A&L: Once Cowbelles, now CattleWomen

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After more than 50 years, the Moffat County Cowbelles organization has voted to change its name to Moffat County CattleWomen. Moffat County is one of the last longtime state Cowbelle organizations to change its name to “CattleWomen.” But that’s all that has changed. For the Moffat County Cattlewomen, it’s business as usual.

There are currently 28 members in the organization, plus two lifetime members. This year, Florence Van Tassel and Marie Schneider were bestowed the lifetime member honor.

Election of officers for the next year has not taken place yet. Current officers are: Betty Ann Duzik, president; Kacey Green, vice president; Arloa Gerber, treasurer; and Lacey Sexton, secretary. In addition, there are various committee chairwomen.

When the Moffat County Cowbelles organization was first established, its purpose was to promote beef and to help the Moffat County Cattlemen with their activities. In recent years, however, the Cowbelles (now CattleWomen), have followed the lead of the Colorado State CattleWomen in promoting agriculture in general, with emphasis on stewardship of the land. After all, a rancher can’t raise cattle without land and other natural resources.

So one of the CattleWomen’s objectives is to educate the community, especially young people, about agriculture. This is achieved by making presentations at schools and handing out brochures during special events. One of the biggest projects for the CattleWomen is their annual Ag Day, held in May for county fourth-graders. During this event, children participate in agriculture-related presentations and activities, all designed to make them more aware of agriculture.

During 2010, the CattleWomen also held two beef promotion events, one at City Market in March and another during Grand Olde West Days, passing out beef samples and brochures with beef recipes. Still another such promotion will be held in November, during hunting season.

At this year’s Moffat County Fair, CattleWomen assisted with the Cowboy Baby Contest. They also joined with the Moffat County Cattlemen in awarding a beef breeding award and an annual scholarship. The scholarship was presented to Nate Moon, son of Lewis and Lorrae Moon, of Craig.

The CattleWomen have several ongoing projects in order to make money for their endeavors. For example, they are selling heavyweight “roping “ gloves. These gloves come in men and women’s sizes. They’re gray in color with “Moffat County Beef” printed on the back-of-the-hand area. According to treasurer Arloa Gerber, the gloves cost $20 for five pair.

The CattleWomen also have some brand afghans left from a previous fundraiser. There are two colors available, black and burgundy, and the afghans cost $25. Besides Moffat County brands, these afghans also feature pictures of Moffat County sites, including the Swinging Bridge in Browns Park.

Plans for a “wall of brands,” another fundraising project, are in progress. The idea is to brand some type of object, such as a board with county cattle brands. The brand board could then be displayed at various events. Ranchers would have the option of buying spaces for their brands. Nothing final has been decided about this proposed project yet.

President Betty Ann Duzik said that the organization is always recruiting new members who have ideas about promoting agriculture to youth and other community members.

The Moffat County CattleWomen meet at 5:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at Serendipity Coffee Shop. Dues for the local CattleWomen organization are $10 per year. Members can also join the State CattleWomen; dues are $20 per year.

If you’re interested in becoming a member, just show up at a monthly meeting or call Betty Ann Duzik at 756-4268 or Kacey Green at 826-8981.

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