we can work towards the goal of fair and competitive markets.”

Packers say AMAs create value, producers say consolidation breaking cattle industry

Senators in the Judiciary Committee brought in Tyson and JBS representatives along with a salebarn operator, independent grocer spokesman and more to discuss the price discrepancy between a live beef animal and the value of the carcass once processed during a hearing named Beefing up Competition: Examining America’s Food Supply Chain on July 28, 2021.

TSLN and many other news outlets have reported for months the $1,000 and higher profits the big four packers are earning on cattle they own most of the time for less than two weeks, meanwhile cattle producers are feeders are in most cases operating at breakeven levels or losses.

The theme from Jon Schaben of Dunlap, Iowa, who operates salebarns in that town and also in West Point Nebraska; Bob Larew, the president of the National Farmers Union and also Mr. David Smith, President and CEO of Associated Wholesalers Grocers was consistent: consolidation, lack of transparency and lack of enforcement of anti-trust laws are allowing the big four packers to take advantage of producers as well as consumers, and independent grocers.

Smith commented on the buying power the larger retailers have over the smaller ones, which puts those stores and chains in a position to lower their prices until the small, independent stores have gone out of business, and then “increase prices at will,” he said. “I’ve seen it happen over and over again, and it’s why little towns…can only rely on dollar stores for their grocery needs. They are not healthy choices,” he said.

“We have a choice, we can choose to end these unfair schemes. We can choose to enforce anti-trust laws that ensure competition throughout the food chain.”

Consolidation at the retail level has encouraged consolidation upstream, he believes. “Meatpacking is a stark example. Suppliers respond to retail consolidation by consolidating rapidly themselves, in hopes that getting bigger will allow them to gain leverage against that domination…the results are predictable. Farmers and ranchers struggle to get fair prices as fewer firms compete for the product. Consolidated supply chains are more vulnerable to disruption.”

The JBS President of USA Fed Beef, Tim Schellpeper, said the most significant challenge his company faces is labor availability, he said they pay their workers about $20 per hour starting wage, and an average across the company of $22 per hour.

“It is JBS’s mission to ensure the best products and service for our customers, a relationship of trust with our suppliers, profitability for our shareholders and the opportunity for a better future for all of our team members,” he said.

Schellpepper testified to the investments they have made in emission reduction – $1billion, along with $100 invested into “on farm research and development.”

He said the cattle and beef markets are cyclical and that producers benefit from AMAs because, prior to the industry-wide practice of forward contracting and grid marketing, producers were not compensated for better quality cattle.

Shane Miller who represented Tyson said the spread between boxed beef and live cattle prices is simply a function of supply and demand. “Multiple unprecedented market shocks including the pandemic and severe weather conditions led to an unexpected and drastic drop in processors’ ability to operate at capacity. This led to an oversupply of live cattle and an undersupply of beef all while demand for beef products was at an all time high, so it should not surprise any of us that the price for cattle fell while the price for beef rose. While Tyson does not and cannot control market forces, our success depends on the entire beef supply chain being properly incentivized to meet America’s demand for higher quality beef.”

Miller said that USDA research has found that AMAs allow for the creation or capture of greater value. Later said, in response to a senator’s question, he said that Tyson is more than willing to work with any feeder who wants to contract their cattle with an AMA.

Schaben, representing the 8,000 member Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, who spoke first, refuted much of what the packer spokesmen said.

He said that a severe lack of cash trade, limited price discovery and an imbalance in leverage between those who raise cattle and those who process them is what has brought the cattle industry to a place of unprofitability.

Jon Schaben, representing the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, said The combination of limited competition, captive supply and formula contracting has not only suppressed live cattle prices but has placed a tremendous financial burden on the shoulders of cattle producers. Screenshot of official Senate Committee hearing

“It is imperative that we uplift the concerns of those in the production sector. The beef supply chain begins with and relies on thousands of cattle producers,” he said.

“We’ve heard it all the way up today about those black swan events. I hear about how they are responsible for what why we are probably here today, and I don’t think in the context of what they are that that’s actually factual. I think the black swan events were a great example of what’s broken about the marketing chain in live cattle and they show some of the things that need to be changed within this industry. I think it’s unfair to say they are causing the problems when what we have is this great big discrepancy between what our cattle are worth live when we sell them and what they end up with when we sell them as retail beef.”

He went on to point out that in 2015, 51.5 percent of the consumer dollar spent on beef was returned to the producer, while by 2020 that had dropped to 37 percent.

“Most recently we have seen live values of cattle in the $1,500 to $1,700 range but the carcass values when they are processed are in the $2,500 to $2,700 dollar range. This is a $1,000 difference.

“If we process more than half a million head of cattle per week, in my simple math, that is half a billion dollars per week that is eroded out of our rural economy. As we all look for ways to stimulate our rural economy, it looks like if we can bring a functioning cattle market back and get that spread narrowed down, that’s they way we can infuse more cash into our rural sector,” said Schaben.


Final results from the National High School Rodeo Finals for SD, ND, MT, NE and WY competitors

Final Average Standings for competitors from Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming. We will add the girls’ cutting results when the official results are available from NHSRA.

Barrel Racing

4. (MT) Lacey Lawrence, Jordan, Mont., 52.777

5. (MT) Alexis McDonald, Gardiner, Mont., 52.788

7. (WY) Jordan Morman, Gillette, Wyo., 53.137

8. (ND) Kiarra Reiss, Dickinson, N.D., 53.175

9. (ND) Trista Hovde, Sidney, Mont., 53.179

20. (WY) Maddie Fantaskey, Worland, Wyo., 59.435

44. (WY) Rayne Grant, Wheatland, Wyo., 36.451

55. (NE) Madison Mills, Eddyville, Neb., 36.594

78. (NE) Elle Ravenscroft, Nenzel, Neb., 37.175

79. (NE) Jenae Whitaker, Chambers, Neb., 37.243

98. (SD) Jaycie West, New Underwood, S.D., 37.686

107. (ND) Kenzie Homelvig, Rhame, N.D., 38.311

124. (WY) Ashlyn Goven, Rozet, Wyo., 40.264

128. (MT) Chalee Harms, Miles City, Mont., 40.678

131. (NE) Taci Flinn, Arcadia, Neb., 40.975

132. (MT) Laney Johnson, Havre, Mont., 41.151

145. (SD) Layni Stevens, St. Lawrence, S.D., 41.819

166. (SD) Piper Cordes, Wall, S.D., 45.49

174. (SD) Landry Haugen, Sturgis, S.D., 47.213

177. (ND) Kelly Bang, Killdeer, N.D., 49.814

Bareback Riding

2. (MT) Sam Petersen, Helena, Mont., 232.5

3. (MT) Kaleb Norstrom, East Helena, Mont., 231.5

12. (WY) Roedy Farrell, Thermopolis, Wyo., 213.5

15. (MT) Spur Owens, Helena, Mont., 211

18. (SD) Devon Moore, Clear Lake, S.D., 149

19. (SD) Kashton Ford, Sturgis, S.D., 146

22. (SD) Cooper Filipek, Rapid City, S.D., 134

24. (NE) Spencer DeNaeyer, Seneca, Neb., 132

25. (ND) Treven Coonradt, Dickinson, N.D., 128.5

28. (SD) Reece Reder, Fruitdale, S.D., 126

32. (WY) Jaspur Brower, Big Piney, Wyo., 121

36. (NE) Cole Kerner, Sutherland, Neb., 110

38. (MT) Will Norstrom, East Helena, Mont., 83

41. (WY) Tuker Carricato, Saratoga, Wyo., 67

50. (ND) Chance Isaak, Richardton, N.D., 58

53. (NE) Tate Miller, Springview, Neb., 56

56. (ND) Cayden Kling, Belfield, N.D., 53

Boys’ Cutting

10. (MT) Ryatt Fraser, Fromberg, Mont., 418

12. (NE) Cody Miller, Broken Bow, Neb., 417

15. (ND) Colter Martin, Beulah, N.D., 410.5

22. (NE) Cooper Bass, Brewster, Neb., 277

27. (SD) Trey Fuller, Faith, S.D., 276

38. (WY) Joseph Hayden, Gilllete, Wyo., 272

41. (MT) Walker Story, Dillon, Mont., 271

41. (WY) Tryce Jolovich, Gillette, Wyo., 271

46. (SD) Jace Ullerich, Humboldt, S.D., 269

47. (WY) Cody Boller, Weston, Wyo., 268

47. (NE) Hayden Jennings, Seneca, Neb., 268

47. (NE) Bo Bushhousen, St. Libory, Neb., 268

51. (MT) Colton Turbiville, Rhame, N.D., 267

55. (MT) Kasey Forum, Nashua, Mont., 264

55. (WY) Keyton Hayden, Gillette, Wyo., 264

55. (SD) Carter Fortune, Quinn, S.D., 264

65. (ND) Sean Christensen, Sidney, Mont., 259

66. (ND) Jayden Morgan, Baldwin, N.D., 256

67. (SD) Caden Stoddard, Norris, S.D., 254

69. (ND) Parker Sandstrom, Ray, N.D., 250

Breakaway Roping

15. (NE) Jace Hurlburt, Arcadia, Neb., 5.69

19. (ND) Kiarra Reiss, Dickinson, N.D., 6.08

34. (WY) Tavy Leno, Sheridan, Wyo., 8.38

41. (MT) Murphy Gaasch, Dillon, Mont., 15.57

59. (MT) Haven Wolstein, Helena, Mont., 2.53

62. (SD) T. Merrill, Wall, S.D., 2.61

64. (NE) Wacey Day, Fleming, Colo., 2.64

66. (SD) Chloe Herren, Crooks, S.D., 2.7

80. (NE) Tehya From, Crookston, Neb., 2.89

81. (MT) Erin McGinley, Bozeman, Mont., 2.91

87. (SD) Saydee Heath, Colome, S.D., 3.04

99. (NE) Jaya Nelson, Bassett, Neb., 3.42

114. (ND) Kelly Bang, Killdeer, N.D., 4.46

Bull Riding

3. (WY) Brody Hasenack, Jackson, Wyo., 166.5

13. (ND) Brody Nelson, Minot, N.D., 76

13. (MT) Caden Fitzpatrick, Polson, Mont., 76

21. (SD) Thayne Elshere, Hereford, S.D., 73

25. (NE) Hunter Boydston, Grover, Colo., 70.5

28. (SD) Mason Moody, Letcher, S.D., 69

31. (ND) Lathan DeMontigny, Rugby, N.D., 66

Goat Tying

1. (WY) Haiden Thompson, Yoder, Wyo., 23.67

4. (NE) Jessica Stevens, Creighton, Neb., 24.04

9. (NE) Wacey Day, Fleming, Colo., 25.78

12. (WY) Tavy Leno, Sheridan, Wyo., 26.61

13. (MT) Murphy Gaasch, Dillon, Mont., 26.63

17. (NE) Kaci Wickersham, Verdigre, Neb., 34.76

18. (ND) Elli Rettinger, New England, N.D., 40.32

21. (MT) Haven Wolstein, Helena, Mont., 18.36

22. (MT) Kassidy Dunagan, Whitehall, Mont., 18.44

40. (SD) Michaela McCormick, Salem, S.D., 19.47

43. (ND) Josi Schwab, Linton, N.D., 19.75

51. (SD) Devin Hunter, Huron, S.D., 20.35

53. (ND) Molly Rotenberger, Ludlow, S.D., 20.42

56. (NE) Emma Ohm, Hyannis, Neb., 20.74

66. (SD) Tricia Lammers, Orient, S.D., 21.57

123. (SD) Layni Stevens, St. Lawrence, S.D., 7.73

125. (WY) Rozlyn Herren, Gillette, Wyo., 7.94

129. (ND) Jayda Miller, Bowman, N.D., 8.6

131. (MT) Erin McGinley, Bozeman, Mont., 8.85

138. (MT) Mylee Welch, Joliet, Mont., 9.47

Pole Bending

2. (ND) Megan Larson, Hoople, N.D., 61.178

5. (WY) Ashlyn Goven, Rozet, Wyo., 61.275

6. (MT) Lexi Murer, Bigfork, Mont., 62.338

11. (ND) Carlee Roshau, Bismarck, N.D., 63.348

26. (NE) Clancy Brown, North Platte, Neb., 42.438

42. (MT) Chalee Harms, Miles City, Mont., 43.475

64. (NE) Madison Mills, Eddyville, Neb., 46.013

68. (ND) Cassidy Davidson, Mandan, N.D., 46.389

76. (NE) Abby Lawton, Overton, Neb., 47.378

84. (MT) Rachel Ward, Philipsburg, Mont., 47.751

105. (SD) Tricia Lammers, Orient, S.D., 49.491

118. (SD) Layni Stevens, St. Lawrence, S.D., 51.644

136. (NE) Jenae Whitaker, Chambers, Neb., 58.49

138. (SD) Kellyn Shearer, Wall, S.D., 58.784

141. (MT) Kate Wiening, Belgrade, Mont., 58.935

151. (WY) Maddie Eskew, Gillette, Wyo., 19.981

153. (SD) Landry Haugen, Sturgis, S.D., 20.162

154. (WY) Rayne Grant, Wheatland, Wyo., 20.457

170. (WY) Jordan Morman, Gillette, Wyo., 26.169

Reined Cow Horse

4. (WY) Maddie Fantaskey, Worland, Wyo., 868.5

6. (NE) Tatum Olson, Bloomfield, Neb., 866

16. (MT) Walker Story, Dillon, Mont., 855.5

23. (SD) Cadell Brunsch, Pine Ridge, S.D., 569

24. (MT) Chalee Harms, Miles City, Mont., 568.5

26. (MT) Rayna Warneke, Great Falls, Mont., 567

27. (SD) Jackson Grimes, Kadoka, S.D., 566.5

33. (SD) Landry Haugen, Sturgis, S.D., 562.5

42. (ND) Colter Martin, Beulah, N.D., 559.5
43. (SD) Linkyn Petersek, Colome, S.D., 559

45. (MT) Harley Meged, Miles City, Mont., 556.5

50. (NE) Tucker Gillespie, McCook, Neb., 553.5

51. (NE) Charlie Bortner, McCook, Neb., 552

59. (WY) Sydnee Roady, Worland, Wyo., 541

62. (ND) Tess Mortenson, Souris, N.D., 537

67. (ND) Parker Sandstrom, Ray, N.D., 527

80. (ND) Faith Heim, Bismarck, N.D., 495.5

95. (WY) Broc Schwartzkopf, Douglas, Wyo., 427

98. (NE) Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff, Neb., 419

99. (WY) Jymie Adamson, Buffalo, Wyo., 414.5

Saddle Broncs

2. (SD) Talon Elshere, Hereford, S.D., 225.5

5. (NE) Brody McAbee, Ansley, Neb., 204

6. (MT) Garrett Cunningham, Broadus, Mont., 193

9. (ND) Colter Martin, Beulah, N.D., 185

22. (SD) Ridge Ward, Martin, S.D., 68

25. (NE) Dean Schroder, Taylor, Neb., 65

29. (NE) Monte Bailey, Lakeside, Neb., 63

38. (ND) Kain Stroh, Dickinson, N.D., 55

40. (MT) Quanah Glade, Miles City, Mont., 52

45. (WY) Jake Schlattmann, Greybull, Wyo., 46

Steer Wrestling

2. (MT) Sam Petersen, Helena, Mont., 15.93

3. (ND) Parker Sandstrom, Ray, N.D., 17.21

4. (SD) Grey Gilbert, Buffalo, S.D., 17.27

10. (MT) Cole Detton, Great Falls, Mont., 19.24

16. (NE) Dane Pokorny, Stapleton, Neb., 40.88

18. (SD) Denton Good, Long Valley, S.D., 10.86

19. (ND) Cael Hilzendeger, Baldwin, N.D., 11.26

23. (SD) Dawson Kautzman, Capitol, Mont., 14.24

25. (MT) T.J. Sigman, Dillon, Mont., 15.13

28. (ND) Chasyn Ystaas, Dickinson, N.D., 15.95

29. (NE) Coy Johnston, Stapleton, Neb., 16.28

56. (WY) Chance Sorenson, Arvada, Wyo., 3.95
57. (MT) Chance Story, Martinsdale, Mont., 4.1

59. (NE) Rhett Witt, Valentine, Neb., 4.41

74. (WY) Bohdi Coombs, Wellington, Colo., 6.65

76. (SD) Linkyn Petersek, Colome, S.D., 6.67

112. (ND) Kenneth Hagen, Mandan, N.D., 14.87

Team Roping

3. (WY) Mason Trollinger, Casper, Wyo., Teagan Bentley, Casper, Wyo., 25

8. (SD) Tegan Fite, Hermosa, S.D., Rio Nutter, Rapid City, S.D., 28.25

12. (NE) Cooper Bass, Brewster, Neb., Dane Pokorny, Stapleton, Neb., 37.08

17. (WY) Jade Espenscheid, Big Piney, Wyo., Coy Johnson, Buffalo, Wyo., 19.13

19. (WY) Jase Longwell, Thermopolis, Wyo., McCoy Longwell, Thermopolis, Wyo., 21.34

29. (NE) Hayse Wetzel, Dannebrog, Neb., Ryan Shepherd, North Platte, Neb., 6.65

35. (SD) Bodey Waln, Martin, S.D., Tracer Olson, White River, S.D., 7.59

39. (ND) Zack Berger, Belfield, N.D., Arena Delorme, Dickinson, N.D., 8.2

45. (NE) Jace Hurlburt, Arcadia, Neb., Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff, Neb., 8.83

68. (ND) Dani Fladeland, Minot, N.D., Tel Sorenson, Watford City, N.D., 13.2

70. (MT) Holden Meged, Miles City, Mont., Trey Fleming, Worden, Mont., 13.64

80. (WY) Bodie Herring, Veteran, Wyo., Cort McBride, Meriden, Wyo., 16.6

Tie-Down Roping

8. (SD) Linkyn Petersek, Colome, S.D., 35.16

10. (NE) Trace Travnicek, Minatare, Neb., 37.17
11. (NE) Matthew Miller, Callaway, Neb., 38.36

15. (WY) Will Albrecht, Sheridan, Wyo., 23.61

26. (WY) Stratton Kohr, Gillete, Wyo., 29.21
27. (NE) Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff, Neb., 29.38

29. (SD) Denton Good, Long Valley, S.D., 30
30. (SD) Dawson Kautzman, Capitol, Mont., 30.58

31. (ND) Chasyn Ystaas, Dickinson, N.D., 30.64

49. (ND) Luke Mavity, Dickinson, N.D., 36.31

78. (WY) Cord Herring, Veteran, Wyo., 10.06

79. (WY) Coy Thar, Rozet, Wyo., 10.36

83. (ND) Tyler Hansen, Killdeer, N.D., 11

95. (MT) Zane Schroeder, Roscoe, Mont., 13.6
96. (ND) Cael Hilzendeger, Baldwin, N.D., 13.76

99. (NE) Layne Wallinger, Stuart, Neb., 14.15

104. (MT) Cole Helm, Miles City, Mont., 15.92

115. (SD) Tegan Fite, Hermosa, S.D., 20.41

124. (MT) Taten Erickson, Hobson, Mont., 25.6

132. (MT) Cash Trexler, Corvallis, Mont., 33.81

Queen Contest

4. (NE) Ashton Werth, 623.75 (Third Runner-up)

6. (SD) Tashina Red Hawk, 612

10. (MT) Paige Palin, 570.5

22. (ND) Bailey Grove, 524

31. (WY) Roberta Cordingly, 474.75

Demkota Ranch Beef: From Farm to Table, Locally Produced Meat is a Cut Above

In an industry dominated by giants, Demkota Ranch Beef in Aberdeen, South Dakota, may seem like a pretty small player. But the business plays a big role in the local economy as an employer and by purchasing 90 percent of the beef they harvest within a 300-mile radius of Aberdeen. The young business is growing, and in spite of COVID, managed to harvest the same number of cattle in 2020 as they did in 2019; a whopping 300,000 head each year.

Demkota Ranch Beef believes that that best things come from the Heartland, that their customers deserve to know where their food comes from, where it is raised and how it is handled.

“For the last several years we’ve kept pretty quiet, focusing on our business and trying to grow the business,” said Adam Bode, chief operating officer for Demkota Ranch Beef. “We’re ready to hone in on our strategy and tell our story. We’re really a customer and producer network. We don’t exist without our customers or our suppliers. Cattle producers are our suppliers and we value them. We believe there are no better cattle anywhere than here in South Dakota and the surrounding area. We don’t exist without our consumers, either. We are targeting quality to keep those customers coming back for more. We have to be competitive; we’re not a true niche market, like grassfed or organic; we’re more mainstream but we are value-added. We build our strategy around quality, from the cattle we source to superior processing methods to our customer service, and we’re confident that if we stick to these goals our product will always find a home.”

Herman Schumacher owns LDL Cattle Company, Inc. near Ipswich, South Dakota. He feeds and finishes around 15,000 head of cattle each year and says 80 percent of them go to Demkota.

“They buy harvest-ready cattle and they are very competitive,” Schumacher said. “It’s been a good market to go to. It’s a real boon for the cattle market in this area. Here in the Dakotas we raise the best cattle in the country; the best in the world.”

Ken’s SuperFair Foods, a locally owned grocery store chain with six stores in Aberdeen, Britton, Clark, Eureka, Groton and Ipswich, features Demkota Ranch beef, and owner Kevin Fiedler couldn’t be happier with the product they put on their shelves.

“Demkota came to us about six years ago and wanted to partner with us,” he said. “They wanted to partner with a local chain serving the farm and ranch communities in the area, showing farmers and ranchers that we’re working for them. It was a tough decision that meant putting all our eggs in one basket. We’re told not to do that, told we need diversity in our suppliers just in case something happens. It was a big step to go to Demkota virtually exclusively as our beef source, but it was one of the best decisions Ken’s team has ever made. We’ve increased our beef sales by 20 percent since we started selling Demkota beef. We can feel proud that these locally-raised cattle, finished on local corn, are the best in the United States, and they are right in our backyards.”

Demkota supplies Ken’s stores with all of their beef except for some prepackaged hamburger, which comes from a wholesaler.

“All our roasts, all our freshly ground hamburger, all our steaks and fillet come from Demkota,” Fiedler said. “Our customers have been very happy with this beef; I can’t even remember the last time somebody came in to complain about a steak being tough. Our semi is at Demkota this morning, as it is once every week, loading beef that was processed yesterday. We will distribute it between our stores. We are pretty proud that we can guarantee our customers that the beef they purchase comes literally from their own backyards. We have the capability to track this beef from farm to plate and we’re happy to do so for specific events we cater.”

While Demkota does not seek out third-party source-verified cattle, they do keep records of where every animal they process comes from and where that meat goes.

“We can tell you where we bought every head,” Adam Bode said. “We can tell you what day it was processed and trace every pound of meat we ship to its destination. These things are required by the USDA.”

COVID threw a monkey-wrench into the 2020 business year for cattle producers, feeders, processors and consumers, but Demkota followed recommended precautions, even going above and beyond in in many cases in an effort to keep employees healthy and continue supplying safe food.

“It took an enormous amount of effort on the part of our people,” Bode said. “From our line workers to our management everyone put in long hours, working 12-hour shifts, working weekends, and our sales staff found new markets. The industry in total was heavily impacted by COVID and we were no exception. We had to run at reduced capacity for a while but we were able to make up for that over time. The food service industry dried up overnight when mandatory shutdowns were put in place, and food service is a big part of our base. We had to find new retail customers, and we did. Our international market is another facet of our business; we do ship to a lot of countries. We are trying to create a demand globally for our product by sharing our story about our roots and our quality product. This is the foundation of what Demkota is about.”

Area cattle producers interested in supplying beef to Demkota are encouraged to reach out to the company through their website, www.demkotaranchbeef.com.

“We are constantly sourcing new producer partners,” Bode said. “We respond to every message we receive. Someone from our cattle procurement department will be happy to come and look at your cattle, or for individuals looking at getting into the cattle business we can help them structure a new program to fit our needs. We don’t actively create partnerships between cow/calf producers and feedlots but, like most things in South Dakota, it’s a pretty small world. We know most of the larger feeders in the area and are happy to pass along contact information.

“We like to source our beef as local as we can, and we are always targeting quality. We have a multifaceted goal of bringing value to our customers while supporting farmers and ranchers and trying to show the rest of the world the two best things that come out of South Dakota and the area: corn and cattle. Whether producers finish their own calves or send them to a feedlot, a high-quality corn ration can turn calves and cull cows alike into great tasting beef. We know that cow/calf producers will always have cows they will cull, so about half of the animals we harvest are cows and half are younger animals.”

Demkota may control less than 1 percent of the market share in an industry where four large companies own 80 percent of that market, but they are making a big impact in their little corner of the world.

“The other part of the story that we’re trying to tell is that at the end of the day we make food,” Bode said. “In this industry we don’t talk a lot about what we do, and since we’re surrounded by fences and working behind closed doors in a big building with no windows for biosecurity reasons there is a negative perception of us. But ultimately we’re taking a product that comes in the door in an inedible state and we’re disassembling it so that it leaves as a great tasting, high quality meal that people can put in front of their children and spouse, whether it leaves here to go to retail at Ken’s, goes to a food service warehouse, or is exported. A lot of people are afraid of a career in the meat processing industry, but we’re working to change that. There are opportunities for all kinds of jobs at Demkota from knife workers to forklift operators to management; there are over two hundred jobs in this building and 40 percent of those jobs don’t require using a knife. We pay great wages and offer a great benefit package.”

Demkota Ranch Beef is proud to source and supply South Dakota beef. They’re also proud to be a part of the local economy.

“We are one of the largest employers in Brown County,” Bode said. “We have paid our employees over $100 million in payroll over the last two years. In that same timeframe we have purchased over $800 million worth of cattle from local farmers, ranchers and feeders. Sourcing our beef locally is not only meaningful, it also has a positive economic impact in the area for our employees and their families and our producers and their families. We feel that these things are pretty significant and we value these partnerships.”

Stronger together: How Eagle County’s health care workers rose to the challenge of COVID-19

Vail Health nurse Nicole Campbell administers a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Jordon Nicholson of Conifer Wednesday at the Vail Hospital.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

In the thick of the pandemic, in a year that refused to let up, Caitlyn Gnam started running.

An infection preventionist at Vail Health Hospital, Gnam prefers more daring outdoor pursuits: whitewater kayaking, dirt biking, and tearing down the mountain on her skis. But with her professional life bleeding into every aspect of her personal life, Gnam needed a release valve. As the 14-hour days at the hospital stacked up, and the toll of the pandemic weighed on her, she found herself being pulled outdoors for what she jokingly referred to as “jogging on purpose.”

Caitlyn Gnam said she was always able to leave her work at the hospital. That changed with the arrival of COVID-19.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

Running from something? Towards something? Gnam isn’t so sure, but whatever it was, she absolutely needed it.

“I used to be able to leave thinking about infectious disease and masking and hand washing at work,” she said. “And I would go home and go in public and nobody cares about that kind of thing. But now the whole planet is thinking about your work. So it’s harder to escape in that sense.”

Before COVID-19 took over her life, pandemic preparedness was a sidebar in Gnam’s role at Vail Health. It was the “oh, just in case” aspect of a job focused on keeping infections out of the hospital. Name any type of infection — staph, urinary tract, seasonal flu, SARS — and you can be sure that Gnam has, at some point, obsessed over it.

But in early 2020, that “oh just in case” scenario of a global pandemic quickly consumed every waking minute of her life. Protocols and rigorous training are essential to a job that requires constant vigilance, but Gnam said she could always compartmentalize her work. That changed when a mysterious, airborne virus that originated halfway around the world quickly found its way into every corner of humanity, including Eagle County.

The valley’s two largest health care providers, Vail Health and Colorado Mountain Medical, braced for the arrival of COVID-19 by stockpiling personal protective equipment before supply chains were overwhelmed and launching a system-wide high-level task force to solve logistical challenges as they arose. But when case numbers exploded locally in early March, there was no training to emotionally prepare for the reality of a novel virus that was highly contagious and deadly.

“We see all kinds of infectious disease where we need to take precautions all the time,” Gnam said. “But for something to spread that quickly, we knew that it was something different and that we would be kind of off and running from that point.”

They haven’t slowed down since.

Uncharted waters

Antarctica. That’s where Dr. Brooks Bock was in late January when he first heard about COVID-19. Earth’s least inhabited continent was arguably the safest place on the planet with a global pandemic on the march.

Bock, the CEO of Colorado Mountain Medical, was traveling with his wife on a National Geographic ship to see penguins up close. He first read about the virus that originated from Wuhan, China, in a daily newsletter that rounded up global headlines.

By the time he returned to the Vail Valley in February, he found himself on a voyage unlike any other he’d ever taken in a medical career spanning more than five decades. Over the course of 75 or so days, Bock and Chris Lindley, Vail Health’s chief population health officer, worked out of a command center at the hospital managing the organization-wide response to the pandemic.

What started as a smaller team of high-level managers quickly grew to include as many as 24 different staffers from an array of departments over the months of February, March and April as the first wave of the virus shut down the valley and the state.

The objectives? Keeping the local health care system from buckling under the strain of the virus and protecting health care workers and the community at large.

Vail Health Safety Manager Kimberly Flynn and Vail Health Population Health Director Chris Lindley are joined by Airman First Class Samuel Weber of the Colorado National Guard in receiving the first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Vail Health in early December.
Ben Gadberry/Vail Health

For each member of the team, especially the two men heading up the collaborative effort, the experience was challenging, exhilarating and emotionally draining.

“We got to be good friends,” Bock said. “I have a tremendous respect for him and I enjoyed working with him.”

The challenge of slowing the virus put all of Lindley’s education and experience to the test. A former unit commander and environmental science officer of preventive medicine in the 793rd Medical Detachment of the United States Army Medical Reserves, Lindley served in Iraq and received a Bronze Star for saving multiple lives during a suicide bomber attack. He holds master’s degrees in public health, epidemiology and business administration.

His first job after getting his master’s in epidemiology was working with bioterrorism preparedness for Denver Health Medical Center.

“It was the first in the country training for pandemic influenza or large scale biological warfare attack,” he said. “These things, I’ve been thinking about them my whole career.”

If Lindley had been prepping for a global pandemic for years, Bock represented the opposite end of the spectrum.

The challenge of slowing the virus put all of Lindley’s education and experience to the test. “I think that finger pointing this year has started to decrease and go away,” he said. “And our challenge is, how do we stay in this community collaborative effort going forward?
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

“I certainly never planned to live in a pandemic,” he said. “And hopefully there won’t be another during the rest of my lifetime.”

Working together on the same problems, with the same goals in mind, often times with different approaches, brought the two together — and the two organizations they represented. Colorado Mountain Medical’s merger with Vail Health in July 2019 had, on paper, already created a valley-wide health care network — but Lindley, Bock and Vail Health CEO Will Cook insist that it took a pandemic, of all things, to truly make the two providers inseparable.

“There were lots of moments of concern and doubt,” Bock said. “The amazing thing was that everyone was very supportive. Everyone was very collaborative. There was no one who was trying to run the show. It was a group effort to figure out what we needed to do.”

Each day brought new challenges, and with those challenges came spirited debates, brainstorming sessions and swift innovation.

How to ramp up testing and keep the virus out of the hospital and clinics? Create the state’s first drive-thru testing facility, in Gypsum, and install a testing trailer at the hospital in Vail — both of which were in place by March 7. Also, create a system of “clean clinic” safety protocols to ensure the safety of patients and staff as clinics eventually began seeing patients again for well visits.

How to reach the valley’s Spanish-speaking communities? Partner with the MIRA Bus to begin offering free testing.

Yazmin Almanza with Vail Health tests a patient for COVID-19 Friday at the Dotsero Mobile Home Park in Dotsero. The Mobile Intercultural Resource Alliance (MIRA) bus through Vail health provides free COVID-19 screenings in select neighborhoods where transportation is an issue.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

How to solve the riddle of a lack of available tests and delayed results from outside labs? Work to develop an in-house test that could be turned around quickly.

How to counter the slow-rolling behavioral health crisis that was engulfing the valley as residents struggled with isolation, joblessness, food and financial insecurity, and the stress of kids learning remote? Provide telehealth training for all behavioral health providers, hire 40 new behavioral health specialists and roll out a community-wide scholarship fund to provide those in need who are struggling financially with free access to services.

“We learned a lot about what it means to be resilient, and I think even before COVID, we were already dealing with a lot of those problems,” Cook said.

He described the response to COVID among his staff like any response to a traumatic event: First there was denial, then a sense of sorrow and being overwhelmed.

“I think that actually the initial phases bonded us together and really helped us respond the way that we did,” he said. “What I’ve liked the most, is, you know, Chris and Dr. Bock and even Amanda Amanda Veit, our COO, and so many others, were spending countless hours in that command center. But they were collaborating, making decisions, moving quickly and avoiding that bureaucratic sort of hierarchy that can sometimes make people feel like I’m not going to even bother to make this decision because I’m going to have to go through three channels above me.”

Bock said he enjoyed becoming a bit of a local celebrity by filming a number of informational videos with Lindley and others early on in the pandemic that helped soothe some of the fears of the community.

“We would call each other the day before and say, ‘OK, let’s make a video on this. Or let’s make a video on that,’” he said. “It was the topic of the moment that we were trying to educate the community on, and they were effective, remarkably effective. I can’t tell you how many people I would see when I was out and about at the grocery store, or wherever I ventured to, not often, but whenever I ventured out for the needs that I had, people would comment on how much they appreciated that and the personal touch that it brought to their lives and the assurances that they received from them.”

Added Lindley: “You always kind of look at the big health care systems, the big hospitals with all they can do,” he said. “Many of them have great resources, very talented people, great financial capability. But I got to see firsthand what this health care system is for this community and what it can do. And without question, I’m 100 percent certain the Vail Health system has done more in this community than any health care system I’ve heard about or ever dreamed about.”

‘This test sucks’

Mark Joffrion parachuted into a crisis. He started his job as the director of Vail Health’s laboratory in March, smack in the middle of the first wave of COVID-19 cases in the valley.

A soft-spoken Southerner who came to the Colorado after stints in labs all across the country, working in Louisiana, Indiana, Texas, Alaska, Oregon, California, Florida and North Carolina, Joffrion described his first weeks and months in his new role as an “everyday scramble” to find solutions to problems that were largely out of his control.

How could the lab get more tests? How could it avoid the growing backlogs for results from state and private labs?

“There was just that need to get results out immediately,” Joffrion said. “We kind of had our hands tied with the testing available and the turnaround times that we were dealing with.”

In the early days of the pandemic, Joffrion and Vail Health officials targeted in-house testing as a solution to both of those problems. Developing a test that worked, however, and being able to turn it around quickly to deliver results in a 24-hour period was a challenge that pushed every tech working in the lab to the brink over the summer and into the fall. As Joffrion and his staff worked tirelessly to find a reliable test, not to mention a manufacturer that could supply it, they coped with the stress that came from repeated phone calls looking for results that too often weren’t available.

Vials of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine wait to be filled into syringes Wednesday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

The waiting was excruciating.

“It’s tough when we’re not the owners of that answer,” he said. “You know, we know when the results come back to us, but we had no control over when it came. And we were dealing with sometimes two, sometimes three different laboratories to get these results out or get them back to us.”

The lab received a test it could perform internally in April, but the supply was extremely limited, creating the need to horde the tests for the most symptomatic patients. Tests for asymptomatic patients were still being sent to an outside reference lab, with turnaround times taking as long as 10 days.

In May, the lab picked up another test it could perform internally, but again, the volume was extremely limited. Joffrion said he checked the FDA website every day to see which tests had been approved for emergency use and if his team could actually run them in the lab.

By October, he finally found a test that looked like it was doable, and would supply the large testing volume that his team needed to drastically reduce turnaround times.

Stress levels reached a peak, however, in the final weeks of October as techs worked their way through the delicate process of making sure the test actually worked. Joffrion said at one point, in a moment of frustration, one of his techs walked up to him in the lab and pronounced, “This test sucks.”

“But she came and we talked about it and I go back there and she’s just running them like a true professional,” he said, smiling. “She said what she wanted to say, but she got back there and she was running, you know, 60, 80, 100 of these tests at once and just doing an amazing job. That just speaks to the quality of individuals here in this laboratory. They were pushed to that limit, but they knew what we wanted, what our goal was.”

By November, with the test dialed, the lab was finally able to complete all testing in-house, and started receiving samples from collection sites in Summit County and Vail, as well as the Aspen area, becoming a regional testing center.

In November, the lab performed a total of 4,061 COVID tests, compared to just 835 in October and a little more than 200 in September. The lab has since performed more than 20,000 tests since November, often turning over a result in 10 hours or less.

“There were some days it was really doubtful if we could do it, but these are true professionals just stepping up to incredible levels to do what they did,” Joffrion said. “What’s happened in this laboratory is really amazing.”

Coming full circle

Julie Scales is uncomfortable with people making a big deal about her story. During the past 13 months, so many people have gotten sick, she said. So many have died.

Julie Scales, a respiratory therapist at Vail Health, spent seven days on a respirator in a Denver-area hospital after catching COVID-19 in March, 2020. She returned to work a few months later and was the first Eagle County resident to receive a shot of vaccine in early December.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

There have been 22 Eagle County locals who have succumbed to the virus and more than half a million Americans. But talking to Scales’ coworkers at Vail Health, where she works as a lead respiratory therapist, her recovery from the virus is the narrative that often emerges when they talk about the turning points in the pandemic.

March 14, 2020, is the day when COVID-19 became jarringly personal to them. It’s the same day that the local ski resorts shut down and the hospital saw its highest number of patients admitted. One of those admitted was Scales, whose work often brought her into the emergency department.

“It came home pretty hard,” said Ken Stephen, the charge nurse in Vail Health’s emergency department who oversees the intake of patients.

Earlier that week, Scales had been convinced she had a sinus infection. She had a pounding headache but no respiratory symptoms. Working in a hospital, over the course of a winter, everyone deals with colds and gets run down, and Scales just pushed on with her work. But by Saturday, she was experiencing respiratory symptoms and was admitted to the hospital. A day later, March 15, with her condition worsening, she was transported to the Medical Center of Aurora.

Stephen said seeing Scales being prepped for that ambulance ride down to the Front Range was similar to watching a patient go into the operating room for the last time for organ donation. Scales’ coworkers were legitimately frightened that it would be the last time they’d ever see her.

“It was really, really hard. Of all my ER staff, all of us that worked in the ER the whole time, none of us got COVID that we know of,” he said. “She’s the only one that worked in the ER intermittently, and after she got it, it was like, ‘OK, people, let’s make sure we buddy up.’ We were very, very careful with each other. We protected each other, we had each other’s back and made sure nobody was put at risk if somebody was really sick. We do not rush into that room.”

“It was definitely very scary,” Scales said. “I’m a respiratory therapist. I’ve intubated people on ventilators my whole career, and knowing that that’s where I was headed, I was very scared when I was headed down to Denver.”

Scales spent 10 days in the Aurora hospital, seven of them on a ventilator. She doesn’t remember much. Her daughter, 34, was with her.

“I had my phone, but I didn’t have a charger, so my phone would die,” she said. “My friend told me that I just texted her, and I just said, ‘I’m just going to try and live, OK?’”

After coming off the ventilator, Scales pleaded with doctors to discharge her. She returned home with the help of supplemental oxygen. From the beginning, she was determined to return to work. It took her nearly two months to get back on the job, and it was slow going at first.

“It was very emotional, and still is at times to take care of COVID patients,” she said. “My first ventilator patient that I took care of when I came back was super-emotional. I held it together in the patient’s room. But I had to take the tube out and it was very dramatic.”

Equally dramatic: the scene of Scales being the first Eagle County resident to receive a shot of vaccine on Dec. 16, 2020. That’s when many of Scales’ coworkers said they could finally see the fog start to lift.

Since recovering, Scales has climbed a 14er and marked the one-year anniversary of when she was admitted as a patient by going skiing with some of her coworkers. Gnam was among those who were excited to get out on the hill with her.

Ken Stephen, the charge nurse in Vail Health’s emergency department. He said hospital workers “saw things that would terrify most people every day without batting an eyelid.”
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

“I just made a comment to my daughter that I would like to ski down the hill instead of go down the hill in an ambulance on the 15th,” said Scales, who spent more than three decades working in hospitals in her home state of Indiana before moving to Colorado a few years ago to be closer to her daughter. “I feel really humbled by everything and I feel bad for the people that didn’t make it because when I was sick, we had a lot of people in the valley that were sick.”

Getting to the other side

How does this story end? Vail Health CEO Will Cook isn’t so sure.

Too often, the COVID-19 pandemic has been referred to as a race. A race to save lives. A race to develop effective vaccines. A race to get back to normal.

Cook said Eagle County, as a whole, has run that race better than most places around the country and the state. The collaboration between the valley’s health care providers, local governments and the community at large has been at the center of that.

The county never plunged into the Level Red restrictions that were a crushing blow to neighboring counties. Shools have managed to remain open for the current academic year while other districts around the state struggled to open and stay open.

The pandemic forced innovation, collaboration and created an opportunity for leaders to emerge, Cook said. But that success story doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the national tragedy of a pandemic that is still killing as many as 1,000 Americans a day, and has claimed more than 500,000 American lives, continues to overshadow the local narrative.

“I’m still waiting for the impact of this to my management team,” Cook said. “In some of the front-line staff, we’re worried now about what we refer to as hero syndrome, which is that you get so caught up in being on the front lines of dealing with this and being in there for vaccinations where people are emotionally elated and overwhelmed and excited and happy. How do you go back to being the H.R. assistant after that? It’s understandable, though. I don’t think we’ve even seen the end of the impact of this.”

Residents give thumbs up while waiting in line at a vaccine clinic at Vail Health. The county is rapidly approaching 30,000 total dose of vaccine being distributed.
Special to the Daily

Lindley, an eternal optimist, said the last year has flown by for him, and that in a time where charged national debates over the virus, masking, and reopening created deeper fractures in American society, he has been inspired by the community spirit that has carried the day here.

“I think that finger pointing this year has started to decrease and go away,” he said. “And our challenge is, how do we stay in this community collaborative effort going forward? Because we’re going to have other challenges right now. We have a lot of things we have to address. But if we can do it in this response mode I think we’re all in, it’s unbelievable.”

Stephen said hospital workers “saw things that would terrify most people every day without batting an eyelid.”

Making it to the other side of the pandemic, with the county rapidly approaching 30,000 total doses of vaccine distributed, is the light at the end of a tunnel in a trying year.

“They showed up for work and got it done,” Stephen said. “They’re team players, the best team in the land. You could have called in sick. You could have asked not to do it. But not a single one of them did that. We rose to the challenge. We were resilient and we stayed here for the community and took care of them.”

So grateful: Halverson family appreciates help after fire

After a wildfire in Crook County, Wyo. destroyed their home and outbuildings on Saturday, March 6, James and Jessica Halverson are beyond thankful for the generous support of their community, near and far, for keeping them and their children warm, fed and clothed.

“We’re in good spirits and we’ve got everything we could need,” James says, who is the executive director for the South Dakota Stockgrowers. “It’s really humbling to see the outpouring of support people have for us, we are good, very well taken care of and blessed.”

That day though, the feeling of driving up on their home as black smoke drew near, combined with winds gusting up to 47 miles per hour, was panicking. James and Jessica had been out working on a well that morning and into the afternoon. A phone call from Jessica’s aunt, who had heard over the scanner that there was a fire nearby, had them on alert, but they didn’t see or smell smoke until they were coming out of a canyon, headed home.

“We raced home and tried to gather some valuables, I would say we had maybe fifteen minutes to gather up some stuff before we felt and could really see the flames coming up over the ridge,” Jessica says. “It was a ways from our house but with that wind blowing so hard, it was hard to know what was going to happen and we just wanted to get our kids to safety.”

The fire was started by a slash pile being left unattended in a nearby canyon. As winds picked up, the fire quickly spread, climbing the canyon, the wind pushing the fire directly towards the Halversons’ home.

In the few minutes that they had to save precious belongings, the Halversons were able to grab family heirlooms, some guns and a few guitars, but James wishes that he had been more intentional, creating an emergency plan because in the moment, it was hard to think of the most important things.

“If we could go back and spend two more minutes and save ten more items that really mean a lot to us, we would do that and we could have so easily if we just had a little bit of a plan,” he says. “There are things that money just can’t replace and I would encourage people to have a plan, if just a brief list of those things and where they’re at to get them in a hurry because when you’re in that situation, its really hard to keep your wits about you and to think straight and be calm.”

Jessica admits having had a folder with important documents and certificates in it, but when James asked her if she needed any files, she glanced at the file cabinet and in the moment thought, ‘no, there’s just owner’s manuals in there.’

“I had thought if an emergency happened, that folder was something I wanted to grab, but I’ll be danged if I could remember it,” Jessica says.

Having experience working as a forester in South Dakota before moving to Wyoming, Jessica says that even though their home was set back from the ridge and was not directly surrounded by trees, something that factors into a lot of forest fires and losing structures, there was nothing that could have been done in this situation.

“It was just the wind pushing that fire hard as it came up that slope, it just created a chimney and a lot of heat,” she says. “I always think about how we preach to people what they should do and firewise is such an important thing, cut trees in your yard and give yourself a defensible space but boy, when you’re put in that situation, you take your own advice a little bit more seriously.”

Thankfully, their livestock and horses are on a nearby lease and were safe from the fire that ended up burning around 100 acres, and most of the chickens returned to their non-existent coop that evening.

“We all came out unharmed and safe so we feel really fortunate for that,” Jessica says. “Most things can be replaced but lives cannot.”

For the time being, the family has plenty of clothes, warm layers and shoes, as well as a roof over their heads thanks to the generosity of a neighbor’s empty guest house. Others have organized fundraisers, benefit auctions, a GoFundMe account, a Pampered Chef party to set up a new home, as well an account for donations at Sundance State Bank.

“People have blessed us so much,” James says, adding that the outpouring of support has shown him what it means to be a better friend, neighbor and Christian, although he doesn’t feel deserving of it. “I encourage people, when they see others going through things, maybe its not this severe, maybe it’s more severe, that they reach out to them and find creative ways to help them because that’s really what has meant the most to us. Just learning that lesson to try to be a better friend and reach out to people more often is something I am going to take away from this and carry pretty closely for a long time.”

Choosing to see blessings everywhere, the Halversons are thankful to the firefighters who worked so hard to attempt to save their home, fighting literally until the very last moment, and they are happy that the firefighters were able to successfully save another home down in the canyon, adding that they stayed after for days, monitoring the area and continuing to put out hot spots.

“We’re just so grateful for the firefighters, for this community, so grateful for the good Lord that he has provided for us and we’re really hoping in the future that we’re able to give back,” Jessica says. “We just feel so incredibly blessed and its really given us perspective on how we can be better Christians, better family, better friends to others and just to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Jessica and James Halvorsen and their three kids. Photo courtesy Halvorsen family

ND Man takes steer wrestling title at Winter Show PRCA rodeo

Valley City, N.D. (March 13, 2021) – With beautiful weather and record crowds, the 84th annual N.D. Winter Show’s PRCA rodeo took place March 12-13 and was broadcast nationally on The Cowboy Channel.

A North Dakota cowboy took home the title of steer wrestling champion.

Tyler Schau, Almont, turfed his steer in 3.7 seconds to win the steer wrestling.

The 41 year old cowboy rode a horse he had recently sold to a fellow bulldogger.

Schau, who trains horses with his wife, Jackie Olson Schau, sold his brown horse Shortcut to Joe Nelson last summer. But when Schau arrived at the arena, he considered the young horse he had brought and thought he might borrow Shortcut back.

“I have a young horse, but I thought (the crowd) was a little loud and a little too much for him, so Joe let me back on my own horse.”

Schau also hazed for Nelson and for another steer wrestler, Nick Goelema of Beulah, N.D.

Schau works as a branch manager for a commodity brokerage firm at Almont and rodeos on the side. His wife, Jackie, an accomplished barrel racer, competed in the breakaway roping during the Saturday night rodeo performance but didn’t make a qualified run.

The barrel racing arena record was broken twice on Saturday night.

Barrel racer Alyssa Gabrielson, Perham, Minn., broke it with a time of 12.23. Then, two contestants later, Amanda Welsh did it again, this time of eighteenth-hundredths of a second faster.

Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., is having her best rodeo year ever. Ranked second in the PRCA world standings, she won the San Antonio rodeo and plans on rodeoing full time this year, in the hopes of qualifying for her first National Finals Rodeo, where PRCA world champions are crowned.

It’s due to her eleven-year-old gelding, Firefly, whose registered name is Frenchman Firefly. The horse was bred, raised and trained by her dad, Robert Welsh, and “he’s just been working outstanding,” the cowgirl said.

She knew he was headed for a good run in Valley City.

“I knew when I was warming him up, he was feeling pretty good, you could say. He just went through the alley, and he locked into his first barrel, and usually if he has a really nice first barrel, I can count on him having a good run. He nailed his first, and we carried that momentum going forward, and he was just awesome today.”

Qualifying for a National Finals Rodeo requires a lot of travel and sacrifice, but Welsh will play it by ear.

“As long as (Firefly) keeps working as good as he is, and things are going good, we’ll keep going. If he’s sound and healthy, we’ll keep going. It depends on him.”

In the bareback riding, this year’s title went to a South Dakota man.

Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, scored 86.5 points on Korkow Rodeo Co.’s Alysheba to win his event.

He’d never been on the horse, but he was ready. “I’d seen that horse one time with (fellow bareback rider) Logan Patterson in Gooding, Idaho, and I thought, ‘man, I can’t wait to get on that horse. I was glad TJ (Korkow) brought horses here.”

O’Connell qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 2018, and would love nothing more than being back at the pinnacle of the sport. He’s off to a good start, a No. 4 ranking in his event in the PRCA world standings, as of this week.

“Winter (rodeo competition) is a little bit hit or miss for me,” he said. “The last time I had a winter this good is the last time I went to the Finals.” O’Connell won second in Jackson, Miss., and second at the San Antonio (Texas) Rodeo. “So we’re going to keep feeding off the momentum. I’ll go home, rest up for a couple weeks, and hit the trail again.”

One of his traveling partners, Jamie Howlett, also of Rapid City, won second place at the N.D. Winter show. Having two guys in the truck winning money is a good thing. “We came from Arcadia, Florida, so we had to make this one pay,” O’Connell said. Their rig was parked in Dallas; they flew from Dallas to a rodeo in Arcadia, then back to Dallas, and then drove to Valley City Thursday and Friday. “We came a lot of miles for it.”

O’Connell loves being on the rodeo trail. “I love being gone rodeoing, and I had a great winter, and a lot of fun. It’s always good to see my buddies”

Other champions from the 84th annual Winter Show include saddle bronc riders Jake Burwash, Nanton, Alb. and Dawson Hay, Wildwood, Alb. (86 points each); tie-down roper Jess Woodward, Dupree, S.D. (10.8 seconds); team ropers Brent McInerney and Tanner McInerney, Alzada, Mont. (5.6 seconds); breakaway ropers Megan Steiger, Rapid City, S.D. and Katie Mundorf, Mullen, Neb. (2.5 each); and bull rider Matt Palmer, Claremore, Okla. (88.5).

The 84th annual North Dakota Winter Show concludes March 14 with a King of the Sale Ring auction contest at 1 pm and an NDRA Rodeo at 2 pm.

For more information, visit www.NorthDakotaWinterShow.com or call 701.845.1401.


Results, North Dakota Winter Show PRCA Rodeo, March 12-13, 2021 –N.D. Winter Show

All-Around champion: Tyler Schau, Almont, N.D.

Bareback riding champion- Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, S.D.

1. Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, S.D. 86.5 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Alysheba; 2. Jamie Howlett, Rapid City, S.D. 86; 3. (tie) Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D. and Logan Patterson, 84 each; 5. Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn. 82; 6. (tie) Cooper Cooke, Victor, Idaho, Clay Jorgenson, Watford City, N.D. and Tristan Hansen, Dillon, Mont. 80 each.

Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, S.D. won the bareback riding at the 2021 N.D. Winter Show. He is currently ranked second in the PRCA world standings.

Steer wrestling champion – Tyler Schau, Almont, N.D.

1. Tyler Schau, Almont, N.D. 3.7 seconds; 2. Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D. 4.7; 3. Jake Kraupie, Bridgeport, Neb. 5.0; 4. Jake Nelson, Bozeman, Mont. 5.1; 5. River Voigt, Killdeer, N.D. 5.2; 6. Jason Reiss, Manning, N.D. 5.3.

Tyler Schau, Almont, N.D. won the steer wrestling at the 2021 N.D. Winter Show. He is also the all-around winner. Photos courtesy North Dakota Winter Show

Saddle bronc riding co-champions: Jake Burwash, Nanton, Alb. and Dawson Hay, Wildwood, Alb.

1. (tie) Jake Burwash, Nanton, Alberta 86 points on David Bailey’s New Blood and Dawson Hay, Wildwood, Alb. 86 points on Bailey Pro Rodeo’s James Bond; 3. Dylan Schofield, Philip, S.D. 85.5; 4. Travis Nelson, Kinsey, Montana, 84; 5. Taton Elshere, Hereford, S.D. 81.5; 6. (tie) Cash Wilson, Wall, S.D. and Jake Finlay, Goondiwindi, Australia 80.5 each; 8. (tie) Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D. and Louie Brunson, New Underwood, S.D. 80 each.

Tie-down roping champion – Trey Young, Dupree, S.D.

1. Trey Young, Dupree, S.D. 8.8 seconds; 2. Colton Carlson, Jamestown, N.D. 10.4; 3. (tie) Jess Woodward, Dupree, S.D. and Joe Schmidt, Belfield, N.D. 10.8 each; 5. (tie) Brent Belkham, Blunt, S.D. and Myles Kenzy, Iona, S.D. 11.5 each.

Trey Young, Dupree, S.D. is the 2021 tie-down roping champion for the N.D. Winter Show PRCA rodeo. His horse, Fozzy, has won the Badlands Circuit Tie-down Horse of the Year three times.

Team roping champions – Brent McInerney, Alzada, Mont./ Tanner McInerney, Alzada, Mont.

1. Brent McInerney, Alzada, Mont./Tanner McInerney, Alzada, Mont. 5.6; 2. Jared Odens, Pierre, S.D./J.D. Gerard, Kennebec, S.D. 5.9; 3. Bodie Mattson, Sturgis, S.D./Jace Engesser, Spearfish, S.D. 6.7; 4. Jason Vohs, Dickinson, N.D./Brent LaPierre, Killdeer, S.D. 7.1; 5. JB Lord, Valentine, Neb./Clint Nelson, Philip, S.D. 7.2; 6. Tanner Wznick, Stanley, N.D./Ethan Rodne, New Town, N.D. 7.8.

Barrel racing champion – Amanda Welsh, Gilllette, Wyo.

1. Amanda Welsh, Gillette, Wyo. 12.05 seconds; 2. Alyssa Gabrielson, Perham, Minn. 12.23; 3. Emilee Pauley, Wall, S.D. 12.30; 4. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D. 12.39; 5. Tara Stimpson, Lodge Grass, Mont. 12.42; 6. Maggie Poloncic, Gillette, Wyo. 12.43; 7. Haley Stevenson, Miles City, Mont. 12.55; 8. Haley Huls, Lennox, S.D. 12.57; 9. Erin Williams, Alzada, Mont. 12.63; 10. Nicole Bice, Killdeer, N.D. 12.67.

Breakaway co-champions: Megan Steiger, Rapid City, S.D. and Katie Mundorf, Mullen, Neb.

1. (tie) Megan Steiger, Rapid City, S.D. and Katie Mundorf, Mullen, Neb. 2.5 seconds each; 3. Sarah Morrisey, Thedford, Neb. 2.6; 4. (tie) Teddi Schwagler, Glen Ullin, N.D. and Jennifer Belkham, Blunt, S.D. 2.7 each; 6. Courtney Dahlgren, Timber Lake, S.D. 2.9; 7. Jessica Holmes, Buffalo, S.D. 3.0; 8. Sawyer Gilbert, Buffalo, S.D. 3.1.

Bull riding champion – Matt Palmer, Claremore, Okla.

1. Matt Palmer, Claremore, Okla. 88.5 points on Burch Rodeo’s Zombie Time; 2. Dakota Nye, Keosauqua, Iowa 87; 3. Chance Schott, McLaughlin, S.D. 84; 4. Andy Guzman, Oakdale, Calif. 83.5; 5. Q. Taylor, Nanton, Alb. 83; 6. (tie) Bubba Greig, Byers, Kan. and Clayton Savage, Banner, Wyo. 82 each; 8. Rawley Johnson, Swan Valley, Idaho 81.

** All results are unofficial. For more information, visit www.NorthDakotaWinterShow.com.

–North Dakota Winter Show