Unified Membership Discussed, Cattlemen Leaders Elected



LA JUNTA – In a split vote, the Bent-Prowers Cattle & Horse Growers Association membership approved a resolution to propose unified beef producer dues on the state level. The local group, which serves 300 members in Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, and Prowers counties, already has unified dues. Many affiliates don’t require the action, despite all cattlemen enjoying the benefits of Colorado Cattlemen’s issue management, education and policy management for the state beef community. The resolution, which passed during the 147th annual meeting on April 9 at Inspiration Field in La Junta, will now go on to the state convention in Colorado Springs.

Prior to the resolutions, the membership heard and interacted with industry leaders, including Chris Whitney, Colorado Brand commissioner; Fred Lombardi, Colorado Beef Council director; Bob Patterson, Terry Fankhauser and Erin Karney of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association; Jo Ann McEndree, Colorado CattleWomen; and Steve Keefer, Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

The Bent-Prowers Cattlemen is Colorado’s oldest livestock organization. Members elected Colby Mick of Wiley as president; Nolan Davis of Lamar as first vice president; Matt Neuhold of Lamar as second vice president; and re-elected Susan S. Russell of Sugar City as secretary/treasurer. Directors elected for the multi-county area are: Lori Chase, Logan Dorenkamp, Bruce Fickenscher, Amber Freouf, Bill Gray, Cade Hasser, Bo Karney, Pat Karney, Joe Kasza, Ed Mayhoffer, Randy McEndree, Dave Mendenhall, Ron O’Neal, Curtis Russell, Amanda Saunders, Derek Schroder, Tim Trosper, Ron Wait, and Tel Wollert. Outgoing president Pat R. Ptolemy, plus recent past presidents Bill Hancock and Reggy Lusk, round out the board.

All Saturday morning, the association hosted an educational opportunity for ranchers in southeast Colorado. Beef Quality Assurance training and updates were provided by Libby Bigler and Malory Sikes of CSU. More than 25 were certified or re-certified in BQA, which focuses on humane production of beef cattle using practices that are safe, wholesome, high quality, consistent and environmentally sound.

Also Saturday, Southeast Colorado CattleWomen and Southeast Colorado Junior Cattlemen members met, plus the youth held their own annual meeting where Quade Malone was elected president, Maggie Chase as vice president, and Tatum Chase as secretary. Chad Russell was given the $500 collegiate scholarship.

Bent-Prowers Cattlemen also hosted a banquet and ball, where Steve Ptolemy was given the Honorary Life Member Award.

Cattle feeder Ptolemy named Honorary Life recipient

LA JUNTA – Steve Ptolemy received the top honor during the Bent-Prowers Cattle & Horse Growers Association’s annual banquet on Saturday night, April 9 here.

Ptolemy was named as the Honorary Life recipient, the multi-county association’s highest honor to recognizing his efforts to the beef community and the region. Ptolemy, who owns Best Bet Beeflot south of Swink, was surprised and humbled with the recognition.

He was Bent-Prowers Cattlemen president in 1994 and part of board of directors for the association, which despite its name, actually serves Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero and Prowers county agricultural community. On the state level, Ptolemy is past chairman of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association marketing committee.

Curtis Russell of Sugar City, a previous CCA marketing committee chair himself, was asked to help surprise his friend with the award. Russell compared Ptolemy to a Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. “I realized that the Bent-Prowers’ Honorary Life Member award is a lot like an athlete’s Hall of Fame, so, since baseball season just got started, I went to the website for the Baseball Hall of Fame to find the eligibility requirements for election to Cooperstown, because I wanted to see how our current honoree stacks up against guys like Babe Ruth or Willie Mays or Sandy Koufax.

“Voters for hall of famers select inductees based on the player’s record and playing ability, his integrity, contribution to the team, sportsmanship and character. After reviewing those requirements, I think this year’s voters for Bent-Prowers Life Member did a great job.

“For example, Record and Playing ability. In other words, how good is he at his job? I think the answer to that is obvious. Anyone who can make a living for more than 35 years feeding cattle has to be good at it,” Russell said of Ptolemy, who knows the latest trading prices of several classes of cattle, and other industry developments to keep his competitive edge.

For Integrity, Russell stated that Ptolemy “has earned the trust of most everyone who knows him,” and for Contribution to the Team, Ptolemy’s service in Bent-Prowers and Colorado Cattlemen’s associations was noted.

Sportsmanship is another factor considered for Hall of Famers, which is really just another way of saying Generosity. Ptolemy “has supported our rural youth through contributions and volunteering for 4-H programs, youth rodeo and missionary trips to assist those in need, among many other instances of helping those who are less fortunate.”

Finally, Russell discussed Character, “which may be the most important aspect of all for either a great ballplayer or a great cattleman. The best way I know to illustrate the character of tonight’s honoree is to talk about his family.” In addition to their own biological children, the Ptolemys’ share their love through adoption, a word they shy away from and quickly explain “they are all our children.” They had 7 of the 8 children in attendance Saturday night to support their Mother, Pat, who was completing her term as Bent-Prowers president. Dad being named surprise honoree just gave them more reason to celebrate their close-knit ties.

Ptolemy’s honor highlighted the evening, which began with a cowboy punch bowl, prime rib buffet and a lively auction, with proceeds going to Southeast Colorado Junior Cattlemen scholarship fund, Southeast Colorado CattleWomen, Bent-Prowers Endowment Trust, and Bill Gray Family Fire Fund. The generously donated items included a brand, hand-crafted spurs, a buckle set, hand-made quilt, money tree arrangement and gift baskets.

Leonard Pruett, who is moving from the area, was recognized for his service to the board and long-time secretary Susan Russell was given a pair of boots for her extra efforts. Outgoing President Pat R. Ptolemy, wife of the honoree, was presented a custom-made buckle set for her outstanding service to the association. Incoming President Colby Mick of McClave was given the traveling president’s buckle to begin his term, plus a gag gift of white jeans because “good guys wear white.” Country Gold band then set the dance floor in motion for a dance, also held at Inspiration Field.



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